Esol 162 22486 Table of Contents

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Exercise 1.3.

Write two of each kind of sentence here.




Some things to remember:

(Is this true in your language?)

  • A subject is always a noun, but a noun is not always a subject!

  • If there is a noun to the left of the main verb - that is the subject.  Always.

  • A clause might have both a subject and a verb, but it is not a sentence if it is not a complete idea. This can also be called a fragment. “Because I was hungry.”

  • A phrase cannot have both a subject and a verb.

  • A noun phrase might have several words in it but only one will be the main noun:
    The cute, small, white mouse with pink eyes ran across the floor.”
    What runs?  A mouse.

  • A verb phrase might have several words in it but only one will be the main verb:
    “ Elena has been continuously thinking about your letter.”
    What is Elena’s main action? She thinks.

Section 2. Paragraph Writing

What is a paragraph? Defining a paragraph is something like defining a sentence. You might remember we said a sentence is just something that “starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.” That is actually a very reasonable definition! In the same way, we can accurately define a paragraph in this way:

  • A paragraph is a group of sentences about the same topic.

  • A paragraph always begins with an indent.

Paragraphs are everywhere, and we will study many kinds, but our focus is on academic paragraphs.

Wait! Review! What is an academic paragraph?
In college, you will write many paragraphs that are part of a larger work. After all, essays, research papers, reports, articles, self-assessments and other long works are made of paragraphs put together in a certain style.
However, much of your college writing will be in paragraph form. Many test questions and homework questions require a single-paragraph answer. Many jobs require paragraph-length responses and records.
It is absolutely important to your life as a learner to write strong paragraphs, whether they are part of a long paper or independent!

In Other Words …

You may think that paragraphs are only a step towards
“real” writing, but that is not true.
Paragraph writing is something you will do
through your entire college and professional life.
Your paragraphs may be good now … but
they could probably be even better.

Example Paragraphs

Let’s read some paragraphs and think about them. The paragraphs below are from many different sources. Some have been edited slightly. The authors are given if known, and any online sources are given at the end of the exercise. Some of these paragraphs are more difficult than others. Don’t worry about understanding all the words; simply skim each piece and try to answer the questions that follow.
1. Before I came to America, my family got together in a restaurant. There were about 40 people there. I don’t see my uncles and aunts together very often, so it was a special day. They all wanted to say goodbye to me before I left the country to come to college here. Every relative had some advice for me, and most of them also had a little gift for me. My father gave a toast to me, and my sister cried a little. My mother was very quiet. My uncles reminded me to work hard and my grandmother reminded me to write email often. We took pictures of this special family party, and I still look at those pictures now when I feel homesick.
What’s the writing about?
Is this academic writing or not?

2. Much is known about the lovely and unique planet of Saturn, and even a beginning astronomer should know some basic facts. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest in the solar system, with an equatorial diameter of 119,300 kilometers (74,130 miles). Saturn is visibly flattened at the poles, a result of the very fast rotation of the planet on its axis. Its day is 10 hours, 39 minutes long, and it takes 29.5 Earth years to revolve about the Sun. The atmosphere is primarily composed of hydrogen with small amounts of helium and methane. Saturn is the only planet less dense than water (about 30 percent less). In the unlikely event that a large enough ocean could be found, Saturn would float in it. Saturn's hazy yellow hue is marked by broad atmospheric banding similar to, but fainter than, that found on Jupiter.

Calvin J. Hamilton

What’s the writing about?
Is this academic writing or not?
3. The minimum dose of food protein to which subjects with food allergy have reacted in double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges is between 50 and 100 mg. However, subjects with peanut allergy often report severe reactions after minimal contact with peanuts, even through intact skin. We sought to determine whether adults previously proven by challenge to be allergic to peanut react to very low doses of peanut protein. We used a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge of 14 subjects allergic to peanuts with doses of peanut ranging from 10 μg to 50 mg, administered in the form of a commercially available peanut flour. In conclusion, even in a group of well-characterized, highly sensitive subjects with peanut allergy, the threshold dose of peanut protein varies. As little as 100 μg of peanut protein provokes symptoms in some subjects with peanut allergy.

Jonathan O'B. Hourihane et. al. “An evaluation of the sensitivity of subjects with peanut allergy to very low doses of peanut protein: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge study.”

What’s the writing about?
Is this academic writing or not?

4. Your mouth may not be on fire … but it feels like it is. Humans are the only animal that loves the burn of eating chiles. Some experts argue that we like chilies because they are good for us. Studies have shown that chilies can help lower blood pressure. When eaten, chiles increase salivation, which is good if you eat a boring diet based on one bland grain like corn or rice. The chemical in chiles which causes the “burn” may have some antimicrobial effects. Not only that, but capsaicin – the cause of chile’s heat – is proven to relieve pain. Strange as it may seem, capsaicin cream is now sold to help with the pain of arthiritis.

What’s the writing about?

Is this academic writing or not?
5. Climate change threatens us not only in the obvious ways, but in the unexpected. Think about infectious diseases like malaria. This ancient enemy kills approximately three quarters of a million children under five a year. But the world is making progress: Thanks to bed nets, insecticides and improved access to medications, one third of the countries confronting malaria have seen the number of cases drop by at least half since 2000. Unfortunately, as mosquitoes expand their range due to climate change, malaria is now reappearing in areas where it was once eliminated, like the Kenyan highlands. Nor is malaria the only climate-affected health challenge. The Lancet has warned that "climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century."

John Kerry, “Climate Change Threatens to Undermine Progress on Development”

What’s the writing about?
Is this academic writing or not?

6. Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet and satirist known for her wit and wisecracks. From an unhappy childhood, Parker rose to fame, both for her writing in such magazines as The New Yorker and as a social leader. Following the breakup of her New York writing group, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were limited, as her involvement in politics led to a place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist. Parker went through three marriages (two to the same man) and survived several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Parker was dismissive of her own talents during her life. Nevertheless, her literary output and her sparkling wit have endured.

What’s the writing about?
Is this academic writing or not?

Paragraph Structure

Another way to ask the question, “What’s the paragraph about?” is “What’s the topic of the paragraph?” The topic is usually a noun, and when your teacher asks “What’s the topic?” you are expected to answer in your own words. A good paragraph can be divided into three sections. Each of those sections is about the same topic, but in different ways.

  • A strong paragraph has a single sentence which clearly expresses the topic. This sentence is called the topic sentence.

  • The topic sentence also includes the writer’s opinion or emotion towards the topic.

  • The topic sentence is usually – but not always – the first sentence in the paragraph.

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