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Moving from Comparison to Classification and Division


In this lesson, we’ll examine several more patterns of develop- ment. You’ve probably been practicing writing and exploring various approaches to writing since at least junior high, so these techniques will no doubt look familiar. Our purpose is to help you build on what you know and to improve your writing in preparation for real-world communication requirements, as well as college writing.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

� Define comparing and contrasting as a pattern of development

� Apply the techniques of comparing and contrasting

� Explain the characteristics of classification and division

� Use classification and division in your writing

� Discuss the use of definition as a writing technique

� Employ simple and extended definitions in your essays

� Explain the use of causal analysis to show how one action or event leads to another

Christie Littlefield
Text Box
See page 13 for details of essay - see first try at essay on page 22 along with instructor feed back. I can't change topic because this topic is rolled into another assignment. Can you help with the referencing and correcing the feedback

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ASSIGNMENT 17: COMPARISON AND CONTRAST Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful College Writing textbook, read Chapter 15, pages 372–407. To gauge your progress, complete the self-check.

To compare is to point out similarities; to contrast is to point out differences. As you approach a writing assignment, you need to be able to do both. For instance, in an essay on fruit production, you might recognize ways that oranges and lemons are similar: both of them are citrus fruits that pro- duce juice and have flavorful rinds. You could then contrast them in terms of color, sweetness, and typical uses for each in the American diet.

Comparing and contrasting should make a point. For example, a comparison and contrast of two political parties may seek to prove that one party is more progressive or conservative than another. In a similar sense, comparing and contrasting a vegetarian diet with one containing meat may be used to support a thesis on the health benefits of one or the other.

The “Quick Start” for this chapter, on page 372, asks you to compare and contrast the experience of actually playing golf on an actual golf course and playing simulated golf using Nintendo Wii. The exercise consists of making two lists—one listing the similarities (comparisons) and one listing the dif- ferences (contrasts) between the two kinds of experience.

Pages 374–381. While distinguishing between similarities and differences isn’t difficult, writing effective comparisons and contrasts requires discrimination, balance, flow, and all the other characteristics of good writing. It also requires organization, of which there are two types—point-by-point and subject-by-subject.

For example, imagine you’re looking at two photographs depicting a scene from a wedding. In one, you see the full “Hollywood” church-wedding fantasy. The bride wears a wedding gown. She is attended by bridesmaids while a young girl holds the train of her dress. The groom wears a tuxedo. The nuptial pair stands before an altar where a priest or pastor stands ready to officiate. The second photo

When something can be read with- out effort, great effort has gone into its writing.

—Enrique Jardiel Poncela

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is of a couple standing before a justice of the peace. The bride wears a tailored suit, as does the groom. The room looks rather like an office, and there are no witnesses. You could use a point-by-point approach to compare the attire of the two brides, the attire of the bridesmaids, or the nature of the audience, then contrast the settings of the two wedding scenarios. Or you could use a subject-by subject approach in which you would describe key facets of the first photo, and then detail the contrast in the second photo. You decide which approach to use based on your purpose and on the parallelism of the shared characteristics—that is, you may not be able to make a one-to-one correlation for all the same points for each item. What if the justice of the peace wedding photo remained as it is but the church wed- ding photo depicted the reception for the newly married pair? Although you would probably draw similar conclu- sions about the similarities and differences, you would describe each photo separately (subject-by-subject).

The text provides two essays that can help you understand these organizational patterns. As you read, note how the specific examples keep the reader’s attention and how the transitional devices guide the reader from one point or sub- ject to the next (from paragraph to paragraph). You may be fascinated by “Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion Our Most Intelligent Newspaper?” by Greg Beato. The essay explores the reasons why a newspaper spun of laugh-out- loud satire and devoted to fake news (reflecting actual news) remains both popular and financially solvent. If you con- clude from this essay that humor is a missing ingredient in present-day mainstream journalism, you’ve recognized one of the author’s main points—especially if you’re a fan of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

“Dearly Disconnected” uses subject-by-subject. In a person- alized, nostalgic way, Ian Frazier first discusses his love of pay phones. He then describes the loss of that romance with the cell phone as its usurper.

Pages 382–384. As with any other pattern of development, the comparison or contrast essay requires a clear purpose. Just as important, however, is identifying the basis of com- parison. If you were using the topic “means of transportation,”

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you would first establish the specific items to be compared or contrasted, such as rail travel with air travel. Then you would determine the basis of comparison, such as differences in cost or time.

Next, you must identify in a thesis the main point you want to make through your comparison. Why do you want to contrast rail versus air travel? Perhaps you’re trying to persuade readers who are planning a vacation to choose air travel. You might explain the cost and time benefits to convince your readers. However, if you want to convince vacationers to consider rail, you might describe its lively engagement with workers and fellow travelers and the enjoyment of scenic beauty. A possible thesis might be “Although air travel is touted as the most efficient way to get to a destination, rail travel underscores the beauty of the journey itself.” This thesis contains the subjects of air and rail travel, identifies contrast through the use of although, and suggests the main point of enjoying the travel itself. Study the examples of thesis statements on page 381, which make the contrast or comparison meaningful and interesting.

The student essay by Christine Lee, which you studied earlier in your textbook, involved two types of television program- ming. Initially, she began developing an essay trying to show the differences between TV before reality shows with all reality shows (excluding Survivor). As she worked through the writ- ing process, she noticed that her purpose and basis for comparison were unclear. She decided that she wanted to describe the ways the reality show Survivor is one of a kind, despite all the copycats. She used comparison/ contrast as a supporting pattern of development to prove that idea, using a subject-by-subject pattern for most of her illustrations.

Consider the subjects of situation comedies versus dramas. Two possible bases of comparison could be the complexity of plots and timeliness, with a possible thesis of “Situation comedies and drama in popular television programming each provide a break from the stresses of daily living, but situation comedies deal with timeless human foibles and thus are a more positive antidote to stress than drama.”

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Pages 382–383. Figure 12.1, on page 382, provides a graphic organizer for point-by-point organization of an essay. Figure 12.2 on the next page charts a subject-by-subject design. Even if your learning style isn’t spatial-visual, you’ll benefit from studying the two kinds of graphic organizers. Notice that if parallel comparisons/contrasts can’t be laid out in a point-by point essay, it’s best to use a subject-by-subject approach.

Pages 384–385. Carefully study the guide for integrating com- parison and contrast into an essay. The five points of this development style will help you use these techniques in an effective essay.

Pages 385–392. Take a moment to read through the “Guided Writing Assignment,” because it reinforces the characteristics of this pattern of development in terms of the writing choices you must make, providing additional examples and explana- tion. Carefully study the editing and proofreading tips on pages 380 and 392.

Pages 393–395. Your “Students Write” feature for this chapter is “Border Bites” by first-year writing student Heather Glanakos. The analysis for this piece highlights the author’s thesis, which appears as the final sentence of her first paragraph. Note the highlighting of the prime subjects of her essay—Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Pages 395–403. After carefully studying the “Working with Text” material, read the comparison and contrast essay by Daniel Golman, Ph.D., “His Marriage and Hers: Childhood Roots.” Golman is probably best known as the author of “Emotional Intelligence.” This essay explores research and studies that inform us that girls and boys are literally brought up in different cultures. You’ll see many points of comparison that illustrate that assertion as you read the essay. The point of the essay is that husbands and wives live in different emotional realities. They speak different emotional languages. That would explain a lot about the “battle of the sexes.”

Pages 403–407. To explore how comparison and contrast may be combined with other patterns of development, read, “Defining a Doctor, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule,” by Abigail Zuger. It gives some insight into the attitude changes that accompany different stages in the training and expecta- tions of medical students.

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Required Journal Entry 9: Comparison and Contrast

Review Abigail Zuger’s “Defining a Doctor, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule” on pages 403–405. Describe an experience you’ve had with a doctor or other medical professional. (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Compare/contrast: List the similarities and the differences of your own experience, showing how they match up with the work of the two doctors described in Zuger’s article. (2 paragraphs, 5 sentences)

Self-Check 17

1. Essay by Abigail Zuger on pages 403–405: “Examining the Reading”: Respond to items 1–4 in writing. Look up unfamiliar terms in item 5. “Analyzing the Reading”: Respond to all five items.

2. Comparison-contrast exercise: The table that follows on the next page compares and contrasts the competence of the writer’s listening skills in two conversations, the first with her good friend Kim and the second with a supervisor. The writer’s name is Jill.

� Establish a thesis informing Jill’s instructor about Jill’s competency in listening skills. (Remember a good comparison-contrast thesis identifies the subjects; designates focus, whether on similarities, differences, or both; and states the usefulness and/or interest of the information.)

� Choose either point-by-point or subject-by-subject organization and explain your choice.

� Draft one or two paragraphs according to your organizational choice.


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Self-Check 17

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Points of comparison—

listening skills Conversation with Kim

Conversation with



Leaned forward most of conversation without hunching shoulders or slouching; nodded my head several times

Began sitting straight up; most of conversation leaning backward though shoulders straight; shook head no

Facial expressions

Smiling in response to joke; frowning at unhappy remark; eyes opened wide at a surpris- ing statement

Frowned frequently; squinted my eyes with uncertainty; fore- head wrinkled

Eye contact

Generally held about eight sec- onds before breaking slightly and reengaging; couple times did look at the clock in between.

First minute held about five seconds before break-off but rest of time only one-second glances; looked mostly at wall of photos above her left shoulder or at my lap


Hands clapped with delight a couple times; fidgeted with the TV remote some of the time (though I didn’t turn the TV on)

Twisted my hands together several times; put hands in my pocket briefly; crossed arms over my chest for great deal of time

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ASSIGNMENT 18: CLASSIFICATION AND DIVISION Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful College Writing textbook, read Chapter 16, pages 408–439. To test your progress, complete the self-check.

In general, classification sorts individual people, ideas, or things into specific groups or categories, while division begins with a single item and breaks it down into parts or subcategories. For example, taxonomy, a classification system for identifying organisms, was developed by Carolus Linnaeus in the 1700s. Living things are grouped under major categories, from kingdom to phylum, class, order, family, genus, and finally, species. Humans belong to the phylum Chordata, animals with backbones, and by genus and species are named Homo sapiens. But how does classification and division apply to writing?

People naturally divide their world and their experience into parts in an effort to simplify and make sense of it. Such a task often involves analysis, which takes the parts and con- siders the relationship of each part to the others and to the whole. When you revise, you analyze the parts of your essay in this manner.

When you use classification and division, you divide your information into parts to help your reader understand and absorb it. For example, the first line in Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War is “All Gaul is divided into three parts.” With this type of opening, the reader immedi- ately knows how the material will be presented and will look for the breakdown of the material into three parts, as well. Remember, the main purpose of classification and division is to clarify subject matter. Both operations organize your ideas so you can present them clearly.

Pages 408–409. Turn to the “Quick Start” exercise on page 409. The “Quick Start” exercise asks you to consider how you would group categories in retail displays or on websites for the convenience of customers or browsers. Interpret the “Swiss Army” personalities; then apply the same idea to yourself and several people you know well. This is a fun way to begin classifying and dividing into categories.

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Pages 410–419. Read the textbook’s introduction to classification and division. Skim through the identifying char- acteristics and then read “My Secret Life on the McJob.” As you read this essay, notice the one principle the author’s clas- sification follows: managerial styles are applied to the category managers. (For a division essay, an author might examine one type of manager and break it into components.)

After reading the first essay, study the characteristics more carefully. The most important step for using this pattern is to narrow your topic to one principle under one category. On pages 413–414, the text explains using “birds” as a topic. One category under “birds” is their diet, of which there are several types. The word types indicates that you’ll be using classification, because you aren’t dividing the bird into its parts. On the other hand, you could choose a single type of diet and break that into its parts using division. You proba- bly can see that if you don’t first identify one principle, you could waste time exploring ideas and gathering information you won’t be able to use.

Consider the topic of “sports teams.” If you brainstormed on this topic, you might generate a list of football leagues, hockey penalties, equestrian competitions, offensive versus defensive basketball strategies, coaches, and baseball players’ RBIs. Any one of these represents a principle of organization. How do you decide which one to use? Your choice must be based on your purpose and the interests of your audience. Suppose you wish to encourage more teenagers to try a sport. Although you could describe each sport in general, you would be merely tossing handfuls of information at your readers—the teens—without their knowing why they should care. Instead, identify the organizing principle underlying the purpose and audience. If you determine that most teens believe previous training in a sport is required, classify the sports according to the skill level required to join each one.

If your topic is “fast-food restaurants,” one principle of classi- fication could be “wait time,” for which you would establish categories of wait times and sort the various restaurants into one of those categories. (When classifying, you can assign each item or person to only one category.) If you’re a shift manager writing the owner of your franchise, you might classify a series of shifts according to the wait time to persuade the supervisor to approve hiring additional personnel for a particular shift.

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(Notice that you could incorporate comparison-contrast strategies to develop that purpose further.) If you were writing a news article for the lunch-hour crowd, however, you would classify several fast-food restaurants according to their wait time during 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. to help readers choose the one best meeting their needs. Other principles of organization on the topic might be store layouts, nutrition, or service. Again, the key is to focus your topic on one principle.

Pages 417–419. These pages present another example of a classification/division essay, “A Brush with Reality: Surprises in the Tube.” Study the graphic organizer for this essay on page 419.

Pages 420–431. Skim through the “Guided Writing Assignment” to reinforce what you’ve read, and note the edit- ing tips on pages 425 and 428. Then read the student essay “Immigration: Legal and Illegal.” Identify the basis or princi- ple of classification, the categories used, and any other patterns of development he integrates into his essay.

Pages 432–437. Read the material on reading a classifica- tion or division essay. Then read “The Dog Ate my Flash Drive, and Other Tales of Woe,” by Carolyn Foster Segal. As you evaluate the essay, keep in mind that the English profes- sor’s essay combines classification with description and illustration. Take a look at the boxed display in page 437 to see the types of support given for each of the five categories, from “family” to “The Totally Bizarre.”

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Self-Check 18

1. Exercise 16.2, on page 415: For the topics “novels” and “academic subjects,” choose a principle of classification or division.

2. Essay “Immigration: Legal and Illegal” on pages 429–431. Respond to all four items under “Thinking Critically.”

3. Classification revision exercise: This exercise has been adapted from “Module 7: Classification and Division Essay” by Camille Willingham of Kennedy-King College.

1. The thesis statement for the essay containing the following paragraph is “One attractive way to have fun exists in the free-admission shopping mall.” What might be the organizing principle and categories for this essay?

2. Identify the topic sentence of the following paragraph and reorganize its sentences into a more coherent, logical order for that topic sentence. Delete any sentences that don’t fit with the topic sentence.

They come to “pick up chicks,” to “meet guys,” and just to “hang out.” Mall managers have obviously made a decision to attract all this teenage activity. The guys saunter by in sneakers, T-shirts, and blue jeans, complete with a package of cigarettes sticking out of a pocket. Traveling in a gang that resembles a wolf pack, the teenagers make the shopping mall their hunting ground. The girls stumble along in high-heeled shoes and daring tank tops, with a hairbrush tucked snugly in the rear pocket of their tight-fitting designer jeans. The kids’ raised voices, loud laughter, and occasional shouted obscenities can be heard from as far as half a mall away.


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Self-Check 18

3. Identify two sentences from the following which could be used as the topic sentences for two supporting paragraphs that develop the thesis.

a. For many people, “fun” involves getting out of the house, seeing other people, having something interesting to look at, and enjoying a choice of activities, all at a reasonable price.

b. The mall provides something special for every member of the family.

c. Mall managers have obviously made a decision to attract all this teenage activity.

d. Couples find fun of another sort at shopping malls.

e. Mom walks through a fabric store, running her hand over the soft velvets and slippery silks.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.


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Lesson 6 Examination: Classification and Division Essay Prewriting

Objective You’ll use a graphic organizer to prewrite a classification/ division assignment around a selected topic from the given list. The prewriting will demonstrate an understating of this method of categorization and arrangement. This information should come from your own knowledge on the topic. No out- side research should be used.

Topic You will choose one of the following topic areas. Review the graphic organizer on page 416. The graphic organizer that you create doesn’t need to have boxed outlines or arrows, but it should show your organization.

Choose one of the following topics, and divide it into classes.

� Sports, either general or types of fans

� Genres of movies, television shows, or video games

� Animals, either general or one specific breed

� Illnesses, either general or a specific illness

� Parenting styles

As an example, the following is a graphic organizer for the topic “Types of Food.”

Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the document. Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your name, student number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see page 6 for an example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson number, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type: Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word- processing program.

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Submitting Your Assignment

To submit the assignment, follow these steps:

1. Type the graphic organizer.

2. Save the document.

3. Go to your Student Portal.

Title: Types of Food

Topic announcement: Restaurants

Introduction Background: Dieting is more difficult when eating out.

Thesis statement: Watching one’s diet is far more difficult when dining out, especially when eating out more than eating at home.

Burger King and McDonald’s; Burgers and fries, basic kind of chain everyone is familiar with; too much sodium.

Taco Bell: Mexican and other cultural restaurants; Drive-thru Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts: Coffee and donuts,

on-the-run convenience

Good things: Convenience, speed, consistency, usually friendly, clean, and open most of the time. Bad issues: Salt, fat, sometimes not clean, sometimes staffed by teens or others that don’t

Body Paragraphs seem to really care.

Outback: Popular steak and potato chain

Olive Garden: Italian; Chinese: good food, relatively inexpensive

Sit-down Good things: Once again, chains are familiar, consistent, and have standards to meet. Bad issues: Often processed, microwaved food. Portions are too large.

Silver diners or bowling alley: Family style and greasy spoons, but when you want to spend time

Homestyle/fancy with friends, this is where you go.

Five-star dining: Has a reputation for special occasions

Local hangouts are inexpensive but often serve large portions and fried food. Expensive places may serve smaller portions but may add high-

Conclusion calorie sauces.

Every type of eating establishment has pitfalls for a dieter. There are trade-offs for convenience, price, companionship, and enjoyment of special occasions.

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4. Go to My Courses.

5. Find the section for this project.

6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then find where you’ve saved your work in your computer. The organizer should have been saved under your student number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam number for this assignment is 05017900.

8. Click on the exam.

9. Click on Open.

10. Enter a correct e-mail address.

11. Click on Upload file.

12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The instructor will add one for you.

13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat- ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade is posted.

14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.

15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results once you see your grade posted.

If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:

Penn Foster Student Service Center 925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515-0001

Evaluation Rubric

Your instructor will evaluate your prewriting based on the following criteria.

The Penn Foster Student Service Center is under contract with Penn Foster College.

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Traits of Good Writing

Review your study guide for an explanation of the traits.

Skill Realized

Skill Developing

Skill Emerging

Skill Not Shown

Ideas and Content The writer has chosen one of the assigned topics. The essay has at least three categories with at least three characteristics for each. The writer provides content that can effectively be worked into a classifi- cation and division essay.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

Organization The writer fills in each of the boxes with a phrase or sentence. A complete thesis statement is present, and the conclusion reworks the thesis.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0

Voice The writer appropriately interacts with the assigned audience by using consistent point of view, tone, and enough evidence to build into a clas- sification and division essay. The writer maintains a clear stance on the topic.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Word Choice The writer makes correct verb and word choices, defines any terms that may have been unfamiliar, and con- veys a clear message. Transitional words are present and used correctly.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Grammar and Sentences The writer uses correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. There are no typographical errors.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Format The student uses an appropriate graphic organizer. All the required header information is present.

15 14 13 12 11 8 0

Exam number: Exam Grade: Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:

Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble” comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don't see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and “Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.

Classification and Division Prewriting

Monty Littlefield 21772952 050179 Page 1

6757 N 431

Pryor, Oklahoma 74361

[email protected]

Dear Student,

I am returning this exam to you so that you may provide parenthetical citations for the

information provided. A “Works Cited” is also …