Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Everyday Education

 


Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education  is a high school through college level writer's handbook that is a reference guide for writing essays as well as a refresher on punctuation, style, and usage. The handbook is 420 pages in length. I received for review a PDF copy to download. I would normally try to print out the material, but I decided against it due to it's length. You can also purchase this in a paperback version. 


Part 1: Introduction to Essays and Arguments includes:
  1. Arguments: Some Simple First Principles
  2. Setting Up the Argument: Definition (1)
  3. Definition (2): Defining Key Terms
  4. Deduction and Induction
  5. Organizing the Main Body of An Argument (I)
  6. Organizing the Main Body of An Argument (II)
  7. Paragraph Structure
  8. Paragraph Functions
  9. Writing Argument About Literary Works
  10. Sample Outlines For Essays and Research Papers
  11. Critical Approaches to Shakespeare 
  12. Some Criteria for Making Literary Evaluations
Part 2: Introduction to Usage and Style
  1. Phrases, Clauses, Sentences
  2. Words
  3. Basic Punctuation 
  4. Pronouns
  5. Parallelism or Parallel Structure
  6. Modifiers, Gerunds, Infinitives
  7. Clarity, Logic, Structure
  8. References and Bibliographies
  9. Basic Format for Essays and Research Papers
  10. Keyhole Essay Graphic 
It is pointed out in the beginning pages of the handbook that "to construct effective arguments in the modern western world, one must, first and foremost, have an understanding of the rules of reasoning. The major aim of an undergraduate education in all disciplines is to develop such an understanding in students." 

Part One is written in a way that students can follow with plenty of examples as well as exercises and opportunities to write based on what they learn in various writing genres. 

Here is the beginning section of Deduction and Induction. 

5.1 General Comments

We have already reviewed the most general characteristics of deduction and induction. You should therefore remember that, simply put, deduction begins with a general principle upon which we all agree and applies that to a specific case; induction, by contrast, starts with a collection of observations, measurements, research results (in short, collections of facts) and moves to a general conclusion from that collection of data.

The handbook uses many exercises to solidify topics discussed. One such activity is in the form of brain teasers that the student works through. The exercise is not to get the correct answer but to think about forms of reasoning to resolve difficulty. Another exercise is in recognizing potentially useful thesis statements. Students rate statements using a scale provided.  

Part Two is NOT an exhaustive reference. Students should reference other resources while writing in addition to this one. "As you will discover, writing is an art, not a science, and different handbooks will provide different emphases, depending on their audience." 

If you remember anything from your formative years it is that the CLAUSE is the basic unit of writing. A clause is made up of two or more words that contain a subject and a predicate. This second section is a great refresher for students. Many examples are given for each section such as,

2.25 Contractions or Omissions

The apostrophe also commonly indicates the omission of a letter in a shortened version of a word (e.g., do not, is not, they’re, we’re, he’s, and so on). Since these forms are not usually appropriate to a formal style and since the inexperienced writer commonly confuses them with other expressions, it is often better to avoid entirely this use of the apostrophe. In for- mal writing, keep the use of the apostrophe to indicate omissions to a minimum.

6.5 Use of the Superlative Form In the Comparison of Two Items

Do not use the superlative form of an adjective or an adverb when you are comparing only two items.

Of these two women, Nora is the strongest.

Since only two items (people) are involved in the comparison, use the comparative form of the adjective.

Of these two women, Nora is the stronger.





I had my daughter who is a senior in high school read through a majority of this handbook. She is both an avid reader and an aspiring author, and she is actually currently writing a book. She has taken literature courses throughout high school that have required quite a few papers. She has also been taught grammar from her aunt, who is an english professor throughout middle school into high school. Needless to say, she knows grammar inside and out! My daughter's take away from the handbook was that it was a great handbook for students needing help with writing and grammar. When I signed up for this review, I was hoping that this handbook would have been more on an advanced tool for my daughter's writing needs. Unfortunately, according to my daughter it was stuff that she had already learned knew and knew by heart. With that said, my daughter is NOT MOST STUDENTS. I definitely think that this handbook is a wonderful tool that will help many students. I know that this will be a great resource for some of my younger children in the coming years. I love the following quote.

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.
And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. 
Arthur Polotnik

Be sure to read what my Fellow Crew Members had to say about Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers. 

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