Sunday, October 10, 2004

Building a paragraph with Given-New

As we build a paragraph, we keep in mind this given new contract in our attempt to make our writing clear to our reader. We do this in several ways.

The primary way we do this is by making clear the connection between the controlling idea or statement and each support. This is done through the transitions between supports. Each transition can be used to point back to the controlling idea. It can be done through the ways we repeat the same information. For example, if I am writing about astronomers, I can repeat astronomers in the following seven ways:

Restated Given Information ==>Form of Restatement

astronomers ==>repeated
scientists ==> category or more general
star gazers ==> synonym (informal)
people who study the stars ==> definition
they ==> pronoun
these/ those scientists ==> demonstrative with repeated word
astronomical ==> different part of speech

Now these seven ways work better with topics than with controlling ideas which are more adjectival. So lets look at how they might work with adjectives. Here we will use the adjective important to show seven forms of restatement.

Restated Given Information Form of Restatement

important ==> repeated
significant ==> synonym
importantly, importance ==> different part of speech
more important(ly) ==> comparative
most important(ly) ==> superlative
equally, not as, ==> comparison/contrast
unimportant ==> antonym

How this can work is shown in this paragraph.

Kansas(t) is probably one of the most boring states in the United States, but I dearly love(ci) that state. Because it (pronoun [t]) is the state where I was born and grew up in, I can only think of how much it means to me (ci [explanation]) as the location of my family's history, my cousins and their children, and one of my brothers. Furthermore, the part of the Jayhawk state (synonym [t]) has gentle rolling hills of the countryside that make me yearn (synonym [ci]) to return there (pronoun [t]) when I feel the frustration of living with traffic and people rushing everywhere. Most of all, I miss the gentle knowledge of my father in evening talks on the front porch as he greeted people out for walks, for he discussed how people should live and do with the insights that I still treasure (synonym [ci]). Kansas (repeated [t]) probably still is boring though I haven't been there in a long time, but it remains in the center of my heart (definition [ci]) because it was the place where I learned some key lessons for my life's journey.

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