Rhetorical Strategies

For your first writing assignment, you may choose one of the following rhetorical strategies: process, cause and effect, or compare & contrast.

Since you must write a standard college-level five-paragraph essay (at least), select your topic wisely. If you have reservations about one of the topics, please ask me. You will need to submit your topic to me for approval.

Process & Suggested Topics
Remember that you can develop your process essay in one of two ways: either a step-by-step or an explanation. You need to decide which option you need to use to best develop your topic.

If you would like more information about the process rhetorical strategy, please read the article “50 Great Topics for a Process Analysis Essay” at Thoughtco’s website, which also includes some process essay topics. If you do not like any of these topics, you may perform a Google search for “college-level process essay topics” or “process essay topics college level.”

Cause and Effect & Suggested Topics
Remember that cause and effect essays generally focus more on either cause or effect. Causes give the reason for an outcome and effects give the results of an outcome. In such a short paper, you need to decide on which you will give you main focus. For example, you could write about the results of your returning to college, but your introduction might briefly discuss the reason or reasons you returned to college; then, you would use the body paragraphs to focus on the
effects on your and your family’s life of returning to college.

If you would like more information about the cause and effect rhetorical strategy, please see the article “Cause and Effect Essay Topics” at Thoughtco’s website, which also includes some really interesting cause and effect essay topics suitable for a college-level essay.

Compare and Contrast & Suggested Topics
Remember that should you decide to write a compare and contrast essay, you need to focus most of your development on either comparing or contrasting your subjects. The purpose of your compare and contrast may be simply informative: you want to show how two seemingly different subjects have more in common (comparison) than meets the eye or want to contrast two subjects, showing how two seemingly similar subjects differ in important ways. You may want to compare to subjects to show how one is preferable to the other. Perhaps you are in the market to purchase a new computer, so you want to compare and contrast two computers to help you decide about the best option for you. In other words, do NOT compare or contrast the obvious just to compare or contrast. Have a clear purpose! Make sure to develop your points of comparison or contrast so that you consider all points of comparison or contrasts with both subjects.

You will also need to decide if you want to organize your essay using point-by-point or subject-by-subject organization. Generally, I prefer that you use point-by-point since your essay will be longer than a simple paragraph, but you can decide what organization method works best for your topic. For more information about the compare and contrast essay, read the article “Beef Up Critical Thinking and Writing Skills: Comparison Essays” at Thoughtco’s website.

See the below potential topics. If you do not like any of them, you may perform a Google search for “college-level compare and contrast essay topics.”

• Compare and contrast (or compare or contrast) high school and college with a high school student audience in mind.
• Real-life dating versus online-dating with a focus on which one is better.
• Homeschooling versus Public schooling
• Two different computers
• Two different types of investments (for example, company 401K versus IRA)
• Working from home versus working at the office

Composition Requirements

• Your essay must have at least five well-developed paragraphs.
• It must have between 950 – 1000 words.
• The introduction must have an attention-getting hook and effectively introduce your thesis statement, which should be the LAST sentence.
• Each body paragraph must have an easily identifiable topic sentence (generally the first or second sentence of a body paragraph), substantial major and minor details, and transitional words or phrases indicative of the rhetorical strategy you have chosen.
o (Remember; each rhetorical strategy has its own set of common transitional words or phrases.) While you must indicate in your heading which rhetorical strategy you chose, I should have no problem determining the rhetorical strategy as I read.
• You must format your essay using MLA style.
o Be sure to use one-inch margins all the way around (Word default), true double spacing throughout your entire document, the Times New Roman, 12-point font size, and an inserted page number, not header, preceded by your last name and one space.
o Please see the MLA websites listed in Blackboard if you do not know how to format an MLA style essay.

What to Avoid:
• First person pronouns (I, we, us, our, ours, my, mine)
• Second person pronouns (you, your)
o If you want to mention a personal issue, you must talk about yourself in third person. For example, I would
write, “Jennifer enjoys making her mother’s meatloaf,” NOT “I enjoy making my mother’s meatloaf.”
• Contractions (it’s, can’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, et cetera)
• The use of the pronoun it as a placeholder (It makes me angry when I see drivers texting. What is it? What makes me angry? Revise it: Seeing drivers texting makes me angry.)
• The use of the word there as a placeholder (There are three items I like to take to the beach. Where are those three items? Revise it: I like to take three items to the beach.)
• Passive voice (This process is performed by nurses daily. Avoid this wordiness and unnecessary linking verb. Revise: Nurses perform this process daily.)
You must use one quotation from any published sources for this first essay. You may locate a quotation from one of the essays we read, or you may research your topic.

A Word About Plagiarism:

If you submit someone else’s words or change only one or two words or copy someone else’s ideas without providing a parenthetical citation and quotation marks where applicable, you will receive – at the least – a zero for your plagiarism.

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