Ship-Ship-Hooray! Free Shipping on $25+ Details >
Writing Talk : Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings

Writing Talk : Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings - 3rd edition

Writing Talk : Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings - 3rd edition

ISBN13: 9780130978868

ISBN10: 0130978868

Writing Talk : Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings by Anthony C. Winkler and Jo Ray McCuen - ISBN 9780130978868
Edition: 3RD 03
Copyright: 2003
Publisher: Prentice Hall, Inc.
International: No
Writing Talk : Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings by Anthony C. Winkler and Jo Ray McCuen - ISBN 9780130978868

ISBN13: 9780130978868

ISBN10: 0130978868

Edition: 3RD 03

shop us with confidence


The third edition of Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings, like its predecessors, takes as its starting point the assumption that grammar for the native speaker is a built-in skill, not an added-on one, and that the best sense for grammar in the native speaker is the ear. People speak the language they hear spoken around them from birth. An English infant raised in a genteel drawing room will emerge from it speaking like an Englishman raised in a genteel drawing room. Transplant that same infant to an urban area like Brooklyn, and he will grow up to speak like someone raised in Brooklyn. We have never seen an exception to this observation. We learn to speak our mother tongue not from a book, but from using our ears.

As English teachers, we know that many of our students neither speak nor write what we have been trained to call "good grammar." Students use fragments; they punctuate badly; they misplace modifiers and garble sentences; they use the wrong case or tense; they speak and write slang. How can we say that a speaker's ear is the best sense of grammar when all around us -we have evidence to the contrary?

The answer is simple: Much of the time these are not errors of bad grammar; instead, they are errors of inappropriate usage. If you are raised hearing ain't used everyday, you will grow using ain't in your speaking and writing. But because ain't is regarded as nonstandard and unacceptable usage in formal writing, it is our job as English teachers to wean students off that word when the circumstances demand the formality of standard English.

Usage variations aside, it is still a fact that all native speakers, as well as those who have spoken English for years, have within them an ear for grammar that students for whom English is a second language (ESL) do not share.

This assumption was thought by some to make previous editions of this book suitable only for native speakers and to-exclude ESL students. But regardless of the differences between native speakers and ESL students, some school systems--many because of budgetary pressures--freely mix both populations in the same classroom, making no distinction between them. The upshot is that many teachers have asked us to include both groups, ESL students as well as native speakers. That is exactly what we have done in this third edition of Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings.

In coping with both audiences, we take a dual approach. We begin with a candid admission that ESL students and native speakers have different strengths. For the native speaker, the advantage is an ear that is finely attuned to the mother tongue. On the other hand, ESL students, who come to English as adults or near adults, often bring to the table a solid grounding in the grammatical basics of their adopted tongue. Gradually, as they progress in fluency, they will acquire what to the native speaker is a birthright, namely, an ear.

Until that happens, foreign speakers learning English often make mistakes in phrasing that would rarely, if ever, be made by a native speaker. For example, recently we overheard a foreign student say to another student who was about to take a test, "Have a good luck." This sentence is not ungrammatical; it is unidiomatic. But it is also the sort of sentence no native speaker would use. People say to one another, "good luck," all the time. But they never say, "Have a good luck."

On the other hand, a native speaker might write, "The men at the baseball park was talking throughout the game," confusing the prepositional phrase "at the baseball park" for the subject and making a classic subject verb agreement error. In short, both groups commonly make mistakes in English usage. But they make different mistakes.

With these differences in mind, we have adapted the pedagogy of this book to take into account many of the known difficulties that ESL students have with English as well as many of the common errors that all students make. Where appropriate, we issue an "ESL Advice" notice, alerting students that this particular usage is one that often troubles ESL students.

This dual approach is aimed at both audiences whose superficial differences cannot alter the fact that they have a common goal that this book can help them reach: namely, mastery of English.

There are occasions when, no matter what the background of the student, the ear is at odds with the formal rule and of no help whatsoever in deciding what is right and appropriate. A case in point is the infamous between you and I. Although used by a surprising array of prominent men and women in the media, this construction is incorrect. Yet the right form, between you and me, often sounds wrong. We flag such cases with a unique feature of the Writing Talk series, namely, an Ear Alert warning. We first explain the formal rule to both the ESL and the native student; we then show how its practice in everyday speech varies from the rule. Finally, the Ear Alert distinctive icon in the margin warns everyone that this is a point of grammar on which no one's ear can be fully trusted.

Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings is the second book in a series of two, and it has the following features:

  • Common Myths and Standard Written English. We dispel some common and discouraging myths that students believe about writing. Writing is hard for everybody (no doubt rare exceptions exist, but we can't think of any offhand). We also know that the fumbling and revision that goes with writing is not a sign of ineptness, but a universal condition of the discipline. Many students do not understand how difficult writing is and tend to misinterpret the normal tedium of composing as a sign that they cannot write.
  • Paragraph Writing. We break down the paragraph into its principal parts, discussing at length the topic sentence and supporting details. We then discuss the importance of sticking to the point and linking sentences for coherence. A unique feature of this book, and one in keeping with its rationale, is its discussion of the paragraph and talking, where we show how a spoken paragraph differs from a written one and encourage students to use their "ear for language" to help their writing. The kind of advice we dispense is universal and applicable to everyone who wants to write English. In addition, for ESL students, we clarify potential problems either through an ESL Advice flag or in the textual explanation.
  • Rhetorical Strategies. The discussion of rhetorical strategy is presented under three headings: "What Am I Trying to Do?" "How Can I Do it?" and "What Do I Need to Look Out For?" To counter the negative attitude that students sometimes have regarding the practicality of English writing assignments, every unit in this section begins with an example of how the particular rhetorical strategy might be used in a real example.
  • The Whole Essay. Here we present the essay as a template, showing students exactly how an essay is written by breaking it down into three major parts--the introduction, the body, and the conclusion--with specific advice on the writing of each part, regardless of the topic.
  • The 20 Most Common Sentence Errors. This section reviews the errors we've seen students make most frequently in their writing--from fragments and run-ons to unnecessary commas and misspelled words. Our explanation of grammar in this section of the book (1) emphasizes functional problems, not descriptive grammar; (2) uses minimal terminology; (3) gives short, pointed explanations with a light touch; (4) is followed by immediate practice; and (5) includes abundant exercises.

This edition begins with a new first chapter, "The ESL Student and the Native Speaker," which outlines the differences between these two groups and presents a blueprint of how this book addresses their respective needs. All the well-known features that users of earlier editions particularly liked have been kept: Every chapter still has a Talk-Write Assignment that gives students practice in translating oral dialogue into its written formal equivalent. Each assignment presents a dialogue that might be overheard in an informal discussion and then asks students to write the equivalent in a more formal style. The new edition ends most chapters with the following four types of exercises:

  • A Unit Test that tests mastery of the chapter. This is now a feature of virtually every unit.
  • A Unit Talk Write Assignment that reinforces the difference between spoken and written language.
  • A Collaborative Writing Assignment that gives students an opportunity to interact in group sessions and puts their ears to use in practicing the contents of the chapter.
  • A Unit Writing Assignment that gives students a chance to apply the writing principles they have just learned.
  • A Photo Writing Assignment that asks students to write on a topic suggested by a photograph.

Author Bio

Winkler, Anthony C. :

Anthony C. Winkler was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Mt. Alvernia Academy and Cornwall College in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In 1962, he came to the United States to attend school, and received an A.A. from Citrus College, and a B.A. and M.A. from California State University at Los Angeles.

For seven years, he taught as a part-time evening college instructor while working full time as a book representative first for Appleton Century Crofts, and then for Scott, Foresman.

Winkler began collaborating with Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell in 1973, and became a fulltime freelance writer in 1976. He is the author of numerous textbooks, trade books (including Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother) and screenplays (including The Lunatic, based on his second novel). He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two children.

McCuen-Metherell, Jo Ray :

Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell was born in Belgium and grew up in Europe, coming to the United States for her college education. She received her B.A. from Pacific Union College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. While working on her doctorate, Jo Ray was hired to teach English at Glendale Community College, from which she retired in 1996.

A chance meeting in 1973 with Tony Winkler, who was a college textbook sales representative, led to a partnership that has produced fifteen coauthored textbooks used at colleges and universities across the country. "I have reached the place," says Jo Ray, "where I have difficulty remembering what I've said in what book."

Jo Ray has one son, David Cotton, a perinatologist at Wayne State University. When not revising her textbooks and writing new ones, Jo Ray enjoys traveling, reading, opera, snow skiing, and tennis.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1. The ESL Student and the Native Speaker.
2. Myths about Writing.
3. Purpose and Audience.
4. Gathering Ideas.


5. The Topic Sentence of a Paragraph.
6. Adding Details.
7. Sticking to the Point and Linking Sentences.


8. Narrating.
9. Describing.
10. Illustrating.
11. Explaining a Process.
12. Defining a Term.
13. Classifying.
14. Comparing and Contrasting.
15. Arguing.


16. What Is an Essay?
17. The Thesis Statement.
18. Organizing Your Essay, from Beginning to End.
19. Revising, Editing, and Proofreading.


20. The Sentence.
21. Building Sentences.


Error # 1. Sentence Fragments.
Error # 2. Run-On Sentences.
Error # 3. Lack of Subject-Verb Agreement.
Error # 4. Incorrect Verb Forms.
Error # 5. Incorrect Forms of Do, Be, and Have.
Error # 6. Passive Voice.
Error # 7. Shift in Tense.
Error # 8. Shifting Point of View.
Error # 9. Unclear or Missing Referent.
Error # 10. Lack of Pronoun Agreement and Sexism.
Error # 11. Trouble with Comparisons and Superlatives.
Error # 12. Dangling or Misplaced Modifiers.
Error # 13. Omitted Commas, Part I.
Error # 14. Omitted Commas, Part II.
Error # 15. Apostrophe Problems.
Error # 16. Trouble with Quotation Marks.
Error # 17. Incorrect Capitalization, Part I.
Error # 18. Incorrect Capitalization, Part II.
Error # 19. Misspelled Words, Part I.
Error # 20. Misspelled Words, Part II.


Help for Your Reading.
Explaining a Process.
Comparing and Contrasting.