Be Rhetorical

Writing is rhetorical:  it is designed speech. You already use rhetorical choices in your day to day conversations because you interact with a variety of listeners. With those who know you best, you use insider jokes and a verbal shorthand based on your history together, but you wouldn't speak to a tax auditor in the same way …

Semicolons

Classic job interview advice:  if asked to lunch, never order the spaghetti. Long, saucy pasta strands are almost impossible to eat with aplomb. Semicolons are the punctuation equivalent of a spaghetti dish. A critical eye can overlook a comma mistake or two without blinking, but for those who know their uses, a semicolon mistake might …

The basics: prepositional phrases

Why use prepositional phrases? Prepositions specify a relationship between words. Most often the relationship is time (like during, throughout, until, before, since, after), or space (like in, under, over, through, between, above, across, below, around, by, on). Phrases made with prepositions provide detail. For example: Quarter 1 sales results in the three rural districts are running behind on-time delivery goals …

6 ways to jeopardize your argument essay

If a brilliant argument essay comes back from a teacher with "weak support" scrawled across the top of page 1 then something went wrong somewhere between the good idea and the supporting evidence. Rhetorical missteps, known as logical fallacies, are everywhere. Talk radio, advertisements, and internet forums are prone to them because they are easy mistakes to make and if not …

Revisions

Cartoonist Richard Thompson has the right idea:  revising means being open to where new information could lead you. Take your thinking on a journey ... ... and seek out the ideas of others!

Pathos, Logos, Ethos

Picture a newly licensed teenager begging for a dream car from reluctant parents. Initially, the pleas might be about the ultra-fine fabulousness of the dream car or how a person is only young once. Begging might work, but usually a passionate, emotional appeal alone cannot guarantee a successful outcome. Let's say the teenager decides to alter tactics and provide information, such as …

Got Transitions?

Transitions link ideas. They add or concede a point, indicate placement in time or location, signal more or new information, and announce the impending conclusion. In a discussion of whether scientific genius is constant, Robert Weisberg¹ identifies a common misconception of genius: One characteristic believed to be associated with scientific genius is a greater sensitivity …