September 16, 2010 Archives

Key Concept:

active verbs

Active verbs form more efficient and more powerful sentences than passive verbs. Readers are more likely to say a sentence with active verbs is clear and persuasive.
  • The subject of an active sentence performs the action of the verb:  "I throw the ball."
  • The subject of a passive sentence is still the main character of the sentence, but something else performs the action: "The ball is thrown by me."
Further references
  1. "Active and Passive Verbs"
  2. Troy Sterling and the Active & Passive Verbs
  3. Grammar Girl on Active Voice Versus Passive Voice
Due Today:

Essay 1 Peer Review

Due Today:

P3: My Passion

Start with a photo that illustrates your passion. (If you took it yourself, or you are in it, great; if not, that's OK, too.)
  • Use this photo as a starting point, to focus your creative energies.  Your paragraph should SHOW your passions; to help you get started, I'll ask you a few questions, but I don't want your paragraph simply to answer these questions.
    • How does the photo illustrate your passion?
    • What feelings does it invoke, what information does it convey?
    • What information or feelings are obvious from the photo, and what would somebody have to guess?
  • I'm not interested in reading a paragraph that simply describes the photo -- I already know you can do that sort of thing, because you have successfully graduated from high school.
  • If your photo was taken in a studio, you don't have to describe what it was like posing for the photo. (I"m thinking of senior graduation photos, where people pose with sports equipment or other props.) But if you feel the photo does accurately convey your passion, use it as a starting point to SHOW me why that passion is important to you.
  • Include your photo with your submission to  (On the MacBook, the Word command is Insert -> Picture -? From File.) 
Show me your passion, in a paragraph of 200 words -- but do it without actually writing a sentence that comes right out and tells me that "My passion is ____."

Example: A dry paragraph would just come right out and TELL the reader, "I am passionate about teaching." But in this video, the speaker SHOWS his passion for teaching through specific examples that make us see his passion, even though he never uses the words "I am passionate about teaching." 

Suggestion: Don't actually name the specific thing that you present as your passion. SHOW me a scene in which you are actively engaged in that passion, and demonstrate your ability to choose details that teach me something about what that passion means to you. (If it feels too awkward to completely hide the name of the thing you are passionate about, then go ahead and use the name. My suggestion is to get you to think about how you can SHOW your point with evidence, making me see and believe it for myself.)

See "Show, Don' t (Just) Tell."

Due Today:

ILP Revision

I asked you to bring a draft to class last week, and I have spoken with each of you about your progress so far.  Since the draft was due, you have visited the writing center and submitted your first draft of a full-length paper.  How might your ILP change in order to reflect these recent experiences?

Update your ILP, and submit it in the slot on

The requirements for the ILP draft have not changed. I'm repeating them here, for your convenience.

  1. A brief introduction, articulating your goals in this class (beyond "getting a good grade" or "doing it because I have to").
  2. A brief explanation of your strengths as a writer (refer to comments from me or other teachers, motivation in the form of career goals or work experience, and/or guidelines you find in the textbook).
  3. A brief list of 3-5 specific areas you want to work on this term. (I want to see a list, such as "I want to work on A, B, and C.  I will work on A because... I will work on B because... I will work on C because... ")
    1. This list must include some major grammar issues (as identified by your MyCompLab pre-test).
    2. This list may also other issues such as time-management, or personal attitude towards writing.
  4. Promises that will help you to meet your goals. This section
    1. must include a statement about how many MyCompLab exercises you plan to complete and what score you want to reach
    2. may also include promises such as "Attend every class" or "not update Facebook during class" or "submit every assignment on time" or "spend at least 3 hours studying the night before each class" or "make appointment to talk with professor once a month" or "bring rough drafts of every assignment to the writing center."








Insightful, personalized, precise

Informative, productive, clear

Helpful, useful, relevant

Some attempt at utility

Vague or mechanical

2. Strengths

Insightful and convincingly supported

Informative and usefully supported

Useful, with some support

Some attempt to explain strengths

No explanations of stated strengths


Work Areas

3-5, with insightful reasons

3-5, with effective reasoning

At least 3, with partial reasoning

Some attempt to specify and reason

No specific work areas or reasons stated.

4. Promises

Ambitious & precise; integrating MyCompLab goals.

Significant & clear; including MyCompLab goals.

Reasonable, clear; some reference to MyCompLab goals.

Some attempt at useful promises.

Vague; no clear effort shown.

Assigned Text:

SFW 10a: Active Sentences

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
      1 02 3 4
5 6 07 8 09 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
          1 2
3 4 05 6 07 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
  1 02 3 04 5 6
7 8 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        
      1 02 3 4
5 6 07 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31