Introduction to Composition 110

Anthony Plumb, Fall 2015, Beth Undem

Introduction as a writer

As a writer, I am skilled at writing about things that interest me, but not very skilled at finding topics that match my interests. However, over the course of English Composition 110, I have found it easier to create good topics that are interesting to myself and the reader. In English Comp 110, we have learned a great deal about writing styles and how to become better writers, such as how to create a strong attention getter, thesis statement, and conclusion. We have learned about compare and contrast papers, description papers, and even research papers in which we had to research a topic and create a 4-5-page paper on that topic. This has changed my writing in many ways. Before English Comp 110, I could never write a solid thesis statement, cite sources correctly, and I always used the word you in formal writing. This course taught me that this was wrong and fixed the way that I write. Contained in this writing portfolio are several things that we accomplished this semester.

Anthony Plumb

English Composition 110 Introduction by Anthony Plumb

Thesis Statements

One may wonder what a thesis statement would include. A thesis statement is a short statement that summarizes the main point of an essay. Before taking this College level English class, I had never truly known what a correct thesis statement included. I would usually ask questions that I would later on answer, with no real purpose. During this class I learned not only that a thesis statement must not be a question, but also that everything in the essay must be logically related to the thesis statement.


An example of a good thesis statement would be:

"To prove the Big Bang Theory scientists are studying the very beginning of our universe, what happened afterwards, the first suns, the death of stars, and the creation of new elements."


This is an example of a good thesis statement because not only is it not a question, but it acts as a sort of road map, briefly explaining everything that I am going to discuss in the essay.

Effective Summaries

Using summaries is an important part to any writing assignment. Summaries are shortened materials from a source for an essay. An effective summary captures the essential idea of a passage or even an entire paper. A summary should always be shorter than the original and should always be in the writers own words. A good summary should take a large section of a paper or book and condense it into about one paragraph. Usually summaries are used when working with research papers or any other paper that requires the writer to have notes. I used many summaries in the creation of my research paper.

One of the many summarizations I made was


"One hundred million years after the Big Bang particles floated around aimlessly only controlled by the pull of gravity. The particles were so dispersed that it to gravity almost 150 million years to bring the particles to giant clouds of gas (Folger). The gasses formed around the densest areas of dark matter pulled by gravity. Later the entire cloud of gasses began to glow (Folger). The glowing was caused by particles of hydrogen being compressed and pulled to the center of the cloud where finally they ignited and the first star was born (Folger). Some of the first suns were more than 200 times larger than our sun, these were called supergiant stars (Folger)."


This is a good summary because it describes an entire subject about stars briefly and is shorter than the original document. This example is from "The Big Bang" (see above document).

Referenceing Sources Correctly

Referencing Sources is also an important part to a research paper. When citing sources there are only certain circumstances when one will need to create citations for a works cited page and parenthetical citations. These include: quoting a source word-for-word, referring to information and ideas from another source, and citing statistics. Although if the knowledge is commonly known there is no need for a citation.

There are several different styles of citations; MLA, APA, and many others. In our papers we use MLA format which is one of the most common styles. In MLA format there is certain ways to create citations correctly. A correct MLA source citation includes; authors name, title of site, date of sites last update, name of sponsoring organization, date accessed.


An example of this would be

Mathews, G. J., et al. "Origin Of Matter And Space-Time In The Big Bang." AIP Conference Proceedings 1594. (2014): 5-11. Academic Search Premier. N.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

*Note cannot tab in second line


An example of a parenthetical citation would be

Tom Abel, a professor of physics, once said; “Each time we had to stop our research, it wasn’t because we didn’t have a big enough computer. It was because we ran out of physics” (Folger).


Parenthetical citations are the first word of the citation and can sometimes have a page number if the cite is a book or anything that has many pages. After the first parenthetical from a source only a page number is needed. Parenthetical citations will come after the information that came from the site.

Learning not to use "you"

One of the worst problems that I had to overcome as a writer was the use of the word "you" in formal writing. I used to use "you" all over in each one of my essays. It was extremely hard to get away from the habit of using this one simple word. I would use it in sentences such as saying, "There is only one way you can avoid this." One of the ways that I fixed the habit of using it was to replace the word "you" with "one". For the first few essays that I had written I had to use the find feature on Microsoft Word to even notice when I used it. Eventually however, I managed to stop using it completely even without the find feature.

Cause and Effect Essay

A good cause and effect essay consists of an action and the reactions of that action. some reactions are immediate and some take long periods of time to occur. There are two several types of ways to write a good cause and effect essay. Two of which include point-by-point pattern and subject-by-subject pattern. These patterns will both take two topics and find the similarities and differences between them. Subject-by-subject pattern takes one topic and goes in-depth about it then switches to the other. Point-by-point pattern takes an individual point on each and compares them then switches to a different point. When I wrote my cause and effect essay I used procrastination as a cause of several terrible outcomes of not completing homework. In this essay the main character fails to complete his homework and then misfortune haunts him for the rest of his days. This story teaches a lesson that procrastination no matter how inconsequential it seems at the time can have drastic effects that can change ones life.

Best Work

In my opinion my best work was my research essay. Although it was one of the more difficult essays to write I felt more confident with the final project than the other essays. In this essay I was more prepared to write the essay due to the notes that I had taken about the topic. My research paper was about the Big Bang Theory and all of the thing that came out of it. This paper also interested me because of all the thing that I learned from researching the paper. This paper was one of the longest papers I have ever written and it was interesting to see that I could do it. (see first link for essay)

Conclusion

As a writer I believe that I do many things correctly, but also some things incorrectly. Some of the things that I have learned over the semester include the ability to generate well-developed, coherent paragraphs, composing correct sentences, and much more. All writers have their strengths and weaknesses, I believe that my strengths in writing are; creating well written stories, using correct spelling and grammar, and coming up with interesting attention getters. My weaknesses as a writer include comma usage, creating a works cited page, and following through with some ideas of an essay. Some of my future goals with writing include becoming better at all of my weaknesses, and improving on my skills that I already have.

Anthony Plumb

Conclusion by Anthony Plumb