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Improving What You Write

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    Default Improving What You Write

    ReUploaded by arcadius 23.11.2016

    This book seeks to help you improve your writing quickly and thoroughly. As aids to quickness, it offers two special features:

    1. It provides a series of pre-tests to reveal which parts of the book you may skip and which you should study. Thus you spend time only on the parts that you need to learn, not on those dealing with what you already know.

    2. It provides, near the back of the book, the answers to all the tests contained in the book. You may check your own work quickly, without waiting for somebody else to grade and return your papers. Thus you may move through this book as rapidly as you wish.

    As aids to thoroughness, the book offers three other features:
    1. It presents, in four different ways, each point to be learned. First, in a pre-test, it asks questions about the point, thus arousing your interest. Second, it explains the point, giving you a general knowledge. Third, it illustrates the point, making your knowledge more precise. And finally, in a post-test, it again asks questions about the point, so that you may check your mastery of that point before moving on to the next section.
    2. As a rule, the points to be learned are arranged so that your understanding of the earlier ones will help you to understand the later ones. Thus you are not expected to learn something until you have been prepared to learn it. If you study the book from beginning to end (skipping the portions that you already know), you should not become "lost" or "get beyond your depth."
    3. Because you may immediately check your answers on most tests, your new knowledge will be quickly "reinforced"-an important aid, psychologists say, in learning.


    With all these aids for quick and thorough learning, the book should enable you to bring about a real improvement in your writing.

    How This Book Is Organized

    The book is divided into three parts. The first deals with words, one of the smallest components of writing. The second deals with sentences, a larger component. The third deals with the largest components: paragraphs and the whole composition. An appendix contains check lists which you should consult before turning compositions in.

    Each of the parts is subdivided into units. The first part, dealing with diction, has a unit on the dictionary as a source of information about words, another unit on the spelling of words, and a third unit on how to choose the most effective words.

    Likewise, the second part (sentences) has a series of units on how to build the most effective sentences, and the third part (paragraphs, etc.) has a series of units on how to construct the most effective paragraphs, etc. In all, there are nine units, each dealing with a major problem of writing or each providing information which may be needed in solving a major problem.

    The units are further subdivided into sections. Each unit contains a dozen or two sections, and each section deals with a smaller phase of the big problem covered by the unit. For instance, in the unit on punctuation there is a section on the use of the comma in a series, and in the unit on paragraphs is a section on topic sentences.

    The units are designated by Roman numerals, and the sections by Arabic numerals. Both units and sections have a system of pre-tests and post-tests, explained below. Moreover, the units have previews and reviews as aids to quick and thorough learning.

    How to Use This Book


    Each of the nine units begins with a pre-test designed to show you whether to skip or to study that unit. If you miss no answer in the pre-test, you may skip the unit; but if you miss even one answer, study the unit. In effect, a perfect score on a pre-test for a unit exempts you from the study of the unit — but only a perfect score.

    As you study a unit, read everything until you come to a pre-test at the beginning of a section, A perfect score on that pre-test will exempt you from reading that section. An imperfect score, however, should cause you to study the section and to take the post-test following the section. If you do not make a perfect score on the post-test, you should review the entire section before moving on to a new section, for an understanding of the new section may depend upon an understanding of the earlier one.

    At the end of each unit are a review and a post-test. Read the review as an additional way of reinforcing what you have learned in the unit; then, take the post-test.

    Note that the length of the blanks in the tests is no clue to the length of the word that fills it. All the blanks are the same length.

    If you use the book in the way described here, you should be able to go through it as rapidly as you are really prepared to go; and, when you have finished, you should have a thorough knowledge of what is needed to improve your writing.

    Begin now by taking the pre-test for the first unit, on page 2.

    To the Instructor


    Though this book covers the material normally found in handbooks for courses in composition, it is not a handbook. It is a teaching book. It has been designed, not merely to be consulted as a reference work while a student corrects the errors in his themes, but to teach, the student what he needs to know in order to improve his writing. (How it teaches is explained more fully in the introductory note addressed "To the Student.")

    The book may be used either as a basic text or as a supplementary text.

    If you use this book as a basic text, you may begin your assignments with any of the major parts of the book - that is, you may begin with diction, in Part I; with sentences, Part II; or with the larger units of writing, Part III. These three parts are not interdependent, with one element built upon another. Within these three parts, however, the assignments will probably be most effective if the student goes through the material in the order in which it is printed.

    Also if you use this book as a basic text, you will find that the correction chart inside the back cover will be an aid in marking papers. In addition, the check lists which comprise the Appendix and which your students should consult before turning in their papers, may aid your students in reducing the number of weaknesses in their papers.

    If you use the book as a supplementary text, your students may work their way through it, learning as they go, with a minimum of effort on your part. Because the book contains answers for all tests, the student may check his own work immediately, without any help from you. Thus you will not have to go through such time-consuming tasks as taking up papers, alphabetizing them, marking them, recording the grades, and finally returning the papers to the students.

    Experience with a preliminary mimeographed edition of the book showed, though, that the teacher should check the work of students at least every two weeks, merely to make sure that the assigned work is being done properly. This check may consist of no more than a glance at the books in the classroom to verify the fact that the student has done the pages assigned. A mere glance at the assigned pages is often enough to show whether or not the student is doing his part in the process.

    In brief, this book has been designed in an attempt to enable the teacher, as well as the student, to accomplish the most with the least expenditure of effort.





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    Last edited by arcadius; 11-23-2016 at 09:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Improving What You Write

    Dead link removed!!!

    Last edited by arcadius; 11-23-2016 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Dead links removed-arcadius

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    Default Re: Improving What You Write

    Header Updated.

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