ENG 4U 2011: General to Specific and a Field Trip to the Library

Because your first assignment is a series of introductions, I thought we should work with the most common form.

The General to Specific method can be used in a variety of situations, but it is most common in the introductions to essays. The writer uses a general to specific introduction to move the audience from a general discussion of the topic to a specific and clear thesis. Here are some examples:

Topic The presidency of George Bush The film Toy Story 3
Potential beginning The importance of the Presidency How animated films have become mainstream
Narrowing the topic What American voters want from a President Why animated films are so popular with film studios (easier to produce sequels)
Thesis Despite his initial promise, George Bush did not live up to the expectations of the American people. While Toy Story 3 features the same lovable characters as the first two films, the story fails to capture the hearts of the viewers.

Your task:
Choose one of the thesis statements below, and write an introduction that will move the reader from the general to the specific (the thesis). You are NOT writing the essay itself.

  • Despite the distance between users, social media provides suprisingly complex and meaningful ways for users to communicate.
  • Publishing lies or slander on the internet is not a crime, but it should be.
  • Sadly, our culture tends to focus on the worst qualities of professional athletics, thus ignoring the true value of sport.


Meanwhile, in the library…..

Today, I want you to look for examples of writing requirements in the field of your choice. The easiest way to begin this process is to search for University/College, writing, and the field of your choice. For example. if you plan to go into science, type the following into Google: University writing science.

A few more tips:

  • If you are unsure about what you want to study, choose a field that you find interesting
  • Double-check the URLs to make sure they come from a university website, such as a writing centre.
  • While what you find will vary from discipline to discipline, look for structural requirements, introduction styles, and the thesis

Keep track of your findings in any way you feel is appropriate. When I conference with you next week about your response to Closing of the American Mind, I will ask you some questions about writing requirements in the program of your choice.

All done?

Several assignments this semester are based on a comparative essay in which you examine two novels. If you have time, start looking today. Something to think about:

  • you may find newer novels more engaging, but their “newness” presents a problem for you. You won’t find many critical sources about a novel published in the last five years. On the other hand, an older novel may seem dated to you, but at least you will have a wealth of secondary sources available.

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