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Now let’s apply the 7 steps to three examples.

 

Example 1: Comparison – Contrast Essay

 

Prompt: “A new custom home is a much better purchase than an older, run-down home.”

 

  • Step 1 – Understanding the Issue

 

  • What does the statement mean? If you are in the market to buy a house, a new home would be a better value.
  • What is the issue at hand? What kind of home is the best to buy?
  • What is implied by the statement? That one who purchases an old home is not making a wise choice. Also implied is that an older home is run-down.
  • What is the writer’s stand on the issue? He believes a new home is superior to an old one.
  • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position? Old houses are run-down, new homes can be custom built.

 

 

  • Step 2 – Choosing My Pattern of Development

    This prompt requires me to employ the Comparison – Contrast pattern of development because the statement uses the word “than,” a contrasting word. Moreover, the author is trying to convince me that it is better to buy a new home than an old one.

 

  • Step 3 – Developing My Thesis

    THESIS FOR COMPARISON – CONTRAST ESSAY (formula 1-1):

    I believe that Item A, an old home, is better than Item B, a new home, because

    1) an old home exemplifies old-style motifs that are unique in today’s market, 2) foundations are stronger in older homes, 3) can remodel an old home in any way.

 

  • Step 4 – Understanding Counter Argument

    COMPARISON – CONTRAST COUNTER CLAIM (formula 2-1):

    Others may think Item B is better than Item A because 1) you can “keep up with the Joneses” with your modern decor, 2) new homes may be built quickly for easy occupancy, 3) new homes can be custom-built.
    (Note that these three points should contrast directly with the three points of your thesis. (see formula 1-1))

 

 

  • Step 5 – Organizing My Thoughts

    COMPARISON – CONTRAST ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-1):

    I. Introduction – Paragraph 1 
    A. Some people feel that the purchase of a new home is a smarter investment choice than the purchase of an older home. 
    B. For anyone who puts stock in the aged and unique, the traditional home may be the choice of a lifetime with its old-fashioned
    motifs, its strong foundations, and its versatility to become the house its owner designs.

    II. Support – Paragraph 2 
    A. keeping up with the Joneses – modern decor 
    B. bring back old-time motifs

    III. Support – Paragraph 3

    A. Homes can be built quicker 
    B. As a result, foundations not as strong in new homes

    IV. Support – Paragraph 4 
    A. Custom-built

    B. Can remodel any way owner wants

    V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5 
    A. Modern homes just don’t offer the old-fashioned charm an older well-built, unique home can offer. 
    B. When it comes to such an important decision as purchasing a home, the choice is clear: an older home has much more to offer and will last for many years to come.

    1. More choices – can choose from different time periods
    2. More unique versus “cookie cutter” homes of today
    3. Mass production of homes – builder doesn’t establish good foundation
    4. Older homes in better condition over long period of time because built more solidly
    5. No allowance restrictions placed on owner by builder

 

  • Step 6 – Writing My Essay

    Modern-day housing developments are springing up everywhere, dotting hills and filling in every open space available. Characterized by “cookie cutter” homes, houses all cut from the same mold, the look of these communities lacks distinctiveness. For anyone who puts stock in the aged and unique rather than the new and ordinary, the traditional house may be the choice of a lifetime with its old-fashioned motifs, its strong foundations, and its versatility to become the home of its owner’s design.

    Many homeowners do not feel the need to be the designer behind their home. Rather, they strive to “keep up with the Joneses” by filling their houses with the same modern decor that fills the homes of their neighbors. On the flip side, when seeking to invest in a traditional home, the buyer has a plethora of options because older homes offer so much uniqueness. This uniqueness can be seen in the motifs of style, which are almost non-existent in today’s market of prefabricated homes but are powerful reminders of days gone by in older structures. These are the structures that offer a homeowner an admirable individuality.

    Clearly, modern-day homes, which lack individuality, are built more quickly than homes of the past, a fact that seems to fit today’s hurried society. But what does a homeowner have to show for this efficiency years down the road? There is much value added to a home constructed by a builder who takes time and pays attention to detail instead of putting up as many homes as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. For example, in the past when builders did take extra time and care, the foundations and overall structures were, and still are, much stronger. This is because many builders today, eager to make a quick buck, do not give homes ample time to “settle” on their foundation before continuing with the construction. Overall, older houses are in better condition, even over the course of time, because they were more solidly built.

    Many prospective buyers today overlook the quality of a home’s structure and are compelled to purchase by the alluring idea of “custom building” their house. These homebuyers enjoy the process of choosing paint colors, fixtures and floor coverings. Consider an older home, however. Here the possibilities are endless, and traditional buyers may even negotiate remodeling into the price of the house. What is more, there are no spending restrictions which contemporary builders often impose on their buyers.
    Spending restrictions represent just one of many ways that freedom is limited when purchasing a new home instead of an older home. Whether one prefers an elegant, plantation-style mansion or a peaceful, rustic country getaway, the distinctive older home has much more to offer than the commonplace modern home set in communities of houses that all look the same. Simply put, it comes down to whether the prospective buyer is willing to trade quality and originality for expediency.

 

  • Step 7 – Revising My Essay

    When critiquing other essays, you often learn a lot about the strengths and weaknesses in your own writing. So here’s an assignment: Let’s take our revision questions; your job is to complete the task required for each question.

    • Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employed to make the introduction interesting?
    • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
    • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
    • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
    • Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
    • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
    • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay.
    • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?

Example 2: Cause – Effect Essay

Prompt: “Students should not be required to take courses outside their field of study.”

 

  • Step 1 – Understanding the Issue
    • What does the statement mean? Colleges should not make students take courses, like General Education courses, if they do not pertain to their area of study.
    • What is the issue at hand? Whether or not students benefit from taking college courses that don’t pertain to their major.
    • What is implied by the statement? That a student will be adequately prepared for the “real world” without taking a wide range of classes.
    • What is the writer’s stand on the issue? That students should not be required to take these classes.
    • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position? The writer does not give any evidence to support his view.

 

  • Step 2 – Choosing My Pattern of Development

    This prompt is a “call for action” statement, and, although no effect is discussed, the writer implies that his recommended course of action would result in a positive effect.

 

  • Step 3 – Developing My Thesis

    THESIS FOR CAUSE-EFFECT ESSAY (formula 1-2):

    If students are not required to take courses outside their field of study, then they will not be prepared, because 1) they will be ill-prepared if they fail to get a job in their field, 2) they will be lacking in important skills – communication or thinking/reasoning skills, 3) they will be close-minded and ignorant to things happening in the world around them.

 

  • Step 4 – Understanding Counter Argument

    CAUSE – EFFECT COUNTER CLAIM (formula 2-2):

    Some may feel that requiring students to take courses only in their field of study would cause students to be more knowledgeable in their field because they would have more thoroughly studied this area.
    (Note that this point should contrast directly with point #1 of your thesis. (see formula 1-2))

 

  • Step 5 – Organizing My Thoughts

CAUSE - EFFECT ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-2):

 

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

A.Some feel students should not be required to take courses outside their field of study.

B. If students are not required to take courses outside their field of study, they will be ill-prepared should they fail to get a job in their field, they will lack important skills, and they will be closeminded and ignorant to things happening in the world around them.

 

II. Support – Paragraph 2

A. Some may feel that requiring students to take courses only in their field of study would cause students to be more knowledgeable in their field because they would have more thoroughly studied this area.
B. Many people are unable to get a job in their field after they graduate.

1. Without some knowledge of other fields, these highly trained people will be stuck working menial jobs.

 

III. They will be lacking in important skills.

A. Students studying the sciences will lack communication skills.

B. Students studying the arts will lack critical thinking and reasoning skills.

 

IV. They will be close-minded and ignorant of things happening in the world around them.

A. Lack of familiarity with certain fields promotes disinterest in these topics as they pertain to current events (politics, scientific research).

B. This disinterest promotes apathy in participating in or supporting causes that result from these current events.

 

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

A. Students must take a well-rounded schedule of classes in order to be prepared for work outside their field and so they will have adequate skills to use toward a common interest in society

B. Students should welcome an opportunity to learn about all areas of study.

 

  • Step 6 – Writing My Essay

    Colleges and universities require students, regardless of their majors, to complete General Education courses, basic courses that cover general subject areas. These classes include basic literature and writing courses, basic science and math courses, and basic arts classes like music and drama. Some feel students should not be required to take these General Education classes. However, if students are not required to take courses outside their major, they will be ill-prepared should they fail to get a job in their field, they will lack important skills, and they will be close-minded and ignorant of things happening in the world around them.

    Many opponents of General Education classes are themselves unaware of the advantages of a wellrounded education. They focus only on the theory that students will be more fully prepared to enter their field as a result of more extensive study in their area. What they fail to see, however, is that many graduates are not able to find jobs in their field of expertise. So, without a broad range of knowledge, these highly trained graduates would be stuck in menial jobs.

    Even if graduates do get jobs within their field, such a wide range of skills are required in the workplace in order to be successful that, without a diverse educational background, a graduate will not be fully competent in any job. For example, when a graduate begins looking for a job, she will discover that excellent communication skills are invaluable in the workplace, both in dealing with customers and with colleagues. Without some base of communication knowledge, such as a student would receive in a basic English class, the candidate will be overlooked for someone who does show strength in communication. Moreover, most jobs require strong problem-solving skills, skills that develop from learning how to think and reason critically. These skills are reinforced in math and science classes.

    Lack of familiarity in certain educational arenas, like math and science, results in a provincial attitude. This lack of familiarity leads to disinterest in the areas where a student has not gained knowledge. Likewise, this disinterest leads to apathy in participating or supporting any causes that are linked to these fields of study. For example, a student who has not studied science will be indifferent to scientific ideas, ideas which could become theories and could help all of mankind. A student who does not study politics and government will likely be apathetic toward participating in important political events such as elections.

    It is important that a country’s citizens take part in supporting causes and concepts that generate a common interest in society. Without a well-rounded schedule of classes in college, however, the citizen base will soon be filled with people who are unprepared and indifferent to anything that does not directly pertain to their area of interest. Instead of complaining about an opportunity to gain a broad range of knowledge, students should consider it a privilege and an asset.

 

  • Step 7 – Revising My Essay

    Read over the essay above and then answer the following questions.

    • Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employed to make the introduction interesting?
    • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
    • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
    • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
    • Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
    • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
    • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay.
    • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?

Example 3: Definition Essay

Prompt: “The positive effects of competition in a society far outweigh the negative effects.”

 

 

  • Step 1 – Understanding the Issue
    • What does the statement mean? Competition affects society in a good way, not a bad way.
    • What is the issue at hand? Whether or not competition is good for society.
    • What is implied by the statement? That a society benefits from competition amongst its members.
    • What is the writer’s stand on the issue? That competition is good and provides benefits.
    • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position? The writer does not give any evidence to support his view.

 

  • Step 2 – Choosing My Pattern of Development

Although the comparison between a society driven by competition and one where competition plays little or no role seems to hint that the Comparison-Contrast method should be used, the Definition pattern of development is a better fit because it is necessary to look at the qualities of competition that make it a positive influence rather than a negative one.

 

  • Step 3 – Developing My Thesis

THESIS FOR DEFINITION ESSAY (formula 1-3):

By definition, competition possesses these qualities: 1) gives everyone the same chance at the beginning, 2) drives people to succeed, 3) provides a way to recognize people who advance which have a positive effect because A) no one can use the excuse that they didn’t have the same opportunities; everyone has a chance to succeed, B) people want to be the best, and gives everyone their “place” in life, C) gives self-worth to those who are recognized for their accomplishments.

 

  • Step 4 – Understanding Counter Argument

DEFINITION (formula 2-3):

By definition, some may feel that competition helps only a few/pushing only a few to the top, leaving others feeling left out or insignificant which could be positive or negative
(Note that this point should contrast directly with point #1 of your thesis. (see formula 1-3))

 

  • Step 5 – Organizing My Thoughts

DEFINITION ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-3):

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

A. Competition benefits a society.

B. Everyone is given a chance to succeed in a society where competition drives people to be the best and recognizes the accomplishments of the many who advance.

II. Support – Paragraph 2

A. Some feel that competition helps only a few, leaving others feeling left out or insignificant. There is a push to eliminate salutatorian/valedictorian recognition speeches at graduation.

B. Competition gives everyone the same chance at the beginning.

1. Just like a marathon – everyone begins at the same starting line.

2. No one has an excuse – it is up to each individual to decide how to run the race. Some want to work harder than others and therefore deserve recognition.

III. Competition drives people to be their best

A. Everyone’s “best” is different.

B. Gives everyone their place in life – if no competition, we’d have a world full of custodians, no CEO’s or vice versa.

IV. With competition comes the chance to recognize winners.

A. Gives self-worth to those recognized, causing them to set even greater goals.

B. Encourages those who were not recognized to try harder so that they too may be recognized.

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

A. Competition is vital to a growing and thriving society.

B. How will you run the race? Will you strive to be the best?

 

  • Step 6 – Writing My Essay

On your mark! All the runners are at the starting line. Get set! The runners are poised, in position. Go! The runners take off. The spirit of competition is the driving force behind these runners’ desire to win. And, as an integral part of a society, competition brings many benefits. Everyone is given a chance to succeed in a society where competition drives people to be their best, and competition recognizes the accomplishments of those who advance.

Some feel that, although competition recognizes winners, there are so few winners that many are left feeling insignificant and alienated. This attitude has, for example, lead to a movement to eliminate salutatorian and valedictorian recognition and speeches at graduation ceremonies. Those in the movement claim that acknowledging salutatorian and valedictorian students for their scholastic achievements causes other students to feel slighted. This is a misguided assumption. Government gives everyone equal opportunity to attend school and to excel. Some students work harder than others and deserve special honors at graduation. Just like in a race, everyone begins at the same starting line and therefore has the same chance to succeed. Each person makes his own decision about how he will run the race. No one has an excuse, then, for not trying his best to succeed.

Competition drives people to achieve a goal. For most, this goal represents a person’s best. Since everyone’s concept of “best” is different, achievement differs for each person. Therefore, when an individual reaches his goal, this gives him a certain status. This status is different for each person, depending on the goal that was attained. This is extremely important because if competition did not place people at different positions in life, the resulting equality would be stultifying to society. For example, the work force would consist of only custodians and no CEO’s or vice versa.

CEO’s get to where they are only through competition. As an employee works hard and competes within a company, he is rewarded for his accomplishments with promotions. Not only does competition award people through tangible benefits like promotions, but competition also gives long-lasting psychological awards such as a feeling of self-worth or pride. This recognition encourages people who succeed to raise their personal goals even higher. Recognition also drives those who were not recognized to do better so that they too may be rewarded.

Because competition results in rewards, both tangible and emotional, it is essential for a growing and thriving society. Everyone begins at the same starting line and is given the same chance to succeed. When the starting gun fires, it is up to each runner to decide how he will run the race. This decision will ultimately determine who will become the winners. Driven by competition, these winners, along with the losers, comprise a successful society.

 

  • Step 7 – Revising My Essay

Read over the essay above and then answer the following questions:

  • Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employed to make the introduction interesting?
  • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
  • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
  • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
  • Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
  • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
  • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay. • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?




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