The More Informal Essays Are Usually Categorized As _________________ Form


In a First-Year Seminar or a writing-intensive course, it is best to have several writing assignments and a variety of types of writing, usually integrated with course readings, rather than one long assignment at the end of the course. On this page we will emphasize the difference between informal writing, or writing to learn, and formal writing, or writing to communicate.

Think of informal writing as short and often impromptu, written primarily for the benefit of the writer as an aid to clarifying purpose and not requiring extensive instructor response. A variety of informal writing activities can help develop students' critical thinking skills by providing them with a space for asking questions, raising critique, and playing with ideas.

Formal writing is more reader-based, with specific considerations for audience and convention. Each type of writing is integral to the students' literacy development.


Informal Writing

Formal Writing

Reading LogsExit/Entrance Cards

Essay Assignments

Response PapersIn-class Freewrites

Writing About Reading


Essay Exams


Consider the following general suggestions for planning and creating writing assignments that work well:

  • make sure the task is clearly defined, using language that helps students know what they are expected to produce, when, and why.
  • offer an authentic situation, one that provides students with a clear sense of purpose and audience.
  • if there are specific steps that students need to follow to complete the assignment, make sure to include them (length, plans to see a thesis statement, notes, and/or draft; plans for conferencing and peer review, etc.).
  • write assignments so that students can understand how their purpose ties into the overall plan for the course.
  • if appropriate, include information about how you will respond to the writing assignment and grading criteria.
  • consider whether there are aspects of the assignment that can be made flexible for students with special learning needs or different levels of ability (extended deadlines, time for conferencing, etc.).

Writing assignments can be developed for different purposes: as a way to support learning as well as a means of communication.

Informal Writing Assignments: Writing to Learn

Whether considering writing in the classroom for a writing course, a First Year Seminar, or a content-area course, it is important to understand how course content can actually be understood and secured through writing to learn. In this mode, students write in order to discover, examine, and test their ideas about reading assignments, class discussions, lectures, and essay topics. Such writing is usually informal, can take a variety of forms, and represents the kind of active thinking and critical engagement with course material that helps students prepare for more formal writing tasks. Writing to learn becomes a vehicle for figuring out and refining what we think before we communicate publicly to others.

Ideas for using writing to learn in the classroom:


  • analyze the writer behind the text:
    think of the unique human being using writing to express an idea. List as many facts as you can think of about the writer based on what is found in the reading: are there thoughtful conclusions and careful evidence presented about the subject under discussion? What does this tell you about the writer's intellectual response to the subject?
  • try a passage commentary:
    select a passage from the reading that seems most important, copy it into the reading log, and then write several paragraphs explaining why the passage seems significant.
  • use the ancient tradition of commonplace books:
    for every assigned reading, copy important passages because they have significant ideas related to the course material and/or because they represent strong writing that might be imitated in terms of form and style choices. Such a commonplace book will help improve memory of course topics and serve as a helpful resource for review.


  • for every assigned reading, write a response that both summarizes the main points (lower-order reasoning skills) and analyzes/critiques the main points (higher-order reasoning skills).
  • practice critical reflection as part of reading response:
    -what was strong and weak about the assigned reading and why;
    - what was interesting, relevant, and connected to other readings and why;
    - what seemed off the topic, irrelevant, or inconsistent with other readings and why;
    - what assumptions seemed explicit and/or implicit in the reading and why;
    - what opposing viewpoints to the reading seem important and why;
    - what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of agreeing with the reading and why?



  • use a series of short (100 words), progressively more difficult writing assignments that can be completed in the classroom or as homework. Short, quick summaries of assigned readings could be asked for first, then short syntheses of ideas in several connected readings, and finally analyses of the quality of an argument or string of related ideas. As micro themes grow in number and difficulty, topics for more formal assignments like critical analysis might emerge and signal productive directions for both teacher and student.



  • using 3x5 cards, ask students to comment with an idea or question about the topic under discussion for a specific class period, then use their comments/questions to begin the next class period.
  • using 3x5 cards, require that students enter class with a comment or question about the assigned reading written on the card and ready to be shared for class discussion.


  • interrupt a lecture or discussion with a short freewrite that asks students to comment on what is under discussion. These short freewrites can then be discussed or the class can move ahead. Either way, freewriting will allow students to focus closely on a topic.


  • use a focused freewrite on the day that a formal writing assignment is introduced: review the material that has been covered and the actual writing assignment; then ask students to write freely for about five minutes on what they are thinking about as a possible topic. Share these ideas in class discussion, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses and relevance in terms of the assignment.
  • use a center of gravity approach. Start freewriting on a possible direction for the assignment and stop after three minutes, then:
    - review what was written and underline or circle the idea that seems most prominent;
    - copy the underlined or circled idea on a clean page and then begin freewriting again for three minutes, focused on the copied idea;
    - again review what was written and complete the same process of underlining, copying, and freewriting on the specific idea that has been copied.
    Each time the student freewrites, in other words, the original idea becomes more and more focused - the students draws closer to the "center of gravity" for the actual writing assignment and have something to start with for a draft.
  • write a discovery draft as a first response to a formal writing assignment, one that is shared in a peer group and/or read by the teacher and commented on for the coherence of its main idea and supporting evidence only. Such a discovery draft will then allow the student to build on early ideas as a more complete draft is written.

Formal Writing Assignments: Writing to Communicate

When writing to communicate, students move from their informal and more discovery-based writing to more formal, demanding and public expectations of particular discourse and rhetorical conventions. Learning the conventions for specific fields of study, developing different methods for analysis and argument, as well as fine tuning the details of grammar, documentation and mechanics are central to the mode of writing as communication.

At their most effective, assignments in writing to communicate can be built directly off the scaffolding that has been provided through writing to learn. The two modes of writing are connected in terms of developing content, but writing to communicate will call for more coherent development and structure.

Students can be asked to review everything they have written informally through writing to learn in order to determine a focus or direction for their more formal assignments in public communication. They may find an initial thesis for a specific topic emerging through their ideas for using writing to communicate in the classroom.



  • Consider the PURPOSE or the primary focus that will be emphasized by a specific assignment. Do you want students to develop analytical, informational, argumentative, reflective, or expressive skills, or a combination of several skills? The essay instructions should make clear to students what set of skills will be most valued when completing the assignment.
    • Analytical: What is valued is the students' ability to examine closely the connection between the parts and the whole of a particular subject and their ability to investigate and articulate the way ideas connect to or contrast with one another.
    • Informational: What is valued is the students' ability to summarize and synthesize information about a particular subject.
    • Argumentative: What is valued is the students' ability to articulate a claim about a particular subject with appropriate evidence to support such a claim.
    • Reflective: What is valued is the students' ability to look at experiences retrospectively and articulate what has been learned from them.
    • Expressive: What is valued is the students' ability to consider the relevance of personal experience.

    Analysis is the skill underpinning all others. To write well from an informational, argumentative, or expressive perspective, in other words, students need to use their analytical ability to focus their writing.

    A sense of purpose will connect to developing a central idea or thesis. Knowing what kind of writing is expected of them (informational? argumentative? expressive?) and reviewing the ideas present in their writing to learn assignments will help students accomplish the difficult task of determining a central idea. After reading, class discussion, and writing to learn, students will be more able to decide what they want to say and thus have a starting point.

    A set of essay instructions can ask students to follow through on these kinds of review and explorations to arrive at a working central idea. Students can be encouraged to begin with a working central idea in order to develop a preliminary draft. Ideas might be roughly sketched out to begin with using the following seed sentences as frames:

    I am analyzing/arguing about_______________ in order to understand/examine_______________________.

    Most people believe that _____________________, but my investigation has shown that __________________.

    We know this _____________ about ____________; we also need to know this __________________ about ____________________________.

    Seed sentences can help students get started writing and can then be further refined later in the process of writing. Working with seed sentences might also be a productive approach to writing to learn.

  • Effective assignments should also ask students to consider AUDIENCE. 

    Are they to be thinking of the teacher exclusively when completing the assignment?

    Should they be thinking of a general educated audience, or an audience only of their peers?

    Should they be thinking of the audience as completely or partially informed about the subject?

    Will the audience hold values similar to or different from the writer?

    How much will the audience identify with the subject and topic under study?

    Such considerations will help determine the form and style choices that can be made and are central to the writing task.

  • Once the purpose, central idea, and audience have been established as part of the assignment, consider providing students additional advice on the STRUCTURE of their writing. They might bear in mind these structural possibilities:
    • Thesis/Support: the most common deductive structure whereby students establish a central idea or thesis after introducing the subject in the introduction and then provide a series of supporting ideas with examples, facts, anecdotes, testimony, statistics, quotations, and other details.
    • Problem/Solution: an effective two-part structure whereby students first examine the nature of a specific problem and then describe an effective solution that carries with it their central claim about the subject. The writing situation considers a problem to which the student is proposing a solution. Students can be asked to consider the costs and benefits of the solution proposed.
    • Question/Answer: another two-part structure that is formed around an analysis of a central question or set of questions that are pertinent to a subject and then moves into a claim/analysis of possible answers.
    • Narrative/Analysis: a structure building on story techniques whereby the student details what is happening/has happened and uses these events to develop an analysis/argument about the subject.
  • Finally, an assignment can also be accompanied by a MODEL that illustrates the expectation for writing. Successful assignments can be saved and copied for such purposes in future classes.

    The following handouts provide examples of essay assignments that stress various purposes, sense of audience, and structural ideas:



Many academic assignments ask students to write very specifically about what they've read. The following links provide helpful structures for such assignments:



Unlike essay assignments or research projects, an essay exam has a limited purpose and audience: the teacher wants the student to demonstrate understanding of specific course material and to do so in an articulate manner.

These general study habit hints might be useful as students work with material that will be covered by essay exams:

  1. take careful notes during relevant class discussion.
  2. read assigned chapters critically; that is, respond in a writer's notebook with summary and response, plus annotate the text.
  3. review notes regularly before the essay exam.
  4. prepare notes or outlines ahead of time that reorganize the material around key topics or issues.

During the exam period itself

  1. read the exam question all the way through at least twice in order to stick to the question being asked and to answer it fully.
  2. examine the key words in the question and make sure to consider the difference in implication between words like "summarize" or "define."
  3. make a brief outline of the main ideas to be covered.
  4. write a thesis sentence that responds directly to the question being asked, using some of the the question's words.
  5. write the essay, trying to write clearly and concisely the first time since there won't be much time to rewrite. Make sure to use plenty of specific references to the material in question.
  6. Try to correct as many errors in spelling and mechanics as you can find before you hand in your exam. Be as legible as possible but don?t recopy.

Exam Questions

Exam questions should be written so that students understand clearly what is expected of them. Is the goal of the exam question:

  • to show that students have acquired a specific body of knowledge?
  • to show that students can create an informed opinion based on this body of knowledge?
  • to show that students can create a convincing argument based on this body of knowledge?
  • to show that students can critically evaluate and acknowledge the ideas they have been reading about and working with?

Common "Key" Words for Essay Exams and Ideas for Organizing Around Them

  1. Comparison - Contrast : "compare and contrast" Analyzes similarities and differences

    Two ways to organize:

    Pattern IPattern II
    First topicAdvantages
    advantagesFirst topic
    disadvantagesSecond topic
    Second topic Disadvantages
    advantagesFirst topic
    disadvantagesSecond topic

  2. Definition : "define" Specifies distinctive characteristics.

    How to organize: begin with the term to be defined and discuss the group to which it belongs, then show how the term is different from other members of the group.

    Make sure to include its important features. Use details, comparisons, and examples.

  3. Analysis : "analyze" or "discuss" or "explain" Breaks topic into its elements. Explains and compares main points of view on the topic.

    How to organize: analysis involves a careful breaking of something into its various parts. Using transitional words like "first, second, third?" or "next," "another," "in addition" will add coherence to your analysis.

  4. Cause and Effect : "cause" "why" "effects" 

    How to organize: like analysis questions, cause and effect questions ask you to trace something?s features, in this case, specific effects of a particular cause or vice versa. Using transitional words will help you organize coherently, especially ?because,? ?therefore,? and ?consequently.?

Writing the Essay Exam

Starting the essay: You don't need an embellished, exciting opening for a timed essay. Instead, you can state your thesis right away and give a brief overview of what the rest of the essay will do. This will immediately show your command over the subject. Don't just restate the question without answering it. Always include your answer to the question in the intro.

Developing the essay: The body of your essay should be developed with the same attention to logical organization, coherence, and adequate development that you provide in any academic paper. Support your thesis with solid generalizations and specific, relevant details. Don't fill out the essay by repeating yourself. Don't use subjective feelings instead of real analysis.

Concluding the essay: Here you can briefly restate the thesis in new words, perhaps pointing to wider implications in a way that follows logically from what you've written rather than in a way that demands more explanation.

Before submitting the essay: Reread and correct any illegible sections. Make sure your handwriting can be read. Check for spelling, grammatical mistakes, and accidental omissions. If you find any material that seems irrelevant, cross it out and add other information on another page, keying the addition to the page where it belongs.

Quiz for Mid-Term Exam

Student Self-Grading Multiple Choice

(Javascript must be enabled for this exercise.)

1. Traditionally, the first stage of writing is called ________.

a) beginning
b) inventing
c) concluding
d) none of the above


Answer: b (p. 5).

2. Process-reflective writing focuses on ________.

a) clarity
b) outlining
c) drafting
d) point form


Answer:a (p. 5).

3. Reading merely to grasp basic content is, in essence, ________.

a) passive reading
b) one-way reading
c) aggressive reading
d) Both a and b
e) All of the above


Answer: d (p. 7)

4. A reader who assesses a writer's expertise, experience, and past research assesses the ________.

a) writer’s method
b) writer’s support
c) writer’s basis
d) writer’s credibility


Answer: d (p. 14).

5. A writer's attitude toward his or her subject can be identified through ________.

a) jargon
b) tone
c) context
d) background
e) All of the above


Answer:b (p. 22).

6. A(n) ___________ audience is more likely to disagree or differ from the writer's view point.

a) positive
b) negative
c) neutral
d) opposite


Answer: b (p. 38).

7. Thinking about and developing a topic involves ________.

a) pre-writing
b) organization
c) research
d) composing


Answer:a (p. 38).

8. Continuously writing without editing to record ideas is called ________.

a) mapping
b) brainstorming
c) freewriting
d) clustering


Answer: c (p. 44).

9. An outline including sub-points and main points is called ________..

a) scratch outline
b) a formal outline
c) a graphic outline
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 48).

10. Considering purpose, whether the audience is addressed, and if there are unneeded points is called ________.

a) underscoring ideas
b) solidifying ideas
c) solidifying structure
d) overview


Answer: d (p. 52)

11. An expository essay provides _____________ on/of a subject.

a) an analysis
b) information
c) an opinion
d) All of the above


Answer: b (p. 56).

12. Critical thinking is essential to ________.

a) expository writing
b) argumentative writing
c) Both a and b
d) None of the above



Answer: c (p. 56).

13.Expository writing uses a _____________-based thesis.

a) fact
b) value
c) policy
d) All of the above



Answer: a (p. 56).

14.Description provides the reader with ________.

a) abstract information
b) concrete description
c) opinions
d) None of the above



Answer:b (p. 57).

15. Recall requires that the writer be aware of ________.

a) basic principles
b) procedures
c) methods
d) All of the above



Answer: d (p. 59).

16. The topic sentence tends to be at the __________ of a paragraph.

a) beginning
b) middle
c) end
d) none of the above


Answer: a (p. 74).

17. A ________ reminds a reader what the paragraph was about.


a)topic sentence
b) wrap
c) conclusion
d) none of the above


Answer: b (p. 74).

18. Strong paragraphs are ________.

a) coherent
b) unified
c) well-developed
d) all of the above


Answer: d (p. 76).

19. _______ patterns may be assigned to a paragraph

a) Spatial
b) Chronological
c) Cause and effect
d) all of the above
e) None of the above


Answer: d (p. 79).

20. Repetition of words may ________.

a) reinforce a core idea
b) emphasize through rhythm
c) All of the above
d) None of the above


Answer: c (p. 80).

21. Introductions should ________.

a) create reader interest
b) reaffirm the thesis
c) restate the thesis
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 88).

22. Beginning an introduction with a quotation, question, or personal experience is common of the ________.

a) dramatic approach
b) inverted pyramid structure
c) thesis statement
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 89).

23.Thesis statements function to ________.

a) announce the main point
b) introduce the writer
c) establish credibilitye
d) all of the above
e) Both a and b


Answer: d (pp. 91–92).

24. "Simple" an "expanded" may describe types of ________.

a) conclusions
b) thesis statements
c) introductions
d) body paragraphs


Answer: b (pp. 94–95).

25."Circular" and "spiral" describe types of ________.

a) conclusions
b) introductions
c) thesis statements
d) body paragraphs


Answer: a (p. 105).

26.The topic often provides a writer with the ________.

a) main organizational method
b) thesis
c) body paragraph


Answer: a (p. 110)

27.If the topic dictates which method is to be used, the essay may use ________.

a) that topic only
b) other methods
c) that method only
d)None of the above


Answer: b (p. 111).

28.Chronology deals with a topic's ________.

a) thesis
b) conclusion
c) development over time
d) definition


Answer: c (p. 112).

29.A writer can use description in an essay ________.

a) at any point
b) only at the beginning
c) only at the end
d) at no point


Answer: a (p. 113).

30. An analogy is a(n) ________.

a) narration
b) evaluation
c) thesis
d) paragraph


Answer: e (p. 118).

31. Which of the following is a type of claim?

a) fact
b) value
c) policy
d) All of the above
e) None of the above


Answer: d (p. 122).

32.Tentative claims are ________.

a) temporary
b) conclusive
c) false
d) political
e) All of the above


Answer: : a (p. 123).

33.________ may be hard or soft.

a) Research
b) Evidence
c) Argument
d) Analysis


Answer: b (p. 124).

34. Case studies can be used to support ________.

a) precedents
b) analogies
c) personal experience
d) a hypothesis


Answer: d (p. 126).

35. ________ contributes to a writer's credibility

a) Reliability
b) Fairness
c) All of the above
d)None of the above


Answer: c (p. 127).

36._________ is a type of writing distinct from arguing or persuading

a) Research
b) Expository
c) Literary analysis
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 133).

37.When explaining or informing, a writer must be familiar with his or her ________.

a) topic
b) reader
c) opinion
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 136).

38.Once a writer has developed a topic, he or she should determine the reader's ________.

a) knowledge
b) interest
c) All of the above
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 137).

39. If the main purpose of a process analysis is to stimulate interest, the writer will need to include________.

a) more detail
b) less detail
c) no details at all
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 137).

40. A ________ essay is often the most challenging

a) process analysis
b) definition
c) compare and contrast
d) None of the above


Answer: c (p. 143).

41. An extended summary should be mostly in ________.

a) the writer's words
b) quoted
c) point form
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 157).

42. When a writer summarizes from a secondary source, it is important to ________.

a) paraphrase
b) give credit
c) write an abstract


Answer: : b (p. 157).

43. Compared to the original work, a paraphrase is usually ________.

a) the same length
b) longer
c) shorter
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 164).

44. An abstract is generally written ________.

a) before the writing process beginst
b) after the essay is finished
c) after the writer has reached conclusions
d) Both a and b
e) Both b and c


Answer: e (p. 165).

45.Annotated bibliographies often accompany ________.

a) books
b) dissertations
c) book reviews
d) Both a and bbr
e) None of the above


Answer: d (p. 166).

46.When conducting research, a writer must analyze other researchers' ________.

a) conclusions
b) opinions
c) experiences
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 170).

47. After finding sources, the writer must ________ them.

a) paraphrase
b) assimilate
c) cite
d) document


Answer: b (p. 172).

48.When collecting research, it is important to ensure that the sources have been ________.

a) published to the internet
b) scrutinized by other experts
c) Both of the above
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 176).

49.Early in the research process, potentially useful sources may be added to ________.

a) an annotated bibliography
b) a working bibliography
c) an abstract
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 177).

50. A secondary source is another writer's ________.

a) opinion on a text
b) case study of a text
c) analysis of a text
d) commentary on a text
e) Both c and d
f) Both b and c


Answer: e (p. 181).

51. When integrating secondary sources, the writer should consider using the ________-format.

a) summary
b) paraphrase
c) direct quotation
d) mixe
e) All of the above


Answer: e (p. 197).

52. General knowledge often varies according to ________.

a) audience
b) opinion
c) the writer
d) All of the above
e)None of the above


Answer: : a (p. 196).

53. Using secondary sources allows a writer to support ________.

a) a case study
b) an opinion
c) an argument
d) a description


Answer: c (p. 197).

54. A writer should summarize ________ when using them to support main points.

a) descriptions
b) opinions
c) ideas
d) phrases


Answer: c (p. 198).

55. A writer can use________ to indicate the omission of one or more words from a direct quotation

a) ellipses
b) brackets
c) quotation marks
d) boldface


Answer: a (p. 201).

56. The MLA and APA style guides are updated ________.

a) every decade
b) every two years
c) never
d) every five years
e)None of the above


Answer: d (p. 212).

57. Most documentation styles include ________ in the citations.

a) the author namebr /> b) the page number or other locator
c) the year of publication
d) All of the above
e) None of the above


Answer: d (p. 213).

58.APA stands for ________.

a)Associated Physiology Association
b) American Psychic Association
c) Associated Physics Association
d)American Psychological Association


Answer: d (p. 213).

59. Both APA and MLA styles use ________ references for in-text citations.

a) parenthetical
b) footnotes
c) endnotes
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 213).

60. In MLA, if a direct quotation is longer than four typed sentences, the writer should use ________.

a) Chicago style
b) block format
c) a footnote
d) an endnote
e) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 232).

61. When presenting an argument, the writer should be sure that the tone does not come across as ________.

a) logical
b) fair
c) opinionated
d) ethical
e) reasonable


Answer: c (p. 265).

62. A writer can show a lack of objectivity through use of ________.

a) slanted language
b) loaded language
c) logical language
d) formal language
e) Both a and b
f) Both b and c


Answer: e (p. 271).

63. To help the reader visualize an argument, the writer can use ________.

a) allusion
b) analogy
c) a conclusion
d) a fallacy
e) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 273).

64. When using personal experience in an argument, it is important to use a ________ tone.

a) objective
b) subjective
c) formal
d) All of the above
e) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 273).

65. Deductive reasoning uses ________.

a) a major premise
b) a minor premise
c) a fallacy
d) All of the above
e) Both a and b


Answer: e (p. 276).

66. This and her are ________.

a) interjections
b) determiners
c) verbs
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 301).

67. A subject of complement is the noun or pronoun that completes the subject after a ________.

a) linking verb
b) linking adjective
c) linking noun
d) linking adverb


Answer: a (p. 302).

68. A personal pronoun refers to ________.

a) people
b) things
c) Both a and b
d) None of the above


Answer: c (p. 303).

69. A compound sentence is formed by two or more independent clauses joined by a ________.

a)coordination conjunction
b) adverb
c) noun
d) fragment


Answer: b (p. 301).

70. A run-on sentence is sometimes called a(n) ________.

a) comma splice
b) fragment
c) fused sentence
d) incomplete sentence


Answer: c (p. 325).

71. Commas can be used to separate ________.

a) items in a series
b) two things only
c) sentences
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 332).

72. A compound consists of ________.

a) three words
b) two words
c) one word
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 333).

73. With coordinate adjectives, commas are ________.

a) required
b) not required
c) left to the writer's discretion
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 338).

74. Semicolons can be used to join ________.

a) independent clauses
b) fragments
c) Both of the above
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 342).

75. Apostrophes indicate the ________ case.

a) interrogative
b) plural
c) possessive
d) All of the above


Answer: c (p. 353).

76. Usually, the subject of a sentence performs the action of the ________.

a) adverb
b) verb
c) phrase
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 360).

77. Collective nouns refer to ________.

a) groups
b) an animal
c) an idea
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 363).

78. ________ refer to nonspecific objects or individuals

a) Indefinite pronouns
b) Collective nouns
c) Compound subjects
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 363).

79. If a pronoun lacks an apparent noun antecedent, the result is ________.

a) unclear reference
b) antecedent agreement
c) no reference
d) None of the above


Answer: c (p. 371).

80. ________ refer to persons.

a) Pronouns
b) Adjectives
c) verbs
d) Dashes


Answer: a (p. 376).

81. Concise writing is ________.

a) direct
b) precise
c) specific
d) All of the above


Answer: d (p. 406).

82. To express the importance of concise writing, editors suggest the formula: one + one = ________.

a) two
b) three
c) one-half
d) one-quartere)
e) None of the above


Answer: c (p. 407).

83. If a prepositional phrase is redundant it is called ________.

a) phony phrase
b) a dependent phrase
c) an empty phrase
d) None of the above


Answer: a (p. 409).

84. ________ are indirect.

a) Active constructions
b) Passive constructions
c) Intensives
d) None of the above


Answer: b (p. 411).

85. Informal writing will often allow use of ________.

a) contractions
b) slang
c) colloquialisms
d) idioms
e) All of the above


Answer:e (p. 419).

Student Short Answer Questions

1. When scanning for gist, a reader may focus on ________.


Answer: keywords (p. 10).

2. The best inference is ________ one.


Answer: the most probable (p. 13).

3. Outside of research, a credible writer should provide ________ for his or her argument.


Answer: support (p. 15).

4. Outside of analysis and questioning, a credible writer should provide a ________.


Answer: conclusion (p. 15).

5. Rather than being explicit, a word definition may be ________.


Answer: implied (p. 26)

6. An audience with some interest in a subject is called a(n) ________ audience


Answer: general (p. 36).

7. ________ involves writing down points in paragraph form.


Answer: Composing (p. 41).

8. A broad category that may contain many points is known as a(n) ________.


Answer: subject.

9. A ________ outline is particularly useful in preparing for short or in-class essays


Answer: scratch (p. 48).

10. Returning to an outline and assessing structure, unity, and logical sequence all involve ________.


Answer: solidifying structure (p. 53).

11. Writing that uses value- or policy-based thesis statements is ________.


Answer: argumentative (p. 56).

12. Research is most commonly integral to ________ writing.


Answer: expository (p. 56)..

13. Discernment and adaptability stress a focus on ________ and ________.


Answer:distinguishing what is important; strong points (pp. 60–61).

14. In a critical response, the first sentences should include ________ or ________.


Answer: overview; generalization about the topic (p. 65).

15. A critical response exercises ________ reading skills.


Answer:active (p. 64).

16. A paragraph functions to ¬¬¬¬________ an important point and to ________ that point.


Answer: introduce; develop (p. 74).

17. ________ connect a paragraph to what comes before and after.



Answer: Transitions (pp. 75-76).

18. Focusing on one idea in a paragraph works toward paragraph ________.



Answer: unity (pp. 76–77).

19. To obtain rhythm and ovoid unnecessary repetition, a writer may replace repeating words with ________.



Answer: ssynonyms (p. 80).

20. In effect, in fact, and certainly are example of transitions of ________.



Answer: emphasis (p. 80).

21. In an introduction, proceeding from the general to the specific is known as the ________ structure.



Answer: inverted pyramid (p. 88).

22. Beginning an outline with the strongest point is called ________ order.



Answer: inverted climax (dramatic) (p. 102).

23. A ________ conclusion reminds and reinforces the thesis.



Answer: circular (p. 105).

24. A ________ conclusion leads beyond the thesis.



Answer: spiral (p. 105).

25. A conclusion should not restate the ________ word for word.



Answer: thesis (p. 105).

26. A topic can lead a writer to a specific ________ of development.



Answer: method (p. 110).

27. Methods of developing patterns are also known as ________ patterns.



Answer: rhetorical (p. 111).

28. ________ something can allow the writer to tell the reader what they will talk about.



Answer: Defining (p. 112).

29. ________ essays are usually fact-based.



Answer: Process analysis (p. 114).

30. Systematically drawing similarities and differences between different objects or concepts defines the ________ method.



Answer: comparison and contrast (p. 118).

31. A claim that functions as a conclusion is a ________ claim.



Answer: conclusive (p. 123).

32. A tentative claim is ________.



Answer: temporary (p. 123).

33. Especially when doing research, it is important to find ________ evidence.



Answer: hard (p. 124).

34. ________ evidence indirectly supports a writer's points.



Answer: : Soft (p. 125).

35. Detailed examples that often take the form of brief narratives are called ________.



Answer: illustrations (p. 126).

36. The ________ essay is often the first essay students learn to write.



Answer: expository (p. 133).

37. Process analysis, definition, and compare and contrast essays often do not require ________.



Answer: research (p. 135).

38. Process analysis essays often serve to stimulate ________.



Answer: interest (p. 136)./h5>

39. Definition often allows for a ________ for an argument.



Answer: starting point (p. 141).

40. Block and point-by-point methods of organization should be applied to a(n) ________ essay.



Answer: comparison and contrast essay (p. 144)

41. Summarizing from a ________ source requires the writer to borrow important parts of someone else's writing.



Answer:borrow (p. 159).

42. To clarify whether a writer is explaining or arguing, a writer may use a ________ phrase.



Answer: signal (p. 159).

43. An abstract should be written ________ a writer has finished the essay.



Answer: after (p. 165).

44. Entries in an annotated bibliography should be ________.



Answer: brief (p. 166).

45. An annotated bibliography may include a(n) ________ of a study's usefulness to a project.



Answer: appraisal (p. 166).

46. At the college or university level, exposition usually involves ________.



Answer: research (p. 170).

47. In the early draft stage, the writer should be concerned with ________ sources into the essay.



Answer: integrating (p. 173).

48. Conducting research most often requires focus on factual ________.



Answer: evidence (p. 174).

49. In the case of articles, when scanning for useful sources a writer may save time by reading the ________.



Answer: abstract (p. 177).

50. To ensure that an article is credible, the writer should check if the journal is ________.



Answer: peer reviewed (p. 182).

51. A writer may receive a zero on an assignment, for the class, or be expelled from a college or university for ________.



Answer: plagiarizing (p. 195).

52. A writer does not need to cite ________ knowledge.



Answer: general (p. 195).

53. A writer can use a mixture of paraphrase and direct quotation in what is called ________ format.



Answer: mixed (p. 199).

54. When a source's exact wording is important to an argument, the writer should use a ________ quotation.



Answer: direct (p. 198).

55. When using ellipses, the writer should type ________ spaced dots to indicate the omission.



Answer: 55. Answer: three (p. 201).

56. Most documentation styles require an abbreviated ________ to follow a reference.



Answer: citation (p. 213).

57. APA places a(n) ________ between the author and date.



Answer: comma (p. 214).

58. ________ marks are not used in a bock quotation.



Answer: Quotation (p. 214).

59. MLA uses a ________ Cited page.



Answer: Works (p. 235).

60. MLA allows informational footnotes at the ________ of each page.



Answer: bottom (p. 244).

61. Treadmill logic is a logical ________.



Answer: fallacy (p. 268).

62. A fallacy of irrelevance that attempts to mislead or distract a reader is called a ________.



Answer: red herring (p. 268).

63. A fallacy that compares two things that are not alike is called a ________.



Answer: false analogy (p. 269).

64. Slanted or loaded language causes a writer to show a lack of ________.



Answer: objectivity (p. 271).

65. A specific claim states clearly and directly what a writer will be ________.



Answer: arguing (p. 274).

66. Prepositions are also known as ________.



Answer: joiners (pp. 306–307).

67. Correlative conjunctions require parallel ________.



Answer: structure (p. 308).

68. A main pronoun or noun on its own is often called the ________ subject.



Answer: simple (p. 311).

69. A command sentence known as a(n) ________ sentence may consist of only a predicate.



Answer: imperative (p. 312).

70. The joining of two complete sentences by a comma results in a comma ________.



Answer: splice (p. 326).

71. The use of commas to separate items in a series applies to ¬________ or more parallel items.



Answer: three (p. 332).

72. A comma can be used to separate coordinate ________.



Answer: adjectives (p. 337).

73. A serial semicolon may be used to separate items in a ________.



Answer: series (p. 334).

74. Dashes convey a ________ in thought and should be used sparingly.



Answer: break (p. 347).

75. Commas should not be used to separate ________ compounds.



Answer: simple (p. 352).

76. ________ pronouns always ask questions.



Answer: Interrogative (p. 379).

77. Pronouns must agree in gender, number, and ________ with its antecedent.



Answer: person (p. 381).

78. The technical term for word order is ________.



Answer: syntax (p. 382).

79. Dangling modifiers modify the closest ________.



Answer: noun (p. 385).

80. Compounds require the principle of ________ structure.



Answer: parallel (p. 392).

81. Formal writing should be concise, and therefore should avoid ________.



Answer: circumlocutions (p. 406).

82. Passive constructions displace the ________.



Answer: subject (p. 411).

83. To pass away or to pass on are ________ for death.



Answer: euphemisms (p. 417).

84. The verb to be often appears as a ________ verb.



Answer: helping (p. 423).

85. A ________ sentence begins with a modifier, which appears before the independent clause.



Answer: periodic (p. 427).

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