Writing and Grammar Skills Appendix

When you are using research in your essays, there are many aspects to think about other than how to organize your essay and explain your topic. There are many steps to finding information you need for your essay topic.

  • How do I find the information I need, and quickly?
    • Search for keywords. They don’t need to be perfect grammar, and you don’t need a lot of words. Sometimes more words make it more difficult, so keep it short. For example, for the following assignment, you could search for “why Mars planet name”.
  • How do I know if the information I find is accurate, trustworthy, and up to date?
    • After you get search results, don’t just choose the first one. Look at the information and the titles given. Also, take a look at the website it comes from before you click on it. Sources that come from databases and academic journals are good, but not always appropriate for the topic. Sites that end with .edu, .gov, and .org are often the most trustworthy. Sites that show the author’s name and some information about the author are good. Also, look for a date and see if the information is up to date.
  • Should I quote the information or paraphrase it?
    • Only quote if you feel a paraphrase would make the information lose power or meaning. That doesn’t mean quote everything because you don’t have confidence in your grammar! If you are just giving facts and statistics, it’s probably best to just paraphrase, even if your grammar isn’t perfect. If you quote, you do not change any of the borrowed words and they are surrounded with quotation marks (“ “). Paraphrases are the same meaning as the borrowed information, but in your own words. Therefore, they do not use quotation marks.
  • How do I integrate the research into my essay?
    • When you finally have the information you want to use, it needs to be clear when you start talking about the research and when you finish and go back to your own words and ideas. This can be done by introducing the source before giving the information and then ending the information with an in-text citation. Go to this site for some good examples of introductory phrases to use before you quote or paraphrase.
  • How do I avoid plagiarism?
    • Plagiarism is serious business. Students can be expelled from their universities and people can lose their jobs if they plagiarize. Thus, it’s important to avoid it as much as possible. To avoid plagiarism, you need to use quotation marks when you quote and properly paraphrase with an in-text citation. You will also need a list of your sources and more detailed information about them at the end of the essay.

You will be practicing all of these important skills above in the following short writing assignment. You can go to this website for more information, especially about how to do MLA Style citations.

Practice 1: Paraphrasing and MLA Style in-text citations

Why are all of our planets (except Earth) named after the Latin version of the Greek gods? What is the connection between the characteristics of the gods and the characteristics of the planets? Find the answer by searching the Internet. Introduce the source and quote or paraphrase the information, and end with an MLA style in-text citation. Then make an MLA style works cited page. Try to use different sources for each question, but keep in mind the quality of the source. Pay attention to punctuation.

Example (quote): The website Cool Cosmos says, “Being very cold and the farthest from the Sun, Pluto was named after the Roman god of death” (“How did Pluto”).

Example (paraphrase): The planet Pluto is named after the Roman god of the dead since it so far away from the sun and so frigid, according to the website Cool Cosmos (“How did Pluto”).

MLA style works cited pages entries needs to be alphabetized and with hanging indent.

  1. Venus: use “according to…” before the information and paraphrase
  2. Mercury: use “…says that” and quote
  3. Mars: use “according to…” at the end of the information and quote
  4. Jupiter: use “…says” at the end of the information and paraphrase
  5. Saturn: you choose how to introduce and whether to quote or paraphrase
  6. Neptune: you choose how to introduce and whether to quote or paraphrase
  7. Uranus: you choose how to introduce and whether to quote or paraphrase

More about paraphrasing

If you have trouble paraphrasing, you can visit this website for help.Use a combination (not just one!) of the paraphrasing strategies below if you have trouble paraphrasing. Also, think about how you would tell a classmate the material without looking at the text. Paraphrases can have a little less or a few more sentences than the original.

  1. Synonyms: Use words and phrases with a similar meaning.
  2. Voice: Change the sentence from active voice to passive.
  3. Word forms: Change nouns to verbs or vice versa.
  4. Conjunctions: Combine two sentences with conjunctions.
  5. Separation: Separate a longer sentence of ideas into two or more sentences, especially if that makes them clearer.
  6. Clauses: Join two sentences with relative clauses, appositives, and reduced phrases.
  7. Rearrange parts: Change around dependent and independent clauses and prepositional phrases, as appropriate.

Paraphrasing Practice 2

Paraphrase the following sentences about famous ancient Greek philosophers and their ideas we still study and use today. Write your paraphrases on a separate sheet of paper. All quotes come from Wikipedia, but you may want to check the definitions in your first language to make sure you understand the ideas before you paraphrase them.

  1. Platonic love is a type of love that is non-sexual. The term is named after Plato, who described a kind of love centered on same-gender relations and included sex, which underwent a transformation during the Renaissance (15th–16th centuries) to get its contemporary sense of nonsexual heterosexual love.
  2. Cynicism is a school of thought of ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics. For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.
  3. However, the modern definition of this has changed. Now, Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people are only motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment.
  4. Skepticism is generally any questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more items of putative knowledge or belief. It is often directed at domains, such as morality (moral skepticism), religion (skepticism about the existence of God), or knowledge (skepticism about the possibility of knowledge, or of certainty).
  5. In ordinary usage, skepticism refers to: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object; the doctrine that true knowledge or some particular knowledge is uncertain; or the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism that is characteristic of skeptics (Merriam–Webster). (Hint: try to make the three definition parts part of one sentence.)
  6. The Socratic method is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themselves in some way, thus weakening the defender’s point.
  7. Socrates, one of the most famous ancient Greek philosophers, found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety (“not believing in the gods of the state”), and subsequently sentenced to death by drinking a mixture containing poison hemlock.
  8. Hippocrates was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles (Classical Greece), and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine” in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally, not because of superstition and gods. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.
  9. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards.
  10. The Oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. Although the ancient text is only of historic and symbolic value, swearing a modified form of the Oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries.

CEFR Level: CEF Level C1


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

It’s All Greek to Me! Copyright © 2018 by Charity Davenport is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book