explanation of a concept


explanation of a concept

analysis of opposing positions seeking common ground

argument supporting your position

proposal to solve a problem


analysis of possible causes

analysis of a short story

Each Part One chapter follows essentially the same structure, beginning with three scenarios that provide examples of how that kind of writing could be used in a college course, in a workplace, and in a community setting such as a volunteer program or civic organization.

Next come a brief introduction to the genre, a collaborative activity to get you thinking about the genre, and an introduction to the genre’s basic features, each of which is assigned a specific color.

2 IN COLLEGE COURSES In a linguistics course, students are assigned a paper in which they are to discuss published research in the context of their own experience. The class had recently read Deborah Tannen’s Gender and Discourse, in which Tannen discusses differences in how men and women talk about problems: according to Tannen, women tend to spend a lot of time talking about the problem and their feelings about it, while men typi- cally cut short the analysis of the problem and focus on solutions.

One student decides to write about Tannen’s findings in light of a conversation she recently had

Remembering an Event

Short chapter-opening scenarios provide examples of how the kind of writing covered in the chapter is used in other college courses, in your job, and in your community.


Next, you’ll find a series of readings, essays that will help you see how writers deploy the basic features of the genre for different purposes and audiences. The first reading in each chapter is always one written by a first-year college student who was using The St. Martin’s Guide. These readings include color coding that highlights the writer’s use of the basic features of the genre, as well as marginal questions that ask you to analyze the essay and also call your attention to particular writing strategies — such as quoting sources, using humor, providing definitions, and giving examples — that the writer used.

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