Study Guide

English Composition By

Robert G. Turner, Jr., Ph.D.

About the Author

Robert G. Turner, Jr., holds a B.S. in business and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in sociology. He has more than 20 years of teaching experience, mainly at the college level, and is currently serving as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. Dr. Turner is primarily employed as a professional freelance writer. His literary credits include two stage plays, two novels, and two nonfiction works, along with an array of publications in academic and educational venues.

Copyright © 2012 by Penn Foster, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Printed in the United States of America


All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.


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INTRODUCTION Welcome to your course in English Composition. You may be surprised to find out that, even now, you’re already a writer. You’ve probably done a great deal of writing as a student and perhaps in other roles, as well. Maybe you’ve kept a diary, tried your hand at poetry, or written a short story. Maybe you have a job or a voluntary position that requires records, reports, or case notes. Even if you’ve never thought of such activities as writing experience, they are.

Thus, this course is designed not to make you a writer but to encourage your growth as one. Both the textbook and the instructors will guide you in developing the skills and tech- niques of effective writing through practice. You’ll learn to make conscious decisions using particular tools to communicate more effectively and efficiently to your reader.

OBJECTIVES You’ll learn to apply different writing strategies in varying arrangements to explore, develop, and refine written work according to your purpose and audience.

When you complete this course, you’ll be able to

n Produce high-quality academic papers in various modes

n Gather and organize thoughts

n Explore and narrow essay ideas using various prewriting techniques

n Synthesize the components of an essay so that the prewriting transforms into a logical pattern

n Apply established writing techniques in an interesting and logical style appropriate for your audience and purpose

n Apply the conventions of standard written American English while editing your writing

n Use critical-reading strategies to evaluate the content and organization of your writing

n Appropriately use different sources of evidence


Your primary text for this course is Successful College Writing, Brief Fifth Edition, by Kathleen T. McWhorter. Begin reviewing the text by reading the table of contents on pages xxiii–xxxix. Thereafter, follow the study guide for directions on what to read and when to read it. Note the following features of your text:

n The “To the Student” section starting on page xlv provides important tips on how to use the text.

n The “Quick Start” features at the beginning of each chapter are relatively short and are designed to help you get a head start on the material. Make sure you work through the exercises, even though they won’t be formally evaluated.

n Note the organization within the chapters. The major headings and subheadings break down each chapter’s content into manageable sections. Also, note that exercises and illustrative writing are important parts of every chapter.

n Your text includes a complete guide to documenting sources in MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) styles, beginning on page 640 in Chapter 23.


Your grammar supplement for this course is The Little, Brown Essential Handbook, by Jane E. Aaron. Begin reviewing the handbook by reviewing the brief contents inside the front cover and the preface on pages v–viii. Thereafter, follow the study guide for directions on what to read and when to read it. Please note the following features of your grammar handbook:

n Your course assignments don’t begin in the beginning of the book. You jump to a late part for a review of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. You’ll be using the earlier parts of the handbook later in the course.

Instructions to Students2

n Note the organization of the handbook. The parts are divided by colors, and each initial page of a color lists what can be found within that part of the book.

n Near the back of the handbook is a glossary of usage, which provides notes on common words and phrases that often cause problems. There’s also a glossary of terms, which defines the main terms and concepts of English grammar. These can both be helpful when you’re working through the writing process.

Please also note that the index listings that refer to the glossaries of the Little, Brown Essential Handbook are incorrect. If you need to use the glossary, remember that any page number in the index that refers to page 239 or later is off by 32 pages. For example,

Absolute phrases comma with, 87 defined, 87, 249

In this example from the index, the references to page 87 are correct. However, the definition that’s listed to be on page 249 is actually on page 281. (249 + 32 = 281)

ONLINE SUPPLEMENTS There are three online supplements for this course. They will help you gain a better understanding of the material and prepare you for the objective exams. The supplements can be found on your My Courses page under English Composition. Be sure to review the supplements before completing the first objective exam, because material from the supplements will be tested on this and other exams. These supplements are

n The Parts of Speech

n Word Usage

n Sentence Skills

Instructions to Students 3

COURSE MATERIALS This course includes the following materials:

1. This study guide, which contains an introduction to your course, plus

n A lesson assignments page with a schedule of study assignments

n Assignment lessons emphasizing the main points in the textbook, including the text’s grammar handbook

n Self-checks and answers to help you assess your understanding of the material

2. Your course textbook, Successful College Writing, which contains the assigned reading material

3. A grammar supplement, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook

4. Online supplements, The Parts of Speech, World Usage, and Sentence Skills, which contain assigned reading, in addition to that of the textbook


Read this study guide carefully, and think of it as a blueprint for your course. Using the following procedures should help you receive maximum benefit from your studies:

1. Read the lesson in the study guide to introduce you to concepts that are discussed in the textbook and gram- mar supplement. The lesson emphasizes the important material and provides additional tips or examples.

2. Note the pages for each reading assignment. Read the assignment to get a general idea of its content. Then, study the assignment. Pay attention to all details, especially the main concepts.

Instructions to Students4

Instructions to Students

3. To review the material, answer the questions and problems provided in the self-checks in the study guide.

4. After answering the questions, check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement, which you can access on your My Courses page.

5. Complete each assignment in this way. If you miss any questions, review the pages of the textbook or grammar supplement covering those questions. The self-checks are designed to allow you to evaluate your understanding of the material and reveal weak points that you need to review. Do not submit self-check answers for grading.

6. After you’ve completed and corrected the self-checks for Lesson 1, complete the first exam.

7. Follow this procedure for all nine lessons. At any time, you can contact your instructor by e-mail or telephone for information regarding the materials.


Study pace. You have a study time limit for the semester, but not one specific to English Composition. You must pace yourself wisely through the semester’s courses. Allow sufficient time for reading, prewriting, drafting, revising, and grading. Generally, you should allot at least two weeks for each English lesson, with some taking longer than that, and you must complete each exam in order.


Remember to regularly check “My Courses” on your student homepage. Your instructor may post additional resources that you can access to enhance your learning experience. And of course, you always have access to the school’s library from your homepage using the links Student Library or Library Services. The Subject Guides, Reference Room, and Guidebook areas contain additional writing resources.

Instructions to Students

Because the course goal is to help you grow as a writer by using your strengths and improving weaknesses with each assignment, don’t submit the essays for Lessons 5 and 7 until you receive the previous lesson’s evaluation. You should, however, move ahead to work on the next lessons while waiting for an exam evaluation. (If you have other courses available for study, you may work on those and submit those exams while also working to complete this English course.)

Exam submissions. Use the following information for submitting your completed exams:

1. Multiple-choice examinations (Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 9): You’ll submit your answers for these exams online.

2. Written examinations (Lessons 4–8 and the final exam): Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the document. Each page must have a prop- erly formatted header containing your name, student number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address, as in the following example.

Jane Doe 23456789 05017700 Page 2 987 Nice Street My Town, AZ 34567 janedoe@yahoo.com

Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson number, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type: Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

You should take care to check that the document you’ve uploaded is the one containing your final work for evaluation. To submit by regular postal mail, send your documents to

Penn Foster Student Service Center 925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515-0001

When it’s received, your written work will be coded as RCD with the date received. To receive e-mailed notification for an evaluated essay, you must type your e-mail address accurately and add edserv@pennfoster.edu to the accepted senders list in your e-mail browser.


The Penn Foster Student Service Center is under contract with Penn Foster College.

Instructions to Students 7

Evaluation. Evaluation usually occurs within seven business days of receipt (from the RCD date code). Exams are scored according to the parameters of the exam assignment using the associated evaluation chart, located in the study guide. Your instructors will apply the grading criteria, ensuring all essays are evaluated in the same way. They may also include feedback on both the essay and the evaluation chart. Evaluations are monitored by the department chairs of both the General Education Department and Exam Control Department to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Retakes. You’re required to complete all assigned work, including a retake for any first-time failing attempt. The eval- uation of any first-time failing exam for English Composition will include a Required Retake form. That form must then be included with your retake exam submission to ensure proper handling. If the assigned work isn’t provided, submissions will be evaluated according to the criteria, but points will be deducted for not following the instructions. Please review school policy about retakes in the Student Handbook.

Journal entries. Your journal is an ongoing assignment that will be evaluated at the end of the course. It will count as your final exam.

Plagiarism. Carefully review the academic policies outlined in your Student Handbook. The first submission that departs from this policy earns a grade of 1 percent. If it’s a first-time submission, the student may retake the exam (as per retake procedures). A second such submission on any subsequent exam results in failure of the English Composition course.

Grammar and mechanics. The focus of this course is to engage you in the writing process so you learn to make delib- erate decisions about which writing strategies will best help you accomplish your purpose for your audience.

Essay assignments require you to apply standard conventions of American English (which include correct and appropriate grammar, diction, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, and spelling. The course provides various revision exercises throughout the self-checks and lesson examinations so that you can apply these conventions during the editing and proofreading phases of your writing.

Instructions to Students8

If you don’t remember the basics of these conventions and wish to gain more skills than you’re provided through the course materials, you can investigate Internet sources like these:

n Daily Grammar http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.shtml

n Guide to Grammar and Writing, sponsored by Capital Community College Foundation http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index2.htm

n Blue Book of Grammar and Mechanics http://www.grammarbook.com/

n Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

These resources and others are also available through your student portal using the school library link Library Services. Once in the library, click the following sequence of links: Subject Guides > Humanities & Literature > Writing & Grammar > Writing Resources. Other resources are avail- able by clicking Guidebooks and Tips.

Now you’re ready to begin Lesson 1.

Good luck!

Instructions to Students 9

Course Journal

The course journal is an extremely important file you’ll maintain throughout this course. The journal consists of 15 entries that are assigned throughout your study guide. You must keep these entries in one document, just as if it were a personal diary or journal. You’ll submit that one file at the end of the course as your final exam. Worth 33 percent of your final grade, the journal takes the place of a proctored exam for the course. You won’t take a proctored exam for English Composition at the end of the semester.

Read each entry assignment carefully. Some entries are based on textbook exercises, for which the pages are given. Most entries require multiple parts for a complete entry—for instance, both prewriting and a thesis. Assignments generally include a minimum length, a range, or a general format (such as one paragraph), while some allow you to choose the length and format to accomplish the required work. The guidelines list the minimum amount of work you may produce, but you should continue writing until you complete your thoughts. As you write the entry, provide sufficient response to show your thinking process.

Keep in mind that your entries will be evaluated for their unique reflections and depth of thought, not for correct sentence or paragraph structure. Points won’t be deducted for errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, so edit your entries only so that the instructors can understand what’s written. For complete scoring information, see the Course Journal Evaluation Rubric.

Use the exam submission instructions already given, except that you should single-space your journal. Use double spacing only between entries. First, type the date, tab once (one-half inch), and type in capital boldface letters the word ENTRY, followed by the number and name of that entry. Hit Enter once, and then type in and underline the first part label followed by your writing for that part. Then, do the same for any additional parts. Use this example as a guide:

January 19, 2012—ENTRY 1: ME, A WRITER? Attitude: I enjoy writing, but I hate being graded . . . Inventory: I am a social learner, so a distance education approach may be difficult for me . . .

January 25, 2012—ENTRY 2: PREWRITING Brainstorm: Ways computers affect my life

1. Keeping in touch with friends 2. Typing papers 3. Games 4. . . . 5. . . . 6. . . . [continue listing ideas]

Instructions to Students10



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Lesson 1: Basic Grammar For: Read in the Read in The Parts

study guide: of Speech online supplement:

Assignment 1 Pages 15–17 Pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34, 38–48, 51–56, and 58–65

Read in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook:

Pages 63–76

Assignment 2 Pages 17–19 Read in the Sentence Skills online supplement:

Pages 1–5, 6–21, 25–31, 34–58, and 60–71

Read in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook:

Pages 77–81 and 85–102

Assignment 3 Pages 19–20 Read in the Word Usage online supplement:

Pages 1–13

Examination 050174 Material in Lesson 1

Lesson 2: The Reading and Writing Process For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 4 Pages 22–26 Pages xlv–li and 1–21

Assignment 5 Pages 26–29 Pages 22–43 and 44–65

Assignment 6 Pages 30–33 Pages 66–98

Assignment 7 Pages 34–37 Pages 100–121

Assignment 8 Pages 38–41 Pages 122–139

Assignment 9 Pages 42–48 Pages 140–163

Assignment 10 Pages 49–52 Pages 164–179

Examination 050175 Material in Lesson 2

Lesson Assignments12

Lesson 3: Revising and Editing For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 11 Pages 54–59 Pages 180–201

Assignment 12 Pages 60–64 Pages 202–224

Examination 050176 Material in Lesson 3

Lesson 4: Moving from Narration to Process Analysis For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 13 Pages 65–70 Pages 226–265

Assignment 14 Pages 71–75 Pages 266–303

Assignment 15 Pages 75–78 Pages 304–335

Assignment 16 Pages 79–81 Pages 336–371

Examination 05017700 Process Analysis Essay Prewriting

Lesson 5: A Process Analysis Essay

Examination 05017800 Process Analysis Essay

Lesson 6: Moving from Comparison to Classification and Division

For: Read in the Read in the Successful study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 17 Pages 96–101 Pages 372–407

Assignment 18 Pages 102–106 Pages 408–439

Examination 05017900 Classification and Division Essay Prewriting

Lesson 7: Classification and Division For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 19 Pages 111–115 Pages 440–471

Assignment 20 Pages 116–118 Pages 472–509

Examination 05018000 Classification and Division Essay

Lesson 8: Writing Arguments For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 21 Pages 124–131 Pages 512–541

Assignment 22 Pages 132–146 Pages 542–571

Examination 05018100 Argument Essay

Lesson 9: Research and MLA Citation For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 23 Pages 152–155 Pages 574–593

Assignment 24 Pages 155–158 Pages 594–619

Assignment 25 Pages 159–161 Pages 620–662

Assignment 26 Pages 161–163 Pages 716–735

Examination 050182 Material in Lesson 9

Final Examination 05018300 Course Journal

Lesson Assignments 13

Note: To access and complete any of the examinations for this study guide, click on the appropriate Take Exam icon on your “My Courses” page. You should not have to enter the examination numbers. These numbers are for reference only if you have reason to contact Student Services.

Lesson Assignments14



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Understanding basic grammar can help in all walks of life, from everyday conversation, to e-mails, to formal reports. Correct grammar can help you personally, professionally, and academically.

To become an effective writer, you must first have a strong understanding of English Composition. You should know how words are pronounced, how they’re spelled, and how they fit into sentences. Knowing the basics will enable you to be more comfortable and confident when faced with any writing task.

The main topics discussed in this section are grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word usage.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Describe the parts of speech and how they work within sentence structure

n Develop effective, structured sentences

n Use a variety of words in your writing

n Discuss the need for a strong understanding of English Composition

ASSIGNMENT 1: GRAMMAR AND THE PARTS OF SPEECH Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34, 38–48, 51–56, and 58–65 in The Parts of Speech online supplement and pages 63–76 in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Test your progress by completing the self-check.

English Composition16

This section covers the various parts of speech and how they work within the structure of a sentence.

Pages 8–14, The Parts of Speech. When we’re small children, nouns are generally the first words we learn. Any person, place, or thing is a noun. Nouns can be broken down into five cate- gories: common, proper, collective, abstract, and concrete. Understanding the various types of nouns and how they’re used in sentences can help you become a stronger writer.

Pages 18–22, The Parts of Speech, and pages 63–70, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Pronouns substitute for nouns. Like nouns, pronouns can serve many purposes in a sentence. There are six types of pronouns: personal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, and indefinite.

Pages 38–48, The Parts of Speech. Verbs express action; they tell what the subject of a sentence is doing. Depending on the action and when it’s taking place, a verb can appear in many forms, and they can be more than one word. Pay special attention to the figures that give you examples of verbs in various tenses in both singular and plural forms.

In addition, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook provides further explanation of verbs. This reading isn’t required, but it can help you gain better understanding.

Pages 26–34 and 51–56, The Parts of Speech, and pages 70–76, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns, and they can make your speaking and writing more definite. Adjectives generally help answer a question (What kind? Which one? How many? How much?), and they can indicate color, size, or shape. An adverb is generally used to modify a verb, but it can also be used to describe an adjective or other adverb. Adverbs answer other questions: How? When? Where? Why? How much? How long? To what extent? In what direction?

Pages 58–62 and 62–65, The Parts of Speech. A preposition shows the logical relationship or placement of a noun or pro- noun in relation to another word in a sentence. Many prepositions show placement, but some refer to time or a relationship between two things. A conjunction joins words, groups of words, or sentences. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subjunctive conjunctions. An interjection expresses emotion. It

Lesson 1 17

doesn’t relate to the other words within the sentence, but it’s used to add an emotional element. A sentence with an inter- jection often ends in an exclamation point.

ASSIGNMENT 2: SENTENCE SKILLS Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–5, 6–21, 25–31, 34–58, and 60–71 of the Sentence Skills online supplement and pages 77–81 and 85–102 in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Then, complete the self-check.

Self-Check 1

At the end of each section of English Composition, you’ll be asked to pause and check your understanding of what you’ve just read by completing a “self-check” exercise. Answering these questions will help you review what you’ve studied so far. Please complete Self-Check 1 now.

1. Complete Practice Exercise 2 on pages 16–17 of The Parts of Speech.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 3 on pages 23–25 of The Parts of Speech.

3. Complete Practice Exercise 4, items 1–35, on pages 35–37 of The Parts of Speech.

4. Complete English in Action 6 on page 47 of The Parts of Speech.

5. Complete English in Action 7 on page 56 of The Parts of Speech.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 7, items 1–14, on page 61 of The Parts of Speech.

7. Complete Practice Exercise 8 on pages 66–67 of The Parts of Speech.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition18

This section covers how to effectively structure and develop sentences.

Pages 1–5, Sentence Skills. A sentence is a group of words combined in an organized manner to convey meaning or a message. Understanding what a sentence is, and the different patterns of sentences, can help you become a better reader and writer.

Pages 6–21, Sentence Skills. When writing sentences, you can combine groups of words to convey a single meaning. These groups of words can take on a function in a sentence, and they can act as a particular part of speech. If the group of words has a subject and a verb, it’s a clause. If the group of words does not have a subject and verb, it’s a phrase.

Pages 25–31, Sentence Skills. Now that you know the parts of speech and the roles words play within a sentence, it’s important to learn and understand how to properly structure sentences. There are three types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex.

Pages 34–43, Sentence Skills, and pages 77–81, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. People often make mistakes when writing, especially when developing a rough draft. There are four main mistakes that most writers make (and which are easy to fix): run-ons, misplaced/dangling modifiers, fragments, and mixed constructions. Understanding what these are, and knowing how to fix them, can help you become more confident when proofreading and editing your work.

Pages 44–58, Sentence Skills, and pages 85–102, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Punctuation marks help refine a sentence and give the reader signs of how to read the words. Punctuation is referred to as the traffic signals of writ- ing because they alert your reader to pause or stop. They also convey emotion or inflection. When you speak, you naturally pause where a comma would be or stop where a period would be, and our voices are always our emotions. Now that you’ve learned the different parts of speech and how they work together to structure a sentence, you’re ready to gain a stronger understanding of how to refine your writing by using punctuation.

Lesson 1 19

Pages 60–71, Sentence Skills. You know how to structure and punctuate a sentence, but you also need to know how to think in terms of sentences. How does a sentence actually come to be? Most well-written sentences are the product of thought and revision. They have a solid beginning, middle, and end, contain the correct and required parts of speech (in the correct place), and come from a place of confidence.

ASSIGNMENT 3: WORD USAGE Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–13 of the online supplement Word Usage. Then, complete the self-check.

This section covers how to understand the meaning of words and use them effectively in your writing.

Self-Check 2

1. Complete Practice Exercise 1 on pages 5–6 of Sentence Skills.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 2, items 1–16 and 39–61 on pages 21–24 of Sentence Skills.

3. Complete English in Action 3 on page 32 of Sentence Skills.

4. Complete Practice Exercise 4 on pages 43–44 of Sentence Skills.

5. Complete Practice Exercise 5 on pages 58–60 of Sentence Skills.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 6 on pages 72–73 of Sentence Skills.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

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