Outline due Nov. 21, Draft due Nov. 28, Final revision due De

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English 099/ Rogers

Explanatory / Argument Essay about Drinking (3 to 4 pages)

Outline due Nov. 21, Draft due Nov. 28, Final revision due Dec. 5

Important note! Not following instructions has caused problems for students on previous writing assignments. Keep this paper in front of you and refer to it every time you draft. Take it to the Writing Center with you.

PLANNING: Read the following questions and determine a topic for your paper. Make a list of ideas and examples you hope to use in the paper; then make an informal outline showing the order of ideas. On a new paper, write your thesis (what the topic is and the point your paper will prove.) Follow with your plan for the essay: the specific idea for each body paragraph. Check to see if each of these ideas proves the thesis. Note: There needs to be a reason for your paper, so don’t just rehash those things everyone in the class knows. Bring some new insight to the topic, something not everyone will have thought about.

  • Do the examples of drinking we see on TV, in magazines, on the Internet, and hear sung about increase the amount of drinking teens do? Does the media cause teens to drink at a younger age? Does the media make drinking seem not only acceptable, but desirable?

  • Is getting drunk so much fun that teens are driven to do it, or do they binge for other reasons? If so, what are those reasons?

  • Is it a mistake to teach children that their youth should be spent in having fun and being carefree rather than being responsible? How has this attitude hurt us?” Does this carry over into drinking? Should parents and schools be doing more to address responsible drinking? Would it be a mistake for parents and schools to discuss responsible drinking since drinking is technically not legal until one is 21 years old. Should teens be taught to abstain until that age?

  • Are certain dangers related to drinking over-discussed while others are neglected? What are dangers that parents are not aware of? As a young person, what do you know about teens and drinking that your parents do not?

  • Why do so many young women binge? Is it to keep up with the boys? Should girls drink differently than boys? If so, why?

  • Is the danger of teen partying overblown? Are there benefits college students gain from drinking? Are there ways to insure safe parties? Is there a way to drink responsibly?


Step One: Begin your essay (1) with a short summary of the professional essay you are reacting to and a transitional sentence to move from the summary to your thesis (see the template from my website) or (2) an attention-getting statement followed by your thesis. This website offers ideas:


Step Two: Draft the essay. If you are better at explaining things verbally rather than in written form, you may try reading your ideas into a tape recorder and playing it back, typing the ideas as hear them. Use “I” as little as you can, for it makes the tone of the paper less academic. Remember, you need to develop your points with specific details, explanation, and examples.

Step Three: We have read the essays “The Wet Drug” on 28, “Bottomless Drinking on College Campuses” on 258, “Binge Drinking Is a Normal Impulse” on 262, the handouts “Libation as Liberation” and “The Perils of Prohibition.” You may have also researched an article about brain damage related to this topic. Think about which of these essays most relates to your topic and find a quotation to include in your essay. Using a quotation within the paper is a requirement of the essay.

Step Four: Think about how a lawyer presents a “case” or thesis in court. You are building a case for your paper in a similar fashion to prove your thesis. Your examples and explanations are the evidence. Also, remember, a lawyer always gets to give a closing statement to finalize his argument and convince the jury (reader). Check back as you write to insure you are writing with this “case building” in mind.

Step Five: Finish with a conclusion that refers back to the original essay summarized in the introduction or that stresses the importance of the topic by making a prediction, call to action, quoting an expert, etc. Look at this website for samples: http://www.palomar.edu/library/guide/conclusions.htm

Step Six: Remember to re-enforce your topic with reminders of the topic and the main points by using nouns that clarify and remind rather than pronouns. Vague pronouns like “it” and “they” can damage the clarity your paper.

Step Seven: Make sure your paper is double-spaced and typed MLA style. Make sure you have added a quotation from one of the essays and that you have done a Work Cited page that lists the essay in our textbook and outside research if you used it.

Step Eight: Try reading your essay aloud to someone or having them read it to you. Visiting the Writing Center after you draft can be an important step in improving the quality of your paper. Listen for awkward, wordy elements and revise. Don’t use “you.” Also, notice if it is natural to pause in your reading where you have periods and commas.

Step Nine: Add stylistic devices. Join some sentences together to create variety and rhythm. Use two vocabulary words from our unit and bold or underline them within the paper.

Step One: Compare the thesis statement of your draft to your conclusion. Is a more effective sentence revealing the real point of the paper found in the conclusion? If so, rewrite the paper after changing the beginning. Make sure the new conclusion makes universal points about your topic that emphasize its importance for all of us.

Step Two: As you look at the lead-in on your draft, check to see that when you referred to the essay we read in class, you put the title in quotations and gave the name of the author. If you refer to any research, do the same with titles of items you found and tell where you found it. Make sure you have attached a Work Cited page that lists the source of your information.

Step Three: Look at the topic sentences of each paragraph. Make sure the entire paragraph stays on topic and that the paragraph provides information for the reader and help convince him/her of the validity of your position. (thesis). Add, remove, or switch paragraphs as needed, thinking about unity and logical organization.

Step Four: Do you have enough examples? By now you may have thought of more effective examples. If so, change them. Do you need to explain what the examples teach us? Add explanation to areas that might be confusing to the reader.

Step Five: Do you need transitions between paragraphs? Does your paper contain words like finally, however, on the other hand, etc? Don’t forget to add time signals when necessary.

Step Six: Check to see your paper is correct MLA style. Use the spell check and the thesaurus. Edit to eliminate comma splices, run ons and fragment. Check for proper verbs and pronouns usage.

Step Seven: Look at the types of errors you made on your last paper and be sure you have not repeated them.

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