ENGLISH 101.  ACADEMIC WRITING
 24. Dr. G's Hit Parade


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Instructions for Lesson 24

1. Participate in this lesson by reviewing another student's draft research report. (Dr. G has published the schedule of reviews.) Please read and follow the instructions for reviews in Lesson 23.

2. When you have received feedback on your research report, begin working on revision, as assigned below in Lesson 23. Your revision is due in Lesson 25.

 

 


Lessons 

Module 1

1: Orientation  
2: Goals   

Module 2

  3: Euthyphro  
     4: The Library
 5: The Apology   
    6: Citation   
    7: Crito
    8: Phaedo  
    9: Exam Prep   
10: Plato Exam
   

Module 3

11: Research Project 
12: Research 101   
13: Books   
14: the Librarian   
15: the Web   
16: conferences  
17: Joy of Research 
18: Reasoning 


Module 4

19: Outlines 
20: Review the Plan:
21: Language 
22: Dr E's Grammar
23: Peer Review  
24: Hit Parade 

Module 5

25: About the Exam
26: Mock Final 
27: Exam Prep
28: Graduation 

 

 


Let's look at common writing errors one last time

Don' lemme fine yo' 
a-doin' hit no mo'

The 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of the trouble comes from 20 percent of the potential troublemakers. But in English 101, I believe, the ratio is more like 90/10--the top ten freshman writing problems account for 90% of sentence failures.

Let's count them up, from least to most popular. Here's my hit parade. The blunders are from actual student papers. (I couldn't make this stuff up!)

Are you ready? Drum roll, please!

#10. Apostrophe (Hacker section 19). Used in contractions or to show possessives. (With a special case for It's = "it is," but its = "of it.")  NOT USED TO FORM PLURALS.

I think it is a persons choice to work at a bar or restaurant where smoking is aloud.

They were selling pizza's.

Doctor’s should exhaust in depth psychotherapy methods of treating childhood and adolescent’s depression before resorting to prescription medications (Ryan).

Although this is a good outcome it also has it’s set backs.

Its not hard to see how this kind of thing could happen.

#9. Numbers (Hacker section 23b). Spell out when one or two words; if more, use numerals. Leave problems like these in math class!

Osteoporosis and thinning of bones can leave you prone to breakage and since ½ of peak bone density is achieved in adolescence, you are putting yourself at high risk for problems later in life (Skeletal Effects).

A.I.D.S has become, in 2003, a global epidemic. In North America alone, by the end of 2002 there were 940,000 adults ages 15 through 40 living with A.I.D.S., 4,500 adults and children in the region newly infected, and 3200 children orphaned due to losing both parents to A.I.D.S (UNAIDS).

Their bar and restaurant tax revenue dropped by 7 percent by June after the ban took place in late May (Hampson p4). . . The city also gained eighteen percent more restaurant jobs while the rest of the state only gained 5 percent more (Scherer p1).

In Continental South-East Asia in the seventies they cut six hundred thirty three acres by the time they reached the nineties one million, three hundred eighty four thousand acres had been cut for a total in 1999 of three million four hundred three thousand square km, that’s a lot of trees.

2.5 million students are victims of violence at school, 186,000 of which are serious like rape and assault (Delaney, Puskar 39). Never begin a sentence with a numeral unless you are in physics class.

#8. Abbreviations (Hacker section 23a). They are generally inappropriate in academic writing, but if you insist on using them don't mistake that period key for a joy stick button!

We see it on T.V.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (A.I.D.S.) is a disease that destroys the immune systems in humans which is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (H.I.V.). There are two types of H.I.V.-H.I.V.1 and H.I.V.2, the latter rarely being found outside of Africa.

Other cities involved are El Paso, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, ILL; Boston, MA; Tempe, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Denver, CO; and Westchester and Suffolk counties in New York State (Frumkin p1. Hampson p2).

#7. Dangling or misplaced modifiers (Hacker section 7) often create unintended meanings.

Abolishment of the insanity defense will send more people to prison than to mental hospitals which are not beneficial for a person with a mental illness.

By the age of four, the basics of a language have been learned.

Anorexics often isolate themselves from others making them less outgoing. . .

#6. Shift in point of view (Hacker section 5a). Avoid "I," "we," "you" when they're not really meaningful. As a reader of student papers, I have been subjected to a variety of nasty curses. . .

Your circulation diminishes so you’re constantly cold, and you may eventually have an irregular heartbeat, or heart failure, which can be deadly.

A cleft palate is when the roof of your mouth is not present therefore making your nasal captivity exposed to your mouth (Thivierge 1).

He also says that trying to put a delay on the ban is "an attempt to injure people" so you can tell that his only real motivation behind this ban is the health of people (Hampson p3).

When one is 15% below the ideal body weight and refuses to maintain a normal or above normal weight, we can characterize them as anorexia (ANAD 1&2).

With secondhand smoke being so dangerous I can relate with the mayor when he says the ban is for the worker’s health and it is a good idea for that aspect but I think it is a persons choice to work at a bar or restaurant where smoking is aloud.

#5. Faulty parallels (Hacker section 3); parallels are easy on the receiving brain, so get your words in parallel form.  Excuse me, how many?

There are two different categories, structural abnormalities, and also minor defects. To introduce a list of items, use a colon--not a comma.

Some of the causes can include infections, drugs, genetics, and toxic or traumatic causes.

Boys are more likely to have a cleft lip as opposed to girls more commonly having a cleft palate.

Anorexics often isolate themselves from others making them less outgoing, less fun, purposely loose contact with friends and loose confidence and assertiveness. Other psychological effects include, obsession with food and orderliness, and loss of interest in anything but food and academics. Dr. G must be anorexic!

They plan on having gum and nicorette available at the bar, and have smokers get their hands stamped to be able to go out to smoke a cigarette and come back in when finished (Romano p1).

I feel that from the research I have done that if we start replanting, cutting scientifically, show the farmers more environmentally sound ways of clearing the land, and a better recycling program world wide I think the Amazon forest and the forests of the world just might have a shot at being around for another twelve to sixteen thousand years.

#4. Wrong word chosen from similar and sound-alike words (see Hacker section 44 for many examples)

Having control over food, may indirectly cause a person to feel as if they have there "uncontrollable" life in there hands.

I think it is a persons choice to work at a bar or restaurant where smoking is aloud.

sales receipts increased
bye 2 percent. . .

Anorexics often isolate themselves from others making themselves less outgoing, less fun, purposely loose contact with friends and loose confidence and assertiveness.

#3. The sentence fragment (Hacker section 14): If you like to write fragments, you can write more of them again next year in English 101.

Most of the wrong perception about the insanity defense is from false perception. Such as the defendants being taken advantage of or acquitted and being released into the community without vital treatment.

Although after two years 21% of them were in trouble again. Watch out for the "although" opening; use "but" if you mean "but."

While in N.Y.C. a survey actually shows that since Guliani signed the anti-smoking rules into law taxable sales receipts increased bye 2 percent and the rest of the state without the law declined by 4 percent (Scherer p1). The back end of your sentence must remember where the front end began. "While" here causes the same trouble as "Although" above.

Another program, created in 1999, is the Youth Violence Reduction Project or YVRP. Which Lynne Lamberg discusses in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

If a restaurant or bar is caught violating the law the owner will be subject to penalties as much as one-thousand dollars (McAndrew, Jacobs, p.2). Or eventual closure (Romano p2). This one is possibly acceptable (under Hacker 14c), but why take chances that some nit-picking academic language fanatic is going to agree?

#2 Run on sentences (Hacker section 15) including fused sentences and comma splices have reddened many a blue book

I do not feel that people have the right to tell anyone else how to reach happiness, it is a personal preference.

There are more than 3,000 abnormalities that have been identified and some of them are curable with surgery, medicine, or help from doctors specializing in the area of the abnormality.

The growth that Demtri had was called encephalocele, this occurred because his skull wasn’t properly fused together which left his brain to protrude from his skull.

The neurotransmitters, serotonin and neuroepinephrine are decreased in patients suffering from Anorexia Nervosa and these neurotransmitters also function abnormally in people with depression.

I am not saying the United States is perfect in fact we tend to make ourselves look hypocritical.

There are some things being done now to try to help the Amazon, for instance the United Kingdom hotel group will open its first eco friendly hotel in the Brazilian rainforest.

Many things can be done to prevent youth violence and preventing it before it starts is a lot cheaper than waiting for the problem to fully bloom (Burkeen Jr., Alston 80). Kids are easily influenced by their peers and it’s easy to fall into bad habits and violent behaviors.

Of coarse supporters of the ban have nothing but good things to say about it but obviously in some places the numbers are not agreeing with them.

The tax from cigarettes is meant to fill the state budget gaps so with the number of people quitting the state will have to make up for that loss (Hampson p1).

#1. Improper pronoun reference (Hacker sections 12a & 12b) is most monstrous of all--the attack of Them Person. . . or sometimes the ethereal It

. . . a person with a mental disorder should be held responsible for their actions. The guilty but mentally ill verdict gives the defendant some responsibility for their crime but excuses them because of their mental illness.

The Royal college of Psychiatrists stated it very bluntly when they said "We think that anti-depressants work by increasing the activity of these chemicals in our brains"(1). Basically they alter the way the neurotransmitters work. Even the royal college gets into the act...

As bad as Brazil sounds they have actually done more to protect their forest than the other countries that cut lumber and supposedly give back environmental aid... Brazil seems to have two sides in its fight to save their forests.

Just because someone is gay or a lesbian does not mean they are any less of a person. Even though a person might love someone of the same sex, they still love them.

Alcohol can have the same effect of making a person socialize and feel better, and similarly they may feel worse when they come off the drug.

Adolescent violence goes beyond the classroom. They’re doing it at home, on the streets, on playgrounds, and almost everywhere else... Home and school are the major sources for the development of aggression and behavior because that’s where they spend most of their time (szyndrowski 9).

The tobacco industry and restaurant lobby claim that dining establishments will go out of business or it will cost jobs.

It is tragic that we place a higher value on industry than we do on our children. I'm sorry. I'll never do it again. I promise.

2. Sample language revision
it all comes down to words; fight it out sentence by sentence 

ORIGINAL DRAFT (96 words, from a student paper):

There are also medications that are used when labor begins.  Certain medications that block the calcium channels in muscle cells have been used to stop contractions. Medications that have been used for stopping contractions are: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and/or indomethacin.  These medications stop contractions only for a short period of time.  During this time the mother is usually taken to a facility that specializes in premature birth.  Other medications, which help the baby, are also used at this time.  One of these medications is, Corticosteroids that help the baby’s lungs mature in 24-48 hours (“Premature Birth”). 

There are also medications that are Medications can be used when labor begins.  Certain medications that Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and indomethacin block the calcium channels in muscle cells have been and are used to stop contractions. Medications that have been used for stopping contractions are: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and/or indomethacin.  These medications stop contractions only for a short period of time.  During this time so that the mother is usually can be taken to a facility that specializes in premature birth.  Other medications, which help the baby, Corticosteroids are also used at this time.  One of these medications is, Corticosteroids that They help the baby’s lungs mature in 24-48 hours (“Premature Birth").

REVISED DRAFT (64 words):

Medications can be used when labor begins.  Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and indomethacin block the calcium channels in muscle cells and are used to stop contractions for a short period of time so that the mother can be taken to a facility that specializes in premature birth. Corticosteroids are also used at this time. They help the baby’s lungs mature in 24-48 hours (“Premature Birth”).

Work on revising your language to get rid of unnecessary words. This paragraph is a good example. Readers don't like to read more words than necessary to understand the meaning. Work on your essays in revision to see whether language can be simplified--especially by chopping out repetitive and redundant words.

Above: Nicholas Poussin's Et in Arcadia Ego ("and here I am in Arcadia," French, c.1651) may look like a grammar check, but probably it's not. The shepherds have found a tomb, and yet they are such innocent bumpkins that they never have seen a stone with letters on it before. Gosh! What could those funny-looking marks mean? If they only knew how to read!

Well, I'm only kidding. Actually, this famous old painting is an allegory about reading. It takes a coordinated effort by four to read: the left hand/eye combo placeholds the text (figure left), the right hand/eye combo follows the letters line-by-line (left center), the neural pathway transmits the message (right center) and the brain comprehends (right). Not bad for 17th century physiology!

Arcadia, by the way, was the remote mountainous region in the Peloponnesus where the survivors of the ancient Greek world of the Bronze Age hid out through the Greek dark ages from about 1200 BC to about 800 BC. The Arcadians are credited with preserving the ancient Greek traditions during many centuries of barbarism and illiteracy prior to the re-emergence of Greece in Homer's time. Arcadians recalled a distant "golden age" of peace, prosperity and virtue--the Greek Eden that we have lost.


Left: Sandro Botticelli's Athena and the Centaur (1482) always reminds me of Cortland Jr. High School where our Latin teacher pulled our hair for as long as it took until we recited the correct answers to his questions. Often that was quite a long time, too. So I'm warning you: after all of these years, the wild beast in me is still waiting to repay that abuse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No offense is intended to the writers of these sample errors. We all make mistakes, and we all can benefit from them.


gutchess@englishare.net                    Academic writing home page                    Gary Gutchess © 2003