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English 1301 . August 27 CW: Chapter 1 BH: MLA Essay Format & Active Verbs. Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, Chp . 1 Myths versus Reality. Myth: Writing is easy for some.

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English 1301

August 27

CW: Chapter 1

BH: MLA Essay Format & Active Verbs


Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, Chp. 1Myths versus Reality

  • Myth: Writing is easy for some.

    • Reality: Some writers might be blessed with the ability to write easily, but for most, including most professional writers, writing is hard, it is a struggle, and the words do not always come easily.

    • Ernest Hemingway: “I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.”

      • The best piece of advice I’ve received recently was this: “Always stop when you have something more to say. That way, you can be sure to be able to get going again the next day.”


  • Myth: “Good writers are born, not made. A writing course really won’t help my writing.”

    • Reality: Writers acquire their skills through practice and hard work, just like athletes.

  • Myth: “Writing courses are just a review of grammar and punctuation.”

    • Reality: Yes, we will study grammar, punctuation, and mechanics, but those elements are only a small part of the whole. Expressing your thoughts in logical and consistent ways is more important than those things.


  • Myth: “College writing courses teach creative writing, something I don’t need in my major.”

    • Reality: I’ve designed this course, and these textbooks were chosen, to be practical and applicable to all majors. We may do some writing that is more creative than other pieces of writing that we do. But, in reality, all the writing we do in here is designed to improve your skills as writers.


  • Myth: “Writing courses are not important in college or the real world. I’ll never have to write again after I complete this class.”

    • Reality: Learning to write well can improve your note-taking skills, your reading comprehension, and your ability to think critically. Also, I can’t think of a major or job where there is not some writing or reading involved. I challenge you to tell me of a job that does not involve writing or reading of some kind, literally, shout it out.


Writing Rituals

A ritual is a ceremonial behavior performed not for its own sake but for some other goal. For example, the habit of fastening your seatbelt becomes a ritual when doing this reminds you to drive safely.

In writing, sharpening pencils or finding a favorite pen, fixing coffee, or cleaning your desk may be habits that lead to successful writing.


On a sheet of paper, answer the following questions:

Describe your own writing rituals: When, where, and how do you do your best writing?

In two or three sentences, complete the following thoughts: “First, my greatest strengths as a writer are……….BUT the area(s) I hope to improve the most in during this semester is (are)………………”

In a few sentences, complete the following thought: “In my previous classes and from my own writing experiences, I’ve learned that the three most important rules about writing are….”


Bedford Handbook: MLA Format, pgs. 122-23


MLA Format

Margins – 1” top, bottom, left, right

Double-spaced throughout

Font – 12 pt. Times New Roman

Title – We always need a title. Centered on the page.

Indent new paragraphs ½”, or one tab.

Page numbers – in top right. Use last name plus page number. Page number on 1st page.


MLA Format

  • Heading

    • Name

    • Instructor’s name

    • Class + Section #

    • Date the assignment is due, not the day you type this up, but the assignment’s due date.

    • Do NOT place this information in a header. It does not need to be repeated on every page.


MLA Format Example

George 1

Jim Yudovitz

Sean George

English 1301.23339

10 September 2009

The UC: Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the university center, aka the student center tends to be dull and uninteresting. However……………………….


BH: Active Verbs, pgs. 146-151

  • Use active verbs as much as possible, although it is not always possible.

    • Passive: The pumps were destroyed by a surge of power.

    • Active: A surge of water destroyed the pumps.

      • In the first sentence, the pumps are passive, they are not DOING anything. In the second sentence, the water is active, it is destroying the pumps.


Active Verbs

  • Passive: The fly ball was caught by Hernando.

  • Active: Hernando caught the fly ball.

    • In the first sentence, the fly ball is passive. In the second, Hernando acts.

  • Passive: The transformer was struck by a bolt of lightning.

  • Active: The bolt of lightning struck the transformer.

    • Again, passive versus active. The difference may be subtle, but using active verbs as often as possible will strengthen your writing.


Active Verbs, Exercise 8-1

The Prussians were victorious over the Saxons in 1745.

The entire operation is managed by Ahmed, the producer.

There were shouting protestors on the courthouse steps.


Exercise 8-1, pg. 151, with a partner

A strange sound was made in the willow tree by the monkey that had escaped from the zoo.

Her letter was in acknowledgement of the student’s participation in the literacy program.

The work of Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins was influential in my choice of music for my audition.

The only responsibility I was given by my parents was putting gas in the brand-new Mitsubishi they bought me my senior year.


  • A strange sound was made in the willow tree by the monkey that had escaped from the zoo.

    Revision???

    The monkey that escaped from the zoo made strange sounds in the willow tree.


2. Her letter was in acknowledgement of the student’s participation in the literacy program.

Revision???

She wrote a letter acknowledging the student’s participation in the literacy program.


3. The work of Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins was influential in my choice of music for my audition.

Revision???

The work of Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins influenced my choice of music for my audition.

The work of Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins influenced the music I chose for my audition.


4. The only responsibility I was given by my parents was putting gas in the brand-new Mitsubishi they bought me my senior year.

Revision???

My parents gave me the responsibility of putting gas in the brand-new Mitsubishi they bought during my senior year.

This sentence may be hard to get away from the passive voice. For example,

It is my responsibility to put gas in ….

I have the responsibility to put gas in ….

I am responsible for putting gas in ….


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