October 21, 2008 Archives

In an essay of 2 to 3 pages, made up of several paragraphs, explain something that needs explanation. Choose a topic that is sufficiently complex that two intelligent people could disagree on it.  I am not asking for a set of instructions, such as "How to change the oil in your car," but "Why I won't be buying a battery-powered car any time soon" would probably work.

I don't expect any outside research, but if you do use words that you did not compose on your own, you should cite the source accurately. (Please ask me if you have any questions about citing sources. How to conduct research is a topic for a different course, so I won't cover it here, but as a student you still need to demonstrate academic integrity by acknowledging whenever you use somebody else's words or ideas in your own paper.)

You do not have to supply a framing narrative. (By that, I mean that you do not have to invent a story as an excuse to give your explanation.  You don't need to start like this: "Last Thursday, I was walking through the parking lot when I noticed a tiny two-seater car, and I wondered who else on campus has come up with creative ways to cope with the high price of fuel.  I sat down under a tree with my friend Sharon, whose freckles shone merrily in the autum sunlight...")

If you wish to supply a framing narrative, keep it subtle. (Your goal is to explain something. If telling a story helps you to make a specific point, rather than make general statements about what "some people" think, then by all means use a framing narrative.  But keep the number of characters and settings to a minimum -- don't distract the reader from your main point.)

Refer to SF Writer, 12a-12e (your assigned readings for Oct 16 and Oct 21).

See also this handout on Blueprinting.

Before break, I suggested a formula to help you make sure your thoughts were organized enough for you to start writing your "Correct a Misconception" paragraph.  While I'm not going to suggest any specific formula for the "Explanatory Essay," I will discuss the value of blueprinting.

An A is a kind of B that is unique because of C, D, and E.

While many examples of A may look like Bs because of C and D, the truth is that E and F are more reliable ways of differentiating between As and Bs.

I used to think that I could get to A by doing B and C; however, after I learned that B and C can lead to the undesirable result D, from now on I am going to try E and F instead.
Any of these forumlae could work; any of them might not, depending on the topic that you choose.

But whatever structure you apply to your paper, make sure that you go into detail in the order your introduction promised.

In-class Activity

Ex 2-4: Explain a Position

Assigned Text:

SFW 12 c-e: Paragraphs

Recent Comments

Dennis G. Jerz on Ex 2-1: Explain (for a novice): Amanda, thanks for letting me know you are interst
Amanda Casper on Ex 2-1: Explain (for a novice): Dr. Jerz, could you please add some basic informat
Candis Bostic on P1: Narrative Essay Revision: Would I be able to resubmit my revision of my narr
Candis Bostic on Ex 1-0: I, Writer: I handed in the wrong paper on turnitin.com for th
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