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Real Skills Interactive A Brief Guide to Writing Sentences and Paragraphs,9781457654107

Real Skills Interactive A Brief Guide to Writing Sentences and Paragraphs

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 8/30/2013
Publisher(s): Bedford/St. Martin's


Real Skills Interactive offers practical coverage of sentence-to-paragraph level writing skills in a brief, interactive, and affordable format. The print component offers the essentials of Anker’s accessible writing instruction along with a number of focused grammar practice activities; additional exercises are available online in LearningCurve, adaptive, game-like quizzing that helps students focus on the material they most need help with.  As with all books in the Anker series, Real Skills Interactive motivates students with its message that writing is an essential and achievable skill and encourages students to connect what they learn with their own goals and with the needs and expectations of the larger world.

Author Biography

Susan Anker (BA, MEd, Boston University) brings a unique perspective to the teaching of the developmental writing course. She taught English and developmental writing before entering college publishing, where she worked for eighteen years: as a sales representative and English/ESL editor at Macmillan Publishing Company; as developmental English/ESL editor, executive editor, and editor in chief at St. Martin’s Press; and as vice president and editor in chief for humanities at Houghton Mifflin Company. In each of these positions, she worked with developmental writing instructors and students, maintaining her early interest in the field.  Since the publication of the first edition of Real Writing in 1998, Anker has traveled extensively to campuses across the country, continuing her conversations with instructors and students and giving workshops and presentations. She believes that the writing course is, for many students, their first, best opportunity to learn the skills they will need to succeed in college and achieve their goals.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Part One: College Thinking, Reading, and Writing

1. Reading and Critical Thinking: Keys to Successful Writing

Recognize What You Already Know

Improve Your Critical Reading Skills

Preview the Reading

Read the Piece, Finding the Main Point and Support

main point


Pause to Think


review the reading

build your vocabulary

Think Critically


2. Getting Ready to Write: Writing in College and Other Formal Settings

The Basics of Good Writing

Purpose and Audience: Consider Your Writing Situation

Main Point and Support

Paragraph Structure

The Writing Process

Narrowing and Exploring Your Topic

Narrow Your Topic

Explore Your Topic



mapping or clustering

keeping a journal

using the internet


Part Two: Writing Paragraphs and Essays

3. Writing Your Paragraph: How to Put Your Ideas Together

Make a Point

Support Your Point

Make a Plan

Write a Draft

4. Improving Your Paragraph: How to Make It the Best It Can Be

Understand What Revision Is

Get Feedback

Improve Your Support

Check the Arrangement of Your Ideas

Time Order

Space Order

Order of Importance

Title Your Paragraph

Check for the Four Basics of a Good Paragraph

5. Developing Your Paragraph: Different Ways to Present Your Ideas


Guided Practice: Narration

Guided Outline: Narration

Write a Narration Paragraph


Guided Practice: Illustration

Guided Outline: Illustration

Write an Illustration Paragraph


Guided Practice: Description

Guided Outline: Description

Write a Description Paragraph

Process Analysis

Guided Practice: Process Analysis

Guided Outline: Process Analysis

Write a Process-Analysis Paragraph


Guided Practice: Classification

Guided Outline: Classification

Write a Classification Paragraph


Guided Practice: Definition

Guided Outline: Definition

Write a Definition Paragraph

Comparison and Contrast

Guided Practice: Comparison and Contrast

Guided Outline: Comparison and Contrast

Write a Comparison-and-Contrast Paragraph

Cause and Effect

Guided Practice: Cause and Effect

Guided Outline: Cause and Effect

Write a Cause-and-Effect Paragraph


Guided Practice: Argument

Guided Outline: Argument

Write an Argument Paragraph

6. Moving from Paragraphs to Essays: How to Write Longer Papers

Essay Structure

Write an Essay

Narrow Your Topic

Write a Thesis Statement

Support Your Thesis Statement and Write Topic Sentences

Make a Plan

Write, Revise, and Edit

Part Three: Grammar, Punctuation, and Mechanics

7. The Parts of Speech: A Brief Review



Personal Pronouns

subject pronouns

object pronouns

possessive pronouns

Indefinite Pronouns

Other Types of Pronouns

reflexive and intensive pronouns

relative pronouns

interrogative pronouns

demonstrative pronouns

reciprocal pronouns


Action Verbs

Linking Verbs

Main Verbs and Helping Verbs





Coordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating Conjunctions


8. Complete Sentences: Key Parts to Know

Understand What a Sentence Is


Subject Nouns

Subject Pronouns

Simple and Complete Subjects

Single and Plural Subjects

Prepositional Phrases


Complete Thoughts

Six Basic English Sentence Patterns

Longer Sentences

Compound Sentences

Complex Sentences

Compound-Complex Sentences

9. Fragments: Sentences That Are Missing a Key Part

Understand What Fragments Are

Find and Correct Fragments

Trouble Spot 1: Fragments That Start with a Prepositional Phrase

Trouble Spot 2: Fragments That Start with a Dependent Word

Trouble Spot 3: Fragments That Start with an –
ing Verb

Trouble Spot 4: Fragments That Start with
to and a Verb

Trouble Spot 4: Fragments That Start with an Example or Explanation

10. Run-Ons and Comma Splices: Two Sentences Joined Incorrectly

Understand What Run-Ons and Comma Splices Are

Find and Correct Run-Ons and Comma Splices

Add a Period or a Semicolon

Add a Comma and a Coordinating Conjunction

Add a Subordinating Conjunction (Dependent Word)

11. Subject-Verb Agreement Problems: Subjects and Verbs That Do Not Match

Understand What Subject-Verb Agreement Is

Find and Correct Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement

The Verb Is a Form of Be, Have, or Do

Words Come between the Subject and the Verb

The Sentence Has a Compound Subject

The Subject Is an Indefinite Pronoun

The Verb Comes before the Subject

12. Verb-Tense Problems: The Past Tense and the Past Participle

Understand Regular Verbs in the Past Tense

Understand Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense

Understand Four Very Irregular Verbs

Understand the Past Participle

Past Participles of Regular Verbs

Past Participles of Irregular Verbs

Use the Past Participle Correctly

Present-Perfect Tense

Past-Perfect Tense

Passive versus Active Voice

Verb-Tense Reference Chart

13. Other Grammar Concerns: Problems with Pronouns and Modifiers


Make Pronouns Agree with Their Antecedents

indefinite pronouns

collective nouns

Make Pronoun References Clear

Using the Right Pronoun Case

sentences with more than one subject or object

pronouns used in comparisons

who versus whom

Make Pronouns Consistent in Person

Adjectives and Adverbs

Choose between Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and Adverbs in Comparisons

Good, Well, Bad, and Badly

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

14. Style, Word Choice, and Spelling: Writing Effective Sentences

Avoid Choppy Sentences


coordinating conjunctions



Balance Parallel Ideas

Parallelism in Pairs and Lists

Parallelism in Comparisons

Parallelism with Certain Paired Words

Avoid Common Word-Choice Problems

Vague Words


Wordy Language


Sexist Language

Use Commonly Confused Words Correctly

Follow These Steps to Better Spelling


15. Punctuation and Capitalization


commas between items in a series

commas in compound sentences

commas after introductory words

commas around adjective clauses

commas with quotation marks

commas in addresses

commas in dates

commas with names

commas with yes or no


apostrophes to show ownership

apostrophes in contractions

Quotation Marks

quotation marks for direct quotations

no quotation marks for indirect quotations

quotation marks for certain titles







capitalization of sentences

capitalization of names of specific people, places, dates, and things

capitalization of titles

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