AP English Language and Composition Classes

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Ms. Czapski’s 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th Hour Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Classes

Name: __________________________________________ Hour: ________ Date: _____________________

Introduction to Writing the Precis

DIRECTIONS: Please thoughtfully answer each of the following questions about Geoffrey Nunberg’s The –Ism Schism; How Much Wallop Can a Simple Word Pack, Ellen Goodman’s In Praise of a Snail’s Pace, and Ronald J. Glasser’s We are not Immune: Influenza, SARS, and the Collapse of Public Health. You may write directly on this worksheet.

For Geoffrey Nunberg’s The Ism Schism; How Much Wallop Can a Simple Word Pack:

1.) What is the complete name of the author of this article? _____________________

2.) Who is this author? What are his/her expertise in relation to this topic? What is his/her experience with this topic? How did he/she gain his/her knowledge to compose this article? Use a short phrase to answer this question:



3.) What is the genre of this work (what type of writing is it)? _________________________________________

4.) What is the complete title of the work? _______________________________________________________

5.) What is the publication date of this piece of writing? _____________________________________________

6.) Is any other interesting or noteworthy publication information included? If so, what? ___________________

7.) Please use a rhetorically accurate verb (such as "assert," "argue," “suggest," "imply," "claim," etc.); and a THAT clause containing the major assertion (thesis statement) about the work. Avoid the use of more general words such as "writes" and "states." The THAT clause is designed to demand a complete statement: a grammatical subject (the topic of the essay) and predicate (the claim that is made about that topic). If the THAT clause is not employed, you will end up allowing "about" and "how" to slip out in stating the thesis: i.e., "Sheridan Baker writes about attitudes in writing" or "... states how attitudes affect writing"  -- neither of which reports what he claims to be true about attitudes.




8.) Explain how the author develops and/or supports the thesis, preferably in chronological order – identifying the writing techniques he/she utilized to achieve this. Sometimes it works best to report the order of development: "The author develops this assertion first, by applying these techniques to two poems; second, by providing definitions; and third, by explaining the history of each approach." A more general statement may also work in the second sentence: "The author develops this idea by comparing and contrasting the lives of these two Civil War heroes." In works of literature you may provide a short plot summary: "Hemingway develops this idea through a sparse narrative about the 'initiation' of a young boy who observes in one night both a birth and a death."




9.) What is the author's apparent purpose of this piece (introduce with the infinitive “to”)? Try not to simply restate the thesis: "The author's purpose is to prove that..." Remember that one’s purpose is always to put forward a thesis, but there are others as well. The infinitive “to" phrase should transcend a phrase such as “Her purpose is to inform;" look beyond such a simplistic response to assess what the author wants the audience to do or to feel as a result of reading the work.

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