Notes on 6/30, 7/7 classes

As I have mentioned, my last class with you will be this Tuesday (6/23).

On 6/30 and 7/7 your substitute teacher will be Ruchika Popli. Attendance to these classes is mandatory, and Prof. Popli will be taking roll. The following is a brief guide for the content of the last two classes.


This is the last day of workshopping. At this point in the process, your general argument, essay structure, and sources should all be resolved. This particular class will be dedicated to close editing of language.  Print out three copies of your essay. Form groups of three in class. Taking turns, edit each others work. This is your last chance to get language issues cleared up, so grade each other’s work bravely. Don’t be afraid to point out errors in word choice and problems with grammar. Mark them up with pen!

  • During the writing process, consult my edits of your first paper. This will give you a clear idea of the exact language points to be careful about.
  • I grade language errors vigorously, so be sure to clean up your copy.


Students will take turns giving short (around 3 minute) oral presentations on their work.

  • Delivery must be fluent and professional.
  • In order to facilitate presentations, students are encouraged to prepare brief notes on the major points of their essays, their findings in research, and conclusions.
  • This assignment will be graded, so do give it some thought.
  • Prof. Popli may have additional points to say about the presentations when she teaches on 6/30.

Assignment for 6/30. Second Draft

After the intense workshopping of 6/16, the rhetoric of your next draft should be improved greatly. If you do not have a strong thesis and good supporting paragraphs by 6/30 then your paper will be in serious trouble.

This man cited sources, and he got an A.

Some papers this week were very short on sources, and relied only on opinion to support their arguments. This is not acceptable. By 6/30, all papers must be supported with at least five credible sources.

What is a credible source?  Scholarly books and articles, well-regarded encyclopedias and dictionaries, and trustworthy news sources will do. Wikipedia is forbidden, as are politically partisan news journals, corporate websites, or blogs written by people without credentials.

Instructions for working on sources:

  • Review chapter 17 of your textbook for instructions on how to manage citations in your essay.
  • Review the section on paraphrasing (pages 2-5) in  the Handbook on Acknowledging Sources. You should have this handout from class, but you can download a pdf copy here.
  • Review chapter 18 of your textbook for instructions on bibliography formats. Note the citation style for internet sources.

6/16: Rough Draft.


Your rough draft is due on 6/16

Please have around 5 pages (not including bibliography), double spaced and typed. Make sure your draft fulfills the following requirements:

  1. Clear, explicitly stated thesis. This is the foundation for a good paper. A paper without it is a failed paper.
  2. Clear supporting topic sentences. Good topic sentences are the second most important part of your paper. Every section must have a distinct signpost.
  3. Five good sources. Like your midterm paper, you should have five sources that support your argument. Double check textbook for proper formatting of your bibliography. Almost everyone needs to do this.
  4. Citations. Most students had trouble citing properly. Reread your handout on plagiarism and citations, downloadable here
  5. Language. Study the marks on your midterm paper for guidance on what language errors you personally need to keep an eye out for.

Again, pay special attention to points 1 and 2. A reader should understand almost exactly what your paper is about, just by reading the thesis and the topic sentences alone.

Print out 5 copies. For sharing in class. One copy will be turned in to me.

Assignment for 6/2

Your papers are due on Tuesday, so I want you to focus on that primarily.

In class, however, we will be doing some brainstorming sessions for the final paper, which will be an argumentative essay. So your assignment for Tuesday is this: bring five potential topics for your final paper, along with a general idea of the direction you’d like to take your argument.

This paper will be argumentative strictly speaking; that is to say you will pick a side of the argument and defend it with facts, reason and persuasive rhetoric.

For more information on argumentative essays and how to write them look here and here

Getting a Grip on Nouns: essential resources

This woman does not like dealing with nouns.
This woman does not like dealing with nouns.

Virtually all Japanese second language speakers of English have trouble with nouns. What’s the difference between “a cat” or “the cat”? What is the difference between “I like dogs” and “I like dog” (hint: you say one of these only if you like eating them). If “beer” is uncountable, why do we say “I would like a beer” at restaurants? Why do we say “President Obama,” but also “The President of the United States of America.”  If “love” is uncountable, why do we say “a mother’s love”?

I know, it’s a mess.

Fortunately for you, here is a useful resource for figuring out how to find articles for nouns.

For you cheaters, here is a simple web-based flowchart that provides the answer for you.