Introduction to Composition 110

Samantha Wieland-Fall 2015-Beth Undem

Samantha Wieland

Before beginning this English 110 class I was not very sure of my writing skills. I knew that I could write a decent essay for my standards, but I never really knew what specific components my essay should actually include. When I did include the correct criteria, I then became unsure if it was even in the appropriate way. After a whole semester of this class, I feel that I have definitely improved as a writer. I now consider myself satisfactory in writing and feel that I have gained a great deal of confidence in my writing abilities. Some concepts that I truly believe will stick with me throughout the rest of my writing days are how to write a good thesis, being sure to check for correct verb tenses when peer reviewing, and how to write with strong nouns and verbs. Other beneficial knowledge I learned that is described further in my blog consists of writing summaries and correctly referencing sources.

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Characteristics of a Thesis Statement

Every well written essay and paper that explains or takes a position should have a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a one or two sentence long summary of the main point. It is important to remember that since it is a thesis "statement", it should not be in a question format. Two examples of good, clear theses that I included toward the end of my first paragraph in both my compare and contrast essay and my research paper are shown below:


"The truth is that by just changing the location, from the theater to home, or vise versa, many differences are brought about."


"Some of these details that should be considered when deciding which career to pursue include the job itself, the qualities required, the education and skills, the salary and projected growth, the hours and working conditions, and the services provided to the community."


Take notice of how both of these examples are broad statements that could eventually shape the essay or paper by being proved through data or different perspectives. They are both considered well-written theses because they are general representations of the most important topic, which are then further supported by ideas and facts throughout the essay and paper.

Adequately Summarizing

My research paper, which is included in the link, is a good example of how to summarize the correct way. To summarize is to come up with a brief overview of the longer, original work. While summarizing the accurate facts and statements that I found, I made sure to use my own word choices and sentence arrangements. It is best to include a transitional phrase to show and represent that it came from a previous source. One transitional phrase that I used in my research paper was, "which is proven from the statement by the American Association of Orthodontists". This statement was followed by coordinating data and finished with a parenthetical citation.

Correctly Referencing Sources

For my research paper, I used MLA 7 format to site the sources. To site sources correctly, in this specific style, it is required to have parenthetical citations and a works cited page. I used parenthetical citations all throughout my research paper. This was because I used quotes, summaries, and data. All of which was uncommon knowledge to me. Parenthetical citations, like the one shown below, are the authors's last name. Sometimes a page number will be included and other times, when the author is unknown, it can be the first word of the works cited entry.


An orthodontist must go on and complete an orthodontist residency, which is both coursework and training (Davenport).


The works cited page, which will list the detailed sources used to find the information, should be at the end of the paper on a separate page. These sources should be in alphabetical order, double line spaced, and any line of one source after the first should be indented. For instance the cited source below does not fit on one line so 2015 becomes indented on the following line. To get a better idea of how this page should look with other sources, there is a link to my research paper above in my summarizing description. The works cited can be found on the last page.


Davenport, Tammy. "How to Become an Orthodontist." About.com Careers. About Careers. *Web. 25 Nov. 2015.


*Smore website does not allow this line to be tabbed in.

Peer Editing: Verb Tense Shift

When writing I do not notice the many mistakes that I actually do make having to do with tense agreement. After this class, and after peer reviewing all of our papers and essays, I have learned that I need to be more conscientious of this writing skill. One specific example was in my narrative essay, which is shown below. Throughout this paragraph I mistakenly switched back and forth between present tense and past tense. It is shown how I bolded the words that were in the incorrect tense and also how they were changed in the following paragraphs.


Incorrect: My heart sunk, as I had been looking forward to this moment for the longest time and now it had changed to nothing I ever expected. I was confident in my driving. I knew that running a red light was not okay, but I had other things on my mind than the task at hand. I was caught up in thinking ahead. I had never been so ashamed as I was in that very moment.


Correct: My heart sank, as I had been looking forward to this moment for the longest time and now it had changed to nothing I ever expected. I had been confident in my driving. I knew that running a red light was not okay, but I had other things on my mind than the task that was at hand. I was caught up in thinking ahead. I had never been so ashamed as I was at that very moment.

Weak Nouns and Verbs

I do not recall talking about weak nouns and verbs in any other class before recently in English 110. I really like the idea of fixing weak nouns and verbs to be strong because it makes the writing so much more effective. A couple examples are given that really show the differences when the sentences are written with strong nouns and verbs.


Weak: I got a vehicle for my graduation present.

Strong: I got a white, 2014 Toyota Camry for my graduation present.


Weak: I went to the store yesterday.

Strong: I rode my bike to the store yesterday.


The key to finding and fixing these nouns and verbs is to look for a place in the essay, when editing it, that doesn't form a clear picture of either what the noun looks like or what the verb's action is. To help with converting nouns and verbs to be more specific, it is a good idea to go to the thesaurus for help. Just by doing something as simple as this, it makes the writing much more entertaining and catching for the audience.

Best Work

In my opinion, the descriptive essay about my trip to Mexico is my best work for the semester. I wrote about what I thought it would be like, and about how different it actually was. I did this in logical order by first explaining what I imagined before I got there, and then I went into what Mexico was truly like. By making sure to appeal to all five senses, I believe I created a vivid and lasting image in the reader's head. I went into detail by using adjectives, smilies, and metaphors to hopefully present the same impression that was left on me.

Reflection of Myself

After taking English 110, I am a much stronger writer. I am able to come up with structurally correct sentences following the Standard American English precedent. In addition to representing my thoughts and ideas clearly and formally through my writing. One weakness of mine that I need to continue to work on as a writer is to become better at writing well-developed paragraphs that flow. On the other hand, a strength of mine is that I am rather good at researching and interpreting information, and then organizing it logically into a paper. My hopes to become a better writer in the future have taken a new leap because of all that I have learned through just one semester of this class.

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