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HOW

GREAT ESSAYS

TO

WRITE

HOW

GREAT ESSAYS
Lauren Starkey

TO

WRITE

®

NEW YORK

Copyright © 2004 LearningExpress All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Learning Express, LLC, New York. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Starkey, Lauren B., 1962– How to write great essays /Lauren Starkey. —1st ed. p. cm. ISBN 1-57685-521-X 1. English language—Rhetoric—Problems, exercises, etc. 2. Essay—Authorship—Problems, exercises, etc. 3. Report writing—Problems, exercises, etc. I. Title. PE1471.S83 2004 808'.042—dc22 2004003384 Printed in the United States of America 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition ISBN 1-57685-521-X For more information or to place an order, contactLearningExpress at: 55 Broadway 8th Floor New York, NY 10006 Or visit us at: www.learnatest.com

Contents

Introduction

vii 1 11 21 39 55 67 85 97 111

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Organization Clarity Word Choice Mechanics Revising, Editing, and Proofreading Untimed Essay Writing Strategies Timed Essay Writing Strategies Sample Essay Prompts and Essays Resources

CONTENTS

HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS

v Introduction

n your preparations for college, you may find yourself facing a handful of high-stakes essays. Your college application requires at least one, and the SAT requires another. Depending upon the high school you attend, or the state you reside in, you may need to write an exit essay, or take the Regents Exam. This book includes specific strategies to help you write great essays,no matter which type you write. In contrast to basic writing guides that contain plenty of information you don’t need, How to Write Great Essays focuses on the topics most important to you now. You won’t find a comprehensive guide to mechanics, but instead you will get short but thorough lessons on the most common errors made in grammar, spelling, usage, and how to prevent and correct these errors.Every chapter is designed to relate directly to your essay, giving you the knowledge and the know-how you need to succeed. The book is divided into seven chapters, with the first five covering different aspects of the writing process:

I

Introduction

HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS

vii

viii

HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS

Introduction

Chapter 1 shows you how to organize your thoughtsand ideas before you begin writing, with techniques such as freewriting, brainstorming, and outlining.You will even learn why it’s important to read good writing while preparing your essay.

Chapter 2 is about saying exactly what you mean by avoiding ambiguous language, using modifiers, eliminating unnecessary words and phrases, and using the active voice whenever possible.

Chapter 3 examinesword choice and how it can accurately convey your ideas. It explains the most common misused and confused words, denotation versus connotation, and inclusive language. Important advice about the use of spell checking software is also included.

Chapter 4 teaches the most common mechanical errors so you can eliminate them from your writing. Troublesome parts of speech, issues such as noun-verbagreement, and punctuation problems are explained.

Chapter 5 shows you how to revise, edit, and proofread your essay. You will find checklists to use during these processes, as well as tips from professional editors. The use of word-processing programs to help with editing is also covered. The last three chapters of How to Write Great Essays will arm you with specific strategies for writing bothtimed (SAT, GED) and untimed (college application, exit) essays. Chapter 6 covers issues such as long-range planning, prewriting, and understanding the topics. Tips on writing to your audience and striking a balance between formality and informality are also explained.

Chapter 7 shows you how to prepare for timed essays. Learn how to research your exam, how to familiarize yourself with...
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