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ENGL 2311 Chapter 5

Second phase of writing process
researching, organizing, drafting
Collecting information about a certain topic. The information helps the writer shape the message. Answering: What does the receiver need to know about this topic? what is the receiver to do? How is the receiver to do it? When must the receiver do it? What will happen if the receiver doesn’t do it?
informal research methods
• Search your company’s files
• Talk with the boss
• Interview the target audience
• Conduct an informal survey
Formal research methods
• Access electronic sources
• Search manually
• Investigate Primary sources (can include blogs, wikis, and Facebook fan pages)
• Conduct scientific experiments
The most common method for groups to generate ideas at companies around the world
Techniques for a productive group brainstorming session
• Define the problem and create an agenda that outlines the topics to be covered
• Establish time limits, remembering that short sessions are best
• Set a quota, such as a min. of 100 ideas. The goal is quantity, not quality
• Require every participant to contribute ideas, accept the ideas of others, or improve on ideas.
• Encourage wild thinking. Allow no one to criticize or evaluate ideas.
• Write ideas on flipcharts or on sheets of paper hung around the room
• Organize and classify the ideas, retaining the best.
Organizing includes two processes: grouping and strategizing
Skilled writers group similar items together. Then they place ideas in a strategic sequence that helps the reader understand relationships and accept the writer’s view.
Many communication experts regard _____ organization as the ___________ failing of business writers.
poor, greatest
Scratch list of topics they wish to cover.
Used to organize ideas into a hierarchy (especially if complex). Outlines give writers a chance to organize their thoughts before becoming bogged down in word choice and sentence structure.
How you group ideas into components depends on
your topic and your channel of communication.
Direct strategy
The main idea comes first, followed by details, explanation, or evidence.
Indirect strategy
The main idea follows the details, explanation, and evidence.
Use DIRECT STRATEGY when you expect the reader to be
pleased, mildly interested, or, at worst, neutral.
Another word for direct method
Three advantages of the direct method
• Saves the reader’s time
• Sets a proper frame of mind
• Reduces frustration
Use INDIRECT STRATEGY when you expect the reader to be
uninterested, unwilling, displeased, or hostile.
When is the indirect strategy appropriate, and what are the benefits of using it?
Use with the following types of messages:
• bad news
• ideas that require persuasion
• sensitive news, especially when being transmitted to superiors
• Respects the feelings of the audience
• Facilitates a fair hearing
• Minimizes a negative reaction
Writing quickly to get all of your ideas down
Compound Sentence
Contains two complete, but related thoughts. May be joined by conjunction, semicolon, or conjunctive adverb (however, consequently, therefore, etc.)
Example: The entrepreneur saw an opportunity; she responded immediately.
Complex Sentence
Contains an independent clause (complete thought) and a dependent clause (thought that cannot stand by itself). Dependent clauses often introduced by words such as although, since, because, when and if. When dependent clauses precede independent clauses, they always are followed by a comma.
Example: When the entrepreneur saw the opportunity, she responded immediately.
Compound-Complex Sentence
Contains at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause.
Example: When the entrepreneur saw the opportunity, she responded immediately; however, she needed capital.
A fragment is usually a broken-off part of a complex sentence. Can be identified by the words that introduce them- although, as, because, eve, except, for example, if , instead of, since, such as, that, which, and when. The words introduce DEPENDENT clauses.
run-on (fused)
A sentence with two independent clauses must be joined by conjunction, semicolon or be separated into two sentences. Without these, run-on results
comma splice
Writer joins (splices together) two independent clauses with JUST a comma.
Strive for sentences that average ____ words.
Stressing prominent ideas mechanically
underscoring, italicizing, or boldfacing
Stress important ideas STYLISTICALLY
• Use vivid words
• Label the main idea (most importantly, etc.)
• Place the important idea first or last in the sentence
• Place the important idea in a simple sentence or in an independent clause
• Make sure the important idea is the sentence subject
The subject (actor) PERFORMS the action.
Active-voice sentences are MORE DIRECT because they reveal the performer immediately.
the subject receives the action
Passive-Voice is useful when:
• emphasize an action rather than a person
• de-emphasize negative views
• conceal the doer of an action
Involves balanced writing. Use similar structures to express similar ideas.
Dangling Modifier
A modifier dangles when the word or phrase it describes is missing from its sentence.
Example: After working overtime, the report was finally finished.
Group of sentences about one idea.
Topic Sentence
Reveals the primary idea in a paragraph and usually, but not always, appears first.
Direct Paragraph
Define, classify, illustrate, or describe.
Begin with the topic sentence, followed by supporting sentences..
Pivoting Paragraph
Compare and contrast
Start with limiting sentence that offers a contrasting or negative idea before delivering the topic sentence.
Indirect Paragraph
Explain and Persuade
Start with supporting sentences and conclude with topic sentence. Helps build a rationale, a foundation of reasons, before hitting big idea. Enables you to explain your reasons and then in the final sentence draw a conclusion
Paragraphs are coherent when
ideas cohere—that is, when the ideas stick together and when one idea logically leads to the next.
Developing Paragraph Coherence
• sustaining the key idea (repeating key expression or using similar one throughout)
• dovetailing sentences (idea at the end of one connects with an idea at the beginning of the next. very helpful with dense, difficult topics)
• including pronouns (help build continuity)
• employing transitional expressions. enable the receiver to anticipate what’s coming, reduce uncertainty, and speed comprehension
Business writers recognize that ____ paragraphs are more attractive and readable than ________ ones.
short, longer
Paragraphs with ____ or fewer lines look inviting

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