Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, 6th edition

  • Pamela Arlov

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For courses in Developmental Writing.

This package includes MyWritingLab.


Helping students to craft direct, clear, and engaging writing

Briefer and more readable than full-length texts, Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Sixth Edition is the antidote to dry, overwrought, and overly expansive writing guides. Wordsmith engages students, serves multiple skill levels, and teaches enduring writing techniques in a way that’s actionable, contemporary, hands-on, and fun.

Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Sixth Edition is a powerful tool for students and teachers alike. With appealing, topical readings and expanded writing exercises, the updated text empowers instructors to meet students where they are and engage their collective interests. A three-part layout allows the freedom to mix and match the writing chapters, grammar chapters, and readings. Pam Arlov’s structured yet flexible approach to writing encourages clarity and creativity. Her direct, conversational, student-friendly approach is used throughout, with light-hearted chapter openings that promote a positive and playful approach to learning.


Personalize Learning with MyWritingLab

MyWritingLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Within its structured environment, students practice what they learn, test their understanding, and pursue a personalized study plan that helps them better absorb course material and understand difficult concepts. In addition to the full eText activities directly from the text are available within MyWritingLab. These include the small scrawl written assignments, readings from the text, review exercises and more.


0133928578 / 9780133928570  Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays Plus MyWritingLab™ with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package, 6/e

Package consists of:

  • 0133944131 / 9780133944136  MyWritingLab with Pearson eText — Glue In Access Card
  • 013394414X / 9780133944143  MyWritingLab with Pearson eText — Inside Star Sticker
  • 0321974158 / 9780321974150  Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays

Table of contents



1. The Writing Process

The Writing Process






Expect the Unexpected

The Writing Process: Stephanie’s Paragraph

Writing for Right-Brained Writers


2. Preparing to Write


Prewriting Methods



Invisible Writing: A Computer Technique



Journal Writing

Progressive Writing Assignment


3. Writing Paragraphs: Direction

Characteristics of an Effective Paragraph

Topic Sentences: Setting the Direction of a Paragraph

Writing Topic Sentences That Fit

Where Should a Topic Sentence Go?

            Topic Sentence First

            Topic Sentence After an Introductory Sentence

Progressive Writing Assignment


4. Writing Paragraphs: Support 

Characteristics of an Effective Paragraph

The Difference Between Topic Sentences and Supporting Sentences

Support: Using Specific Detail

Recognizing Specific Detail

Using Specific Words

Making Sentences Specific

Progressive Writing Assignment


5. Writing Paragraphs: Unity and Coherence

Characteristics of an Effective Paragraph

Unity: Sticking to the Point

            Reinforcing Unity: The Summary Sentence

Coherence: Holding the Paragraph Together

            Transitional Expressions

            Repetition of Key Words and Phrases

Progressive Writing Assignment


6. Revising, Proofreading, and Formatting


Checklist for Revision


The Top-Down Technique

The Bottom-Up Technique

The Targeting Technique

Proofreading the Computer-Generated Paragraph


Handwritten Documents

Computer-Generated Documents

Progressive Writing Assignment


7. Showing and Telling: Description, Narration, and Example

Description, Narration, and Example in Action


Laying the Groundwork for Descriptive Writing

Sense Impressions

Spatial Order

Establishing a Dominant Impression

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Descriptive Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Descriptive Writing


Laying the Groundwork for Narrative Writing

Steps to Writing a Successful Narrative

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Narrative Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Narrative Writing


Laying the Groundwork for Writing Using Examples

The Short Example

The Sentence-Length Example

The Extended Example

Wordsmith’s Corner: Paragraphs Developed by Example

Topics for Practicing Writing with Examples

Mixed Methods Assignments


8. Limiting and Ordering: Definition, Classification, and Process

Definition, Classification, and Process in Action


Laying the Groundwork for Writing a Definition

Setting Up Your Definition Paragraph

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Definition Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Definition


Laying the Groundwork for Classification

Establishing a Basis for Classification

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Classification Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Classification


Laying the Groundwork for Process Writing

Organizing the Process Paper

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Process Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Process Writing

Mixed Methods Assignments


9. Examining Logical Connections: Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument

Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument in Action


Laying the Groundwork for Comparison and Contrast

Setting up a Comparison-Contrast Paragraph

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Comparison-Contrast Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Comparison-Contrast Writing

Cause and Effect

Laying the Groundwork for Cause-Effect Writing

Identifying Causes and Effects

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Cause-Effect Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Cause and Effect Writing

Argument and Persuasion

Aristotle’s Influence on Argument and Persuasion

Signs of Flawed Logic in Argument

Laying the Groundwork for Writing Argument and Persuasion

Taking Sides

Will You Change Anyone’s Mind?

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Argument and Persuasion Paragraphs

Topics for Practicing Argument and Persuasion

Mixed Methods Assignments


10. Writing an Essay

Parts of an Essay

Sample Essay

Meeting the Challenge of Essay Writing

Characteristics of an Effective Essay

The Thesis Statement: Direction

Writing the Essay

Getting Started: Introducing the Essay

The Body Paragraphs: Unity

The Body Paragraphs: Support

The Body Paragraphs: Coherence

A Graceful Exit: The Conclusion

Wordsmith’s Corner: Sample Essays

Topics for Writing Essays

Checklist for Revision


11. Writing Summary Reports

Writing a Summary Report

Five Steps in Writing an Article Summary

Step 1: Choose a Topic and Find Sources of Information

Step 2: Evaluate Sources of Information

Step 3: Read Your Article Thoroughly

Step 4: Draft Your Paper

Step 5: Format, Proofread, and Cite Your Source

Paraphrasing: An Essential Skill

Using Documentation Styles

Why Use a Documentation Style?

Brief Guide to the APA (American Psychological Association) Style

Formatting Your Paper

Preparing the Title Page

Referencing Sources within Your Paper

The References List

Brief Guide to the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

Formatting Your Paper

Referencing Sources within Your Paper

The Works Cited List

A Model Summary Report

Summary Report Assignments




12. Verbs and Subjects

Action and Linking Verbs

Action Verbs

Linking Verbs

Recognizing Verbs and Subjects

Finding the Verb

Finding the Subject

Recognizing Prepositional Phrases

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Puzzling Pairs

Review Exercises


13. Subject-Verb Agreement

The Basic Pattern

Problems in Subject-Verb Agreement

Prepositional Phrase between the Subject and the Verb

Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects

Subject Following the Verb

Compound Subjects

Review Exercises


14. Verb Shifts

Shifts in Tense

Avoiding Unnecessary Tense Shifts

Active Voice and Passive Voice

Uses of Active Voice and Passive Voice

Writing Sentences in Active Voice and Passive Voice

Correcting Shifts in Voice

Review Exercises


15.  Coordination and Subordination

Connecting Ideas through Coordination

Comma and FANBOYS

Semicolon and Joining Word

Connecting Ideas through Subordination

Creating Emphasis through Subordination

Review Exercises


16. Run-on Sentences

What Is a Run-on Sentence?

Correcting Run-ons

Method 1: Period and Capital Letter

Method 2: Comma and FANBOYS Conjunction

Method 3: Semicolon

Method 4: Semicolon and Joining Word

Method 5: Dependent Word

Review Exercises


17. Sentence Fragments

What Is a Sentence Fragment?

Dependent Clause Fragments

Verbal Phrase Fragments (to, -ing, and -ed)

Missing-Subject Fragments

Example and Exception Fragments

Prepositional Phrase Fragments

Review Exercises


18. Pronoun Case

Subject and Object Pronouns

Subject Pronouns

Object Pronouns

Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns

Intensive Pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns

Problems with Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns

Using Who and Whom

The Substitution Method for Whoand Whom

Who and Whom in Questions

Who and Whom after Prepositions

Review Exercises


19. Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Point of View

Pronoun Errors

Pronoun Agreement

 Problems in Pronoun Agreement

Pronouns and Gender Fairness

Pronoun Reference

No Antecedent


Pronoun Point of View

Review Exercises


20. Adjectives, Adverbs, and Articles


Adjective Forms: Positive, Comparative, and Superlative


Puzzling Pairs


Using A and An

Review Exercises


21. Parallel Structure

Parallel Structure

Parallel Structure in Sentences

Review Exercises


22. Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

Review Exercises


23. Capital Letters

Capital Letters to Begin Sentences

Capitalization of Words Referring to Individuals

Names and the Pronoun I

Family Relationships

Professional Titles

Capitalization of Words Referring to Groups

Religions, Geographic Locations, Races, and Nationalities

Organizations, Businesses, and Agencies

Capitalization of Words Referring to Time and Place

Months, Days, Holidays, and Seasons

Place Names

Capitalization of Words Referring to Things and Activities

School Subjects


Consumer Products


Review Exercises


24. Words Commonly Confused

Words Commonly Confused

Review Exercises


25. Word Choice

Word Choice

Slang and Textspeak



Review Exercises


26. Commas

Commas to Set Off Introductory Words, Phrases, and Clauses

Commas to Join Items in a Series

Commas to Join Independent Clauses

Commas around Interrupters

Commas with Direct Quotations

Commas in Names and Dates

Review Exercises


27. Other Punctuation

End Punctuation: Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Point

The Period

The Question Mark

The Exclamation Point

The Semicolon

Semicolon to Join Independent Clauses

Semicolon to Join Items in a List

Colons and Dashes: Formal and Informal Punctuation

The Colon

The Dash

Parentheses: Tools of Understatement

Review Exercises


28. Apostrophes

Apostrophes in Contractions

Apostrophes to Show Possession

Making Nouns Possessive

Distinguishing Possessives from Simple Plurals

Possessive Forms of Pronouns

Proofreading for Apostrophe Errors

Review Exercises


29. Quotation Marks, Underlining, and Italics

Quotation Marks to Signal Quotations

Direct Quotations

Indirect Quotations

Quotation Marks, Italics, and Underlining to Set Off Titles

Review Exercises


Grammar Review: Five Editing Exercises





Action Hero, Rulon Openshaw

A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much, Catherine Rampell

Running Through the Dark, Jennifer Sinor

Setting Boundaries, Cara DiMarco

Living at Warp Speed, Michael Ashcraft

Chop Suey, Ira Sukrungruang

Don’t Blame Me! The New “Culture of Victimization,” John J. Macionis

White Lies, Erin Murphy

One for the Books, Rheta Grimsley Johnson

Civil Rites, Caroline Miller

Conversational Ballgames, Nancy Masterton Sakamoto

I Wonder: Was It Me or Was It My Sari? Shoba Narayan


Published by Pearson (January 9th 2015) - Copyright © 2016