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Intra-paragraph Organization for ESL Writers. Dr. Linda Bergmann, Professor of English, Purdue Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Review. You’ll recognize the following paragraph from the last consulting session…. Why is this easy to read?.

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slide1

Intra-paragraph Organization

for ESL Writers

Dr. Linda Bergmann, Professor of English, Purdue

Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab

slide2

Review

You’ll recognize the following paragraph from the last consulting session…

slide3

Why is this easy to read?

Business school professors perennially debate over

whether maintaining an old employee is more costly

than hiring a new one. The issue has strong proponents on

each side. Human resource experts maintain that keeping

an old employee requires fewer man hours for training and

orientation. However, management gurus insist

that having the right person in the right position increases

the overall productivity of a team or workgroup. Between

these two groups are the economists who study new hiring

practices in a company-specific context.

slide4

The Given-New Method

  • Business school professors perennially debate over
  • whether maintaining an old employee is more costly
  • than hiring a new one. The issue has strong proponents on
  • each side. Human resourceexperts maintain that keeping
  • an old employeerequires fewer man hours for training and
  • orientation. However, management gurus insist
  • that having the right person in the right position increases
  • the overall productivity of a team or workgroup. Between
  • these two arguments are the economists who study new
  • hiring practices in a company-specific context.

new information = red old information = blue

slide5

Another Reasons It’s Readable:

  • In addition to having a given-new sentence structure, the
  • paragraph uses the T-R-I method for inter-sentence
  • organization. T-R-I is the organizational method used for
  • paragraph organization in most academic essays.
  • T-R-I stands for:
  • Topic
  • Restriction
  • Illustration
slide6

Topic Sentence

  • Show me the topic!
  • Native English readers are accustomed to
  • reading a paragraph’s main idea in the first
  • sentence. The topic sentence should
  • generalize the content of the proceeding
  • sentences and provide some forecasting
  • on where the paragraph is headed. Take
  • another look at our example paragraph:
slide7

Topic Sentence Example

Topic Sentence

Business school professors perennially debate over

whether maintaining an old employee is more costly

than hiring a new one. The issue has strong proponents on

each side. Human resource experts maintain that keeping

an old employee requires fewer man hours for training and

orientation. However, management gurus insist

that having the right person in the right position increases

the overall productivity of a team or workgroup. Between

these two groups are the economists who study new hiring

practices in a company-specific context.

Notice the reciprocal relationship between the topic sentence and the rest of the paragraph. The first sentence forecasts the content of the proceeding sentences and the proceeding sentences develop the content of the topic sentence.

slide8

Topic Sentence Example

Topic Sentence

  • The time a person spends preparing for a project will
  • never go wasted. What will be wasted is the time people
  • spend correcting mistakes in a poorly-planned project. In
  • her book, Success Step-by-Step, efficiency expert
  • Caroline Jefferson says, “The old adage is true: most
  • people who fail to plan plan to fail.” Poorly-planned
  • projects leave people wondering how they should
  • proceed, so they spend their time addressing small details
  • instead of working on big issues. At the end of the
  • project, they have no time, lots of stress, and, considering
  • the hours they’ve spent on the project, little to show for it.
slide9

Restriction

  • Restrict your topic!
  • Restrictive sentences narrow the topic sentence and transition to the following sentences, which should provide specific examples of what you’re discussing. Take another look at the example paragraph:
slide10

Restriction Example

Topic Sentence

Restrictive Sentence

  • The time a person spends preparing for a project will
  • never go wasted.What will be wasted is the time people
  • spend correcting mistakes in a poorly-planned project. In
  • her book, Success Step-by-Step, efficiency expert
  • Caroline Jefferson says, “The old adage is true: most
  • people who fail to plan plan to fail.” Poorly-planned
  • projects leave people wondering how they should
  • proceed, so they spend their time addressing small details
  • instead of working on big issues. At the end of the
  • project, they have no time, lots of stress, and, considering
  • the hours they’ve spent on the project, little to show for it.

Notice how the second sentence clarifies the content of the first. The second sentence establishes a limit on the things “not wasted” at the end of the first sentence.

slide11

Illustration

Illustrate your topic!

Illustrations give examples that develop the idea

established by the topic and restrictive sentences.

They provide evidence, a series of events, or

related facts to support the assertion at the

beginning of the paragraph.

slide12

Illustration Example

Topic Sentence

Restrictive Sentence

  • The time a person spends preparing for a project will
  • never go wasted.What will be wasted is the time people
  • spend correcting mistakes in a poorly-planned project. In
  • her book, Success Step-by-Step, efficiency expert
  • Caroline Jefferson says, “The old adage is true: most
  • people who fail to plan plan to fail.” Poorly-planned
  • projects leave people wondering how they should
  • proceed, so they spend their time addressing small details
  • instead of working on big issues. At the end of the
  • project, they have no time, lots of stress, and, considering
  • the hours they’ve spent on the project, little to show for it.

Illustrations

Each of the sentences in blue gives published, anecdotal, or speculative evidence for the idea established in the topic and restrictive sentences.

slide13

Topic, Restriction,Illustration

T-R-I paragraphs are usually structured one of

two ways:

T-R-I-I-I T-R-I-I-R

Topic Topic

Restriction Restriction

Illustration Illustration

Illustration Illustration

IllustrationRestriction

slide14

T-R-I-I-I Example

Restrictive Sentence

Topic Sentence

  • The time a person spends preparing for a project will
  • never go wasted.What will be wasted is the time people
  • spend correcting mistakes in a poorly-planned project. In
  • her book, Success Step-by-Step, efficiency expert
  • Caroline Jefferson says, “The old adage is true: most
  • people who fail to plan plan to fail.” Poorly-planned
  • projects leave people wondering how they should
  • proceed, so they spend their time addressing small details
  • instead of working on big issues. At the end of the
  • project, they have no time, lots of stress, and, considering
  • the hours they’ve spent on the project, little to show for it.

Illustrations

slide15

T-R-I-I-R Example

Topic Sentence

Restrictive Sentence

Never before had the world known a thinker like Sir Issac

Newton. He prompted a revolution in mathematics that still

influences the way scientists think about empirical world.

In 1687, he published Principia Mathematica, which

explains his laws of motion and his law of universal

gravitation. As he developed these laws, he also

developed calculus, a math system that is still taught to

mathematics and science students. Though

Newton’s ideas were similar to those of other

mathematicians of his era, his writing is more elegant, so

he is usually credited as a revolutionary genius.

Illustrations

Restrictive Sentence

slide16

Two Systems of Organization

Notice how Given-New and T-R-I function at once!

  • Business school professors perennially debate over
  • whether maintaining an old employee is more costly
  • than hiring a new one. The issue has strong proponents on
  • each side. Human resourceexperts maintain that keeping
  • an old employee requires fewer man hours for training and
  • orientation. However, management gurus insist
  • that having the right person in the right position increases
  • the overall productivity of a team or workgroup. Between
  • these two arguments are the economists who study new
  • hiring practices in a company-specific context
  • new information = red old information = blue
slide17

Practice Example

Re-order these sentences to follow the T-R-I format.

  • The results showed that cohesive and easy-to-finish concrete can be produced using ternary binders.
  • 2) We produced 16 different concretes (including one control,
  • cement-only mixture) in the laboratory and tested for fresh
  • properties, compressive and flexural strength.
  • The ANOVA statistical analysis of the results indicate that paste and fly ash content are the only variables which significantly influence 7-day flexural strength.
  • However, the increase in comprehensive strength of all ternary mixtures was significantly higher than that of control mixture, which clearly indicates the strength contribution from pozzolanic reaction.
  • The influence of variables tested was less pronounced
  • in the case of comprehensive strength data.
slide18

Practice Answer

Restrictive Sentence

Topic Sentence

  • We produced 16 different concretes (including one control,
  • cement-only mixture) in the laboratory and tested for fresh
  • properties, compressive and flexural strength.The results
  • showed that cohesive and easy-to-finish concrete can be
  • produced using ternary binders.The ANOVA statistical analysis
  • of the results indicate that paste and fly ash content are the
  • only variables which significantly influence 7-day flexural
  • strength. The influence of variables tested was less
  • pronounced in the case of comprehensive strength data.
  • However, the increase in comprehensive strength of all ternary
  • mixtures was significantly higher than that of control mixture,
  • which clearly indicates the strength contribution from
  • pozzolanic reaction.

Illustrations

slide19

Practice Example

Re-order these sentences to follow the T-R-I format.

  • As a first step, a full quadratic (or linear) model is assumed, and significance tests (t-tests) are performed on each model coefficient [7, 8, 9].
  • We analyzed the data with factorial design
  • methodology (including CCD method).
  • 3) Since a complete set of data needed for such analysis was not available at the time this paper was prepared, the presented analysis is limited to visual interpretation of observed trends and statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA).
  • 4) The method consists of iterative development of the model that best fits the measured responses.
  • 5) Although this analysis considered the effects of independent variables (namely fly ash, slag and paste content), it did not include the effects of interactions between variables on the measured responses.
slide20

Practice Answer

Topic Sentence

Restrictive Sentence

  • We analyzed the data with factorial design methodology (including
  • CCD method).The method consists of iterative development of the
  • model that best fits the measured responses.As a first step, a full
  • quadratic (or linear) model is assumed, and significance tests (t-tests)
  • are performed on each model coefficient [7, 8, 9]. Since a complete
  • set of data needed for such analysis was not available at the time this
  • paper was prepared, the presented analysis is limited to visual
  • interpretation of observed trends and statistical analysis of variance
  • (ANOVA).Although this analysis considered the effects of
  • independent variables (namely fly ash, slag and paste content), it did
  • not include the effects of interactions between variables on the
  • measured responses.

Illustrations

slide21

For More Information

  • Contact the Purdue Writing Lab:
  • Call: 765-494-3723
  • OWL Email Tutors: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/contact/owlmailtutors
  • On the web: http://owl.english.purdue.edu
slide22

The End

Intra-paragraph Organization

for ESL Writers

Adapted by Joshua Prenosil and Linda Bergmann from The Thomson Handbook by David Blakesley and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen

Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab