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Three Types of Conjunctions

Three Conjunction Types

Three Types of Conjunctions

Every teacher knows the wisdom of not telling the whole story, especially with respect to holiday celebrations. But for the purpose of this article, let’s add on conjunctions to the list of teach some of it now and save some for later instruction. Elementary teachers should teach the common conjunctions and secondary teachers should build upon that foundation with less frequently used conjunctions.

Following are brief overviews of the three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinate (subordinating), and correlative. The relevant Common Core State Standards are provided and memorable acronyms to help your students identify and apply these grammatical forms. Plus, classroom posters are provided as FREE downloads.

Elementary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

Primary and intermediate teachers face the sometimes daunting task of introducing students to coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1.G
    Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1.F
    Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.1.H
    Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.1.F
    Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.2.C
    Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.1.A
    Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.

To help students avoid writing in sentence fragments, elementary teachers often counsel their students, “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, or so (the common coordinating conjunctions),” and many teachers would throw in because or like (two subordinating conjunctions) for good measure.

Additionally, most elementary teachers teach the proper use and identification of but, or, and, or so, but not the less frequently used for, nor, and yet. This certainly makes sense.

Elementary teachers may find the BOAS acronym helpful to teach the four common but, or, and, so (boas) coordinating conjunctions:

BOAS (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Coordinating Conjunctions for Elementary School

Coordinating Conjunctions

but, or, and, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited to see the boas eat or climb the tree, but they did neither, so I left.

If teaching only the four BOAS seems a bit constricting :), elementary teachers can add in the three additional coordinating conjunctions, usually reserved for middle school.

Secondary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

By middle school, teachers amend the “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, so, because, or like“elementary rule with the addition of “unless you finish the sentence.” Even though the middle school, high school, and college permit and even encourage their developing writers to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions, when appropriate, all would caution their students to use these sentence constructions sparingly.

Plus, secondary teachers will add the three less common and more sophisticated coordinating conjunctions (for, nor, yet) and may use the helpful FANBOYS acronym to teach all seven coordinating conjunctions:

FANBOYS Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

FANBOYS (Creator Unknown)

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited for the boas to eat or climb the tree, but they did neither. They were not hungry nor active, so I left. Yet I would like to see them sometime.

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of coordinating conjunctions:

The “co” in coordinating means with in Latin. Coordinating conjunctions join with other words, phrase, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. Example: Both Juan and Stella are good writers.

Elementary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Elementary teachers may wish to teach their students the 10 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings and endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down. Leslie sat down after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Elementary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

AAAWWUBBIS (Jeff Anderson’s Acronym)

Subordinating Conjunctions AAAWWUBBIS

Subordinate Conjunctions

after, although, as, when, while, until, because, before, if, since

Secondary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Secondary teachers may wish to teach their students the 29 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings, in the middle, and the endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down, after she gave her speech in front of the class, and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Secondary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinate Conjunctions

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Bud is wise, before, unless, despite (in spite of), in order that, so, while, if, since, even though (if)

but hot! because, until, that, how, once, than

AAA after, although (though), as (as if, as long as, as though)

WWW whether, when (whenever), where (wherever)

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of subordinating conjunctions:

The “sub” in subordinating means under or below in Latin. Subordinating conjunctions begin adverbial clauses, which are under or below the connecting main (independent clause) in terms of importance or emphasis. Example: Because you listened well this morning, we will work in our groups this afternoon.

Upper Elementary and Secondary Instruction: Correlative Conjunctions (Correlative is pronounced as cor/rél/lƏ/tive.)

Teach the common correlative conjunctions:

both−and; such−that; whether−or; as−as; not−but; neither−nor; no sooner−than; either−or; as many−as; rather−than

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of correlative conjunctions:

The “cor” in correlative means to run (correr in Spanish) and “rel” indicates a relationship (in Latin). Coordinating conjunctions are word pairs which run in relationship with each other. The word pairs join parallel words, phrases, or clauses. In grammar, parallel means similar in meaning, structure, and length. Examples: Either chocolate or vanilla is fine. Both girls like chocolate, and they also like vanilla.

*****

I’m Mark Pennington, author of many popular, easy-to-teach grammar resources. Check out these three types of grammar resources: 1. the interactive notebook 2. literacy centers and 3. my traditional grade-level grammar programs.

Of the three, the interactive notebook lends itself to more individualized practice and has online links. The literacy centers involve group work. The traditional grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and high school grammar programs require direct instruction in each of the grade-level standards with mentor texts, simple sentence diagrams, and formative assessments. All grade 4–8 programs include biweekly quizzes.

All three types of grammar programs provide diagnostic assessments and targeted worksheets to help students master deficits indicated by the diagnostic grammar and mechanics assessments.

Want the poster size 11 x 17 Conjunction Posters you see in this article for your classroom? I’ll send the PDFs right away to your email.

Get the Conjunction Posters FREE Resource:

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Coordinating Conjunctions | Writing Style

Coordinating Conjunction Fragments

Coordinating Conjunctions

“My told me not to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions unless I finish them,” Peter said. “But I won’t.”

“Won’t what?” I asked. “Start sentences with coordinating conjunctions or finish them?”

“Oh… now I get it. You’re pretty clever.”

“And so I am.”

Definition and Examples

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. The seven coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered by the acronym, FANBOYS (For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So). Examples: Jack and Jill; thinking quickly; but acting slowly; She left her job early, so she would be able to clean the house before the guests arrived.

*****

Read the rules.

Frequently, teachers will tell their students not to begin their sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Teachers give this advice because many students who use these sentence beginnings often fail to complete their sentences and wind up with fragments. However, writers many begin sentences with coordinating conjunctions under the following conditions:

  • An independent clause (a subject and predicate expressing a complete thought) must follow the beginning coordinating conjunction.
  • Don’t begin too many sentences in an essay with coordinating conjunctions. Sentence variety is important, so don’t overuse the same sentence structure.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the conjunctions.

  1. Byron and Jake were late, not Pedro or Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, but hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy yet loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, nor will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing and snowboarding, for these sports cost too much and take up so much of their leisure time.

Re-write the sentence to eliminate the fragment.

But do not start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction unless you finish it.

Answers

  1. Byron [and] Jake were late, not Pedro [or] Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, [but] hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy [yet] loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, [nor] will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing [and] snowboarding, [for] these sports cost too much [and] take up so much of their leisure time.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

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Standards Based Grading Rehab

Assessment-based Individualized Learning

Individualized Learning

We’ve all heard the figure of speech: “They can’t see the forest for the trees.”

We teachers tend to have the opposite issue: “We can’t see the trees for the forest.”

Teachers want to see students as individuals (and we often claim that we do so), but we have been culturally inculcated to see our students more in terms of groups. Sit in any staff room at lunch time and you’ll hear the following: “My fifth period is so low.” “My kids are so caring this year.” “My last period is out of control.” “I love my EL kids in that class.”

Now, teachers don’t really see every student as reflective of the whole, but the groups do provide a means generalization and comparison. When teachers generalize and compare, they have some notion in mind regarding the object of comparison. Such objects may include other classes, past years’ classes, “the ways we used to do things,” or often “how it was when I was a student.”

This identification of students in terms of comparative groups influences both our instructional and evaluative practices. The underlying notion of the bell curve permeates our group thinking and teacher experience tends to reinforces the notion that some of any group will really get it; some won’t get it at all; and most will sort of get it. We design our lessons, units, and tests accordingly although few would readily admit to doing so.

Teachers might say, “I teach to the middle.” “My lessons are designed to teach grade-level standards.” “My smart goals include ‘25% basic, 50% proficient, and “25% advanced.'” “This is an honors class (or remedial class) and so…” “I’ll get called into the principal if I have too many D or F grades.” “My colleagues will be upset if I give too many A‘s.” “We have common final exams, so my results (or grades) have to match those of my colleagues.” Administrative pressure, peer pressure, and “being a team player” values reinforce group think.

Our traditional ABCD, and F grading system is tied to seeing students as groups. Were teachers able to teach and grade students as individuals in terms of progress toward content and skill standards, a considerable amount of rehab would need to take place. A 12 step program to change the way we teach and evaluate students might look like this:

The 12 Steps of Standards-based Grading Rehab

1. We admitted we were powerless over group think, generalizations, and arbitrary comparisons—that our instruction and evaluation had become unmanageable, ineffective, irrelevant, inaccurate, and ethically questionable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, that is the belief in the value of the individual.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our teaching over to God and standards assessment-based individualized instruction.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and admitted that we don’t know everything and that we are not perfect teachers with no room for improvement.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our educational malpractice.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our professional practice and be willing to change long-established and cherished beliefs and practice.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all: to students, to parents, to colleagues, to administrators, and to our profession.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other teachers and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Principles Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing
(now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)

*****

Mark Pennington is an educational author and re-thinker of his own teaching practice. Mark’s assessment-based individualized learning, featuring diagnostic and formative assessments is included in his grades 4–8 ELA and reading intervention programs found at www.penningtonpublishing.comCheck out and use these sample diagnostic assessments to individualize and differentiate your instruction and evaluation:

Get the The Pets Fluency Assessment FREE Resource:

Get the Vowel Sounds Phonics Assessment with Audio File and Matrix FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Grammar and Usage Assessment with Recording Matrix FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Mechanics Assessment with Recording Matrix FREE Resource:

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Similes | Essay Writing Rules

Essay Rules and Similes

Similes and Essay Rules

Sandra said, “I’m trying to add some spice to my essay by adding similes. I know a simile uses like or as. Let me read two of them that might work in my conclusion: ‘He did not like being wrong, and as an inexperienced cook, he was often corrected by veteran chefs.’”

“Similes need to compare unlike objects, such as ‘Rafael was as sour as a lemon.’ Your sentence doesn’t use like or as to compare, so they aren’t similes,” corrected Mark. “However, you shouldn’t include poetic devices, such as similes, in essays, so your sentence is fine.”

“So, I was wrong, but I was also right,” said Sandra.

Definition and Examples

A simile compares two unlike things and is often introduced by like or as. However, not every usage of like or as signals a simile. Examples: His voice was like the roar of a lion. “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree” (Joyce Kilmer). A simile is a figure of speech in which the words are not meant literally. Similes are commonly used in poetry, speeches, songs, and in literature.

Read the rule.

Don’t use similes or other figures of speech in formal writing, such as essays. If comparisons are used to provide better understanding or analysis, the objects of comparisons should be similar.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the similes.

  1. Her best friend seemed as wise as an owl, but he really was as dumb as an ox.
  2. Those roommates were like two peas in a pod. They both had the same interests, like music and video games.
  3. Anything he loses is as if he could care less about finding. Plus, he is as blind as a bat.
  4. As amazing as this price seems, an additional discount would bring in customers like wildfire.
  5. Like a cold drink to a thirsty man, so is a good book to a reader. True readers are like ships in a storm, never finding rest in a safe harbor.

Revise the sentence to eliminate the simile and provide a like comparison.

Avoid similes like the plague.

Answers

  1. Her best friend seemed [as wise as an owl], but he really was [as dumb as an ox].
  2. Those roommates were [like two peas in a pod]. They both had the same interests, like music and video games.
  3. Anything he loses is as if he could care less about finding. Plus, he is [as blind as a bat].
  4. As amazing as this price seems, an additional discount would bring in customers [like wildfire].
  5. Like a cold drink to a thirsty man, so is a good book to a reader. True readers are [like ships in a storm], never finding rest in a safe harbor.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

 

Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , ,

Split Infinitives

To Split Infinitives

Split Infinitives

“Hey, James, Mr. Pomeroy is wrong about splitting infinitives! To occasionally split an infinitive is fine. Captain Kirk splits an infinitive when he states the mission of the Starship Enterprise at the beginning of each Star Trek episode.

“You’re talking about ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’ where ‘boldly’ is placed between the two words of the infinitive, to go. That’s not Captain Kirk’s only grammatical mistake. Saying ‘man’ excludes both women and alien beings. He also ends the sentence with a preposition: ‘before.’ We should report him to Star Fleet Command.”

Definition and Examples

An infinitive usually consists of to plus the base form of the verb. Examples: to run, to hide

This infinitive form does not indicate past, present, or future verb tense and does not connect to the subject of the sentence. Example: Joseph liked to go to the mall. “Joseph” is the subject and “liked” is the predicate. The infinitive “to go” serves as a modifier of the verb, “liked,” but does not signal past, present, or future action.

A split infinitive occurs when the speaker or writer inserts one or more words between the to and the base form of the verb. Examples: To never walk is his goal. She wants to someday soon ski.

Read the rules.

  • Splitting infinitives is fine in casual conversation and in informal writing; however, avoid adding more than one word between the to and the base form of the verb.
  • Avoid using split infinitives in formal writing, such as in essays.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the split infinitives in the following sentences.

  1. To seriously ask the question of the comic was his choice, alone.
  2. Zoe wished to always be considered the expert, and she hoped to soon achieve her goal.
  3. Why do you need to completely and totally abandon the plan to somehow defend your honor?
  4. I did not expect to have to willingly go when I would have rather stayed at home.
  5. Listening to music makes me happy to be alive and to often visit my friends.

Revise the split infinitive.

It is a mistake to ever split an infinitive.

Answers

  1. [To seriously ask] the question of the comic was his choice, alone.
  2. Zoe wished [to always be] considered the expert, and she hoped [to soon achieve] her goal.
  3. Why do you need [to completely and totally abandon] the plan [to somehow defend] your honor?
  4. I did not expect to have [to willingly go] when I would have rather stayed at home.
  5. Listening to music makes me happy to be alive and [to often visit my friends].

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prepositions | Writing Style Rules

How to Use Prepositions

Prepositions Writing Style Rules

Jenna remarked, “I read in my history textbook that someone named Sir Winston Churchill got upset when an editor revised one of his sentences to avoid ending it in a preposition.”

“Yes,” responded Jenna’s English teacher. “Churchill said, ‘This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.’”

“That’s awkward. If Churchill ended sentences with prepositions, why can’t I?”

“When you write as many books as Churchill, you may write what you want, but not until.”

Definition and Examples

preposition is a word that shows some relationship or position between the preposition and its object (a noun or a pronoun). The preposition is always part of a phrase and comes before its object. The preposition asks “What?” or “Whom?” and the object provides the answer.

Examples: He found it under the house. He found it under what? the house

Secrets were shared between friends (them). Secrets were shared between whom? friends (them)

Read the rules.

  • In formal writing, such as essays, prepositions and prepositional phrases never stand on their own. They always modify other words in the sentence, so Keep prepositional phrases close to the words they modify. Prepositional phrases act as adjectives to answer How Many? Which One? or What Kind? of a noun or pronoun or as adverbs to answer How? When? Where? or What Degree? of a verb, adjective, or another adverb.
  • Avoid stringing together more than two prepositional phrases.
  • Don’t use prepositional phrases instead of possessive adjectives.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] misused prepositions and prepositional phrases.

  1. “Who will you go to?” she asked.
  2. Down the road, through the gate, and past the fence rode the bicyclist.
  3. I don’t know where you’re at.
  4. Would you please hand me the coat of Sue.
  5. The lady found my dog in a blue dress.

Revise the intentional fragment.

Prepositions are not good to end sentences with.

Answers

  1. “Who will you go [to]?” she asked.
  2. Down the road, through the gate, and [past the fence] rode the bicyclist. This sentence has one too many prepositional phrase strings.
  3. I don’t know where you’re [at].
  4. Would you please hand me the coat [of Sue]. Don’t use prepositional phrases instead of possessive adjectives, such as “Sue’s coat.”
  5. The lady found my dog in a [blue dress]. Keep prepositional phrases close to the words they modify.

Check out this more detailed article, “How to Teach Prepositional Phrases,” to find out when to use to, in, and of.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Useless Adjectives and Adverbs

Eliminate Writing Crutches

Eliminate Adjective and Adverb Crutches

“‘The amazing author profoundly utilizes many symbols to creatively symbolize his very meaningful ideas.’ What do you think of my concluding statement?”

“You sure use plenty of words to say what you mean, Marci.”

“I do try. My English teacher says that I’m in love with adjectives and adverbs. They are my most favorite and often-used parts of speech.”

Definition and Examples

Writers often use adjectives to make general nouns more interesting or specific. However, readers prefer writing with well-chosen, specific nouns. Example: Instead of absolutely, positively necessary, the writer might say essential. Also, writers may include useless adverbs when more concrete and specific verbs would serve better. Examples: Instead of the runner ran incredibly quickly, the writer might say the runner sprinted.

Read the rules.

  • Writers should avoid using adjectives to make general nouns (people, places, things, or ideas) more interesting or specific. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and asks, “How Many, Which One, or What Kind?”
  • Writers should avoid using useless adverbs. An adverb modifies an adjective, adverb, or verb and asks, “What Degree, How, Where, or When?”

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the useless adjectives and adverbs.

  1. The huge sumo-wrestler entered the arena slowly to face his fighting opponent.
  2. The well-trained and experienced navy pilot took off quickly and rapidly from the large aircraft carrier.
  3. Meteorologists carefully studied the devastating impact of the swirling tornado.
  4. He gently sifted the tiny grains of sand through his fingers into the bucket.
  5. Sad mourners attended the funeral service and later after the service witnessed the burial.

Revise the sentence to eliminate useless adjectives and adverbs.

Avoid using very interesting, nice words that contribute little to a sentence.

Answers

  1. The [huge] sumo-wrestler entered the arena [slowly] to face his [fighting] opponent.
  2. The [well-trained and experienced] navy pilot took off [quickly and rapidly] from the [large] aircraft carrier.
  3. Meteorologists [carefully] studied the [devastating] impact of the [swirling] tornado.
  4. He [gently] sifted the [tiny] grains of sand through his fingers into the bucket.
  5. [Sad] mourners attended the funeral service and later [after the service] witnessed the burial.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Generalize: Get Specific

Use Specific Details and Evidence

Avoid Generalizations

“Where do you want to go to lunch? Carlos asked.

“Wherever there’s food to eat and something to drink,” said Ella.

“Could you be a bit more specific? I’d like to narrow my search terms.”

“How about ‘Italian restaurants with deep-dish pizza and red and white checkered tablecloths’?”

“That might be a little too specific, but it sounds good to me.”

Definition and Examples

The hierarchy of an essay refers to the organizational structure and the relationship of ideas within that structure. The most common essay hierarchy is the general to specific organizational pattern. Ideas, groups, and patterns are general. Facts, examples, quotations, details, and statistics are specific. Examples of the General to Specific Organizational Pattern: Substance abuse has become the leading cause of preventable deaths. Last year, opioid deaths surpassed automobile deaths. More than 80,000 Americans died due to opioid overdoses.

Read the rule.

Essays usually begin with general statements and funnel down into a specific thesis statement. A narrow focus is much easier to argue, inform, or explain than a general one. Topic sentences should provide specific reasons to support the thesis statement in an argumentative essay or include specific information or explanation about the thesis statement in an informational/explanatory essay. Supporting evidence, analysis, and minor details must be even more specific. Your teacher may comment “too general” or “be specific” in your body paragraphs. The essay conclusion may return to more general applications of the proven thesis.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the writer and essay references.

  1. Some people need to understand the issues in this world.
  2. Poisons in our waterways threaten our way of life.
  3. Many solutions create more problems than they solve.
  4. Overall, the citizens were basically happy.
  5. All challenges can be overcome with everyone’s support.

Revise the “too general” sentence to eliminate the writer or essay references.

Generally be sport of specific in your writing.

Answers

  1. [Some people] need to understand the [issues] in this [world].
  2. [Poisons] in our [waterways] threaten our [way of life].
  3. Many [solutions] create more [problems] than they solve.
  4. [Overall], the [citizens] were [basically] happy.
  5. [All challenges] can be overcome with [everyone’s support].

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

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