Hancock's English 1A Lecture Notes

These notes are by no means complete. They represent an overview of most, not all, class discussions and themes. These notes are a study aid, not a substitute for attending class or completing course readings.

Writing Process

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1. Prewriting: Gather and organize information

Prewriting – What you do before you write.
Don’t censor yourself
Write down everything, no matter how stupid or awful it sounds. It may come in handy later.
Know about your topic before you write. An organizational plan or outline will help you. Gather more information than you need well before you start writing.
Sources of information: library books, journals, magazines, people with knowledge of your topic—teachers, friends, relatives, life experiences, news, television, newspaper.

I. Advances in Computer Software

A. Types of programs

1. Word processing

2. Desktop publishing

B. Evaluation of programs

1. Word processing

a. MS Word

b. Word Perfect

2. Desktop Publishing

a. Page Maker

b. Quark Express

2. Begin Drafting

3. Take A Break

Allow yourself time away from the work. Take a break and reward yourself when your draft is done. Doing so allows you to come back to your work with a fresh mind so you can see logical inconsistencies and find nonsensical sentences.

4. Revise

Return to the work and revise it. Revise means “see again.”  Edit words. Delete paragraphs, delete sentences, rewrite sentences for clarity. Move paragraphs. Check thesis. Check logic in paragraphs. Check transitions. Ask: Is each sentence related to the next?  Does each paragraph relate back to the thesis?  Most people revise 2-3 times.  Some writers are meticulous and slow with revision.  They need several drafts.  Other writers prefer less revision and need to work quickly.

Wordiness: What to watch for:

There are many people who believe… = Many people believe

I believe that the media is run by corrupt corporations. = The media is run by corrupt corporations.
I think that the public school system is underfunded = Schools are underfunded.
I feel that underwear models are overpaid. = Underwear models are overpaid.

Clarify antecedents. What words do these refer to?

One, a person, is a he or a she, not a they. Everyone, no one, someone, and somebody are all singular, like this:

A person must have her book.
A child must be prasied if she is to succeed.
Children must be praised if they are to succeed.

General versus specific.

To clarify general terms, use examples.

"Street smart" means not getting into a car with someone you just met.

"Street smart" means not showing your money in a public place.

5. Proofread

Run spell and grammar check. Read “hard copy” or printed copy. Don’t trust spell or grammar check but do use both. Use a ruler to highlight each line. Share your work with a reliable reader to look only for typos.  Proofread several times.  Use red pen to highlight errors.  Read from back to front, last page to first to view the sentences out of context.

Writing Paragraphs and Drafting

Vonnegut Writing Advice

General versus specific.

To clarify general terms, use examples.

"Street smart" means not getting into a car with someone you just met.

"Street smart" means not showing your money in a public place.

Assert Support Summarize

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Link to Power Point Presentation on Assert Support Summarize

 A.S.S. Method



For example:
Illegal immigration contributes to California’s economy.     
Illegal immigrants are draining California’s economy

Support – Prove it!

Support Sample
“Illegal immigration provides net economic benefits to domestic residents….” (2005 Regional Economies Project)        

“Officials in California report that providing illegal immigrants social services costs the state $3 billion annually.”  (Close up Foundation)


Summary Sample

Punitive immigration policies futilely attempt to restrict entry into the US, wasting taxpayer dollars.

 If the evidence shows an economic gain from illegal immigration, why on earth are we spending tax dollars to keep folks out?

Summary Sample 2

      Thesis: Current immigration laws don’t go far enough in keeping out illegal aliens.
Summary and link to thesis:                       
Thus, ineffective border control is costing California taxpayers dearly in health care and social services.

Modes of Development – Ways of organizing essays and paragraphs

Modes of Development

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Link to Power Point Presentation on Modes of Development



Comparison and Contrast

Cause and Effect

Definition and Example


Argument and Persuasion

Trying to convince the reader of your point of view or impel him or her to action.

Classical Argument

Writing With Style

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Thinking Well

Getting Launched