Latest announcements (This post will stay pinned to the top of the page)

1. The final draft of your research essay is due by the end of the day on May 17th. Read the instructions carefully, and remember to name your draft correctly and submit as a Word Document. Remember that if you want feedback on this draft you should follow the instructions to let me know. Also, in case there is any confusion, the paper is the final for our class. Every class is assigned a time and place for a final exam, but if you show up there you will be all alone.

2. Queens College really wants me to urge you to fill out Course Evaluations. You can do that here

3. I posted a few links that I think might be helpful, including an essay about cutting words from your writing. If I find additional resources I will add them to that post. The resources we’ve been discussing in class can also help you as you write and revise your formal draft. I recommend reviewing Chapter Three, “The Art of Quoting,” from They Say, I Say, as well as Chapter Eight, “Connecting the Parts,” and the essay “Acknowledgments and Responses.” Refresh your memory regarding the qualities of an effective thesis, or review the potential “argument paths” we discussed the other week, and the handout titled Choosing Verbs to Indicate Stance. You may want to review the handout on Effective Paragraphing in order to help you assess and improve your structure. You may also want to read the handouts on Transitions and on Section Titles and Signposts.

4. Remember that if you have completed my style quiz (the form asks for your email address) and you have not yet used a one-time pass, you can use this pass to grant you an extra 24 hours, penalty-free, to submit your final draft. To use your pass, follow the instructions in the post. You can still complete this quiz!

5. If you plan to write a revision of your lens analysis essay you should plan to upload your revision by the end of the last class day, today. Instructions for requesting to write a revision are posted here. You can also receive extra credit for visiting the Writing Center, and documenting your visit. If you would like to take either of these opportunities, please read the guidelines carefully.

6. If you are planning to write a research essay and you have not yet submitted a draft or been in touch with me, please get in touch to communicate your plans.

7. I posted an announcement about QC Voices, a student publication that you can write for, should you choose to apply and be accepted.


Posted in Announcements | Leave a comment

Some helpful links

A helpful review of pronouns and referents, and why making sure they match is important to clear writing:

An essay investigating the rise of single-quotes. (The point is, stick to double quotes, unless you are quoting something within a quotation.)

An essay by the novelist (and essayist) Tony Tulathimutte, about performing a “scalpel edit” on your writing i.e. reading for unnecessary words.

Posted in Other resources | Leave a comment

Apply to write for QC Voices! Yes, you!

Sharing this information for anyone who is interested:

QC Voices is seeking writers! We’re a student publication that trains writers to work with editors to reach a large audience, on a topic of their choosing. Undergraduate and graduate students at Queens College are urged to apply immediately for this exciting opportunity, which will convene during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Each semester, a QC Voices writer publishes six columns and attends five workshops. We pay individuals $600 per semester-not only for their writing but for their contribution to our workshops. Also, during the 2019-2020 academic year, we’ve added a focus on podcasting, video essays, and other forms of digital writing.

To get an idea of the truly wide array of topics and styles we publish, follow the link to our QC Voices page ( and apply right away! If you have any questions, please email Gloria Fisk, Faculty Mentor, at

Posted in Announcements, Other resources | Leave a comment

Essay 3: Final Draft Guidelines

The goal of this exercise is to produce a revised and polished final draft of your scholarly research essay. To produce your final draft, you will extensively revise and develop your formal draft using lessons and strategies learned in class and suggestions provided in my feedback and from your peers.

Estimated time: 2-5 hours
Due by 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 17th


1. Prepare. Review the guidelines for the Scholarly Research Essay, and the guidelines for naming and formatting essay drafts in the course syllabus. Review any notes you’ve made for yourself and any feedback you’ve received from me, your classmates, or other readers.

2. Revise your final draft of 1800-2100 words. Make sure that you:

    • Establish a motive in your introduction by identifying an interpretive problem in your exhibit that you intend to explore, and asking a question (or two) to guide your inquiry.
    • State your thesis clearly somewhere in your essay and underline it. Your thesis should function as a response to your motive and question(s). It should probably appear in some form after your introduction and be restated in your conclusion. It should be debatable, supportable, and specific.
    • Develop and support your thesis with complete arguments in which you make claims, provide supporting evidence, and state the reason(s) why the evidence you’ve chosen supports your claims.
    • Acknowledge counterarguments when necessary.
    • Quote, paraphrase, and summarize information from your sources accurately and effectively, including proper MLA in-text citations wherever they are needed.
    • Organize your essay in paragraphs that are focused around main ideas, expressed in topic sentences.
    • Craft sentences that express your ideas as clearly as possibly.
    • Provide an original and informative title for your essay
    • Proofread carefully and follow all formatting guidelines.

3. Include (in this order)

    • your final annotated bibliography, after your essay. You should include a citation for your exhibit, but you do not need to write an annotation for it. Include annotations for all written sources from which you cite or paraphrase in your essay. Review the guidelines, which are updated with resources about formatting.
    • the P-A-S outline for your essay on a separate page.
    • a self-evaluation on a separate page in which you explain how you used feedback on drafts of this essay or previous essays to guide your revision choices. Name the handouts or model essays you reviewed during your revision process. List any outside help you used e.g. the Writing Center, Language Lab tutoring, classmates, family.

4. Submit. Name your final draft correctly and submit it as a Word document to:

If you have any trouble with this you can also send your Word document as an email attachment by the deadline, to

Important things to remember:

  • Your draft must be submitted as a Word document(doc/docx file) by the deadline in order to be counted as on time. Seriously.
  • Unless we have a prior agreement, or you are using a one-time pass, late drafts will be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade every 24 hours.
  • The syllabus states that each final essay must be accompanied by at least one draft. Unless we have made a prior agreement, if you do not hand in a preliminary draft at least 48 hours before the deadline for the final draft, your final essay grade will be lowered by one whole grade (e.g. from a B to a C).

Finally, if you would like feedback on this draft, you can either

  • send me an email with the subject “Final draft feedback” explaining that you would like feedback on your final research essay
  • bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the last day of class


Posted in Essay 3, Instructions for essay drafts | Leave a comment

In-class writing: With whom are you in conversation?

Think back to Mark Gaipa’s essay “Breaking into the Conversation,” where he uses the visual metaphor of a ballroom to explain the nature of an intellectual conversation in academic writing. What is the ballroom of your essay? In other words, what conversation(s) are you inviting into the space?

Choose a place in your essay where you introduce a source that is important to your main argument or developing theory. Which of Gaipa’s eight strategies do you think you are using?

Then, draw a picture of this “conversation,” that illustrates how you are engaging with this source, or how you intend to use it.

Posted in Essay 3, In-class writing | Leave a comment

Exercise 3.6

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the structure of the formal draft of your scholarly research essay, and to prepare for Thursday’s class.

Estimated time: 30 – 45 mins

Part 1: Read your classmate’s formal draft.

Download Hadia’s draft here. We’re going to do a model workshop together and afterwards we’ll move on to peer review in pairs. It is important to arrive on time Thursday in order to be respectful of your fellow writers’ hard work.

Part 2: Prepare

Bring a copy of your formal draft of Essay 3. Underline the topic sentence of each paragraph in your draft. Evaluate each paragraph to see whether it develops and supports the single, specific idea expressed in the underlined topic sentence.

Please note that you do not need to post anything online for this homework exercise; however, you must have your annotated draft-in-progress with you in class.

As we saw in Tuesday’s class, it is much safer to print your draft than to rely on Google Drive or Microsoft Word online. If you would like me to print your draft so it is available during class, you can upload it to this link:

If you choose this option, do your underlining on the copy you submit and please upload your draft by 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May, 9th.


Posted in Essay 3, Homework | Leave a comment

In-class writing: Return of the P-A-S outline

Part 1: Begin the P-A-S outline for your formal draft-in-progress. If you’ve completed your P-A-S outline, take this opportunity to revise it to be more specific. We’ll spend 15 minutes on this at the end of class.

To clearly explain what a paragraph is doing, you should specify what is being presented, analyzed or synthesized.

Write a single sentence that describes what each paragraph of your draft is doing in terms of PAS (presenting/analyzing/synthesizing) and what it is P/A/S-ing (an exhibit, idea, argument, theory, etc.). For example:

  • Presentation. This paragraph presents a summary of “Masters of Desire,” an essay exploring how American advertising reveals core features of American culture.
  • Analysis. This paragraph analyzes the wildebeest eyeballs in the center of the advertisement to argue that it is “monstrous” according to Cohen’s definition of the term.
  • Synthesis. This paragraph complicates the viewer’s understanding of the advertisement and draws a preliminary conclusion about the message of the advertisement.

You probably won’t have time to draft or revise your entire outline– that’s okay. Get as much done as you can by the end of class and post as a comment below.

Part 2 (Optional): Underline the topic sentence of each paragraph in your draft. If there isn’t a clear topic sentence, make a note to yourself. Is there a single sentence that could express the main point of the paragraph?


Posted in Essay 3, In-class writing | 2 Comments