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English Composition

English Composition

Author: Mackenzie W

Understand the major goals of an English Composition course.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about English composition. Have you ever wondered why writing is such an important skill? In this tutorial, we'll learn about the goals of English composition. We'll discuss the connection between reading and writing. We'll talk about different types of writing projects, and we'll discuss writing outside of academics.

We'll begin by discussing the goals of English composition. These are the reasons why it's important for us to study composition. The primary goal is for us to learn and practice writing skills. We learn how to compose a piece of writing from the beginning to the end, starting with brainstorming, working our way through the writing process, and ending with writing and revising a final draft of a piece of writing.

In the process, we work on other goals, such as learning to read and write in an academic context, becoming better-engaged readers, and building better critical thinking skills. When we work toward the goals of English composition, we build writing, research, and thinking skills that are also necessary for other academic contexts when studying other subjects, as well.

And these skills also help us in our professional lives. In the workplace, these are skills that we'll need. For example, we may need to write a résumé. English composition helps us with that. Or perhaps we need to construct a business email. Having thorough writing, thinking, and research skills helps us to accomplish these tasks in a professional setting, as well.

I had just mentioned that competition helps us to not only become better writers, but also better readers. Reading is a major part of composition, and here's why. When we read, we come up with new ideas, and we have new discussions, which is a big part of writing. Reading also helps us to come up with ideas for topics from our own writing. And when we read, we find information to support our topics and to add to our own arguments in our writing.

Now that we know about the goals of English composition, let's talk about the different types of writing projects that you're likely to encounter while studying composition. They include-- personal narrative, informative writing, persuasive writing, and argumentative writing. Let's begin by focusing on a personal narrative.

A personal narrative is a piece of writing that's driven by a story. Oftentimes, it's your own personal story. This could be a memoir or creative nonfiction. There are a variety of examples of personal narratives.

Let's take a look at an example of a personal narrative. I'm going to show you an excerpt from a piece of writing. Take a moment to pause the video and read the excerpt.

In this example, we can identify this piece of writing as a personal narrative because we see that there is an author who's discussing something that happened to her. It's a personal story. She's using the word "I" to describe the events that happened in the story. In her narrative, the author is describing what it's like to have cancer, and she's documenting her own experiences and reactions to the situation of having cancer.

Next, we have informative writing, or sometimes it's called expository writing. This is when the author communicates factual information, whether it be through analysis, compare and contrast, cause and effect. There are a variety of ways to communicate information. And that's the goal of informative writing.

Let's take a look at another example. This is an example of a piece of informative writing. Take a moment to pause the video, and review the example.

In this example, we see a fact being communicated from a reputable source, the Center for Disease Control. The author is communicating information to us from an outside source. The author is then following up on that information with additional information. This is how we know that this is a piece of informative writing. The author is communicating information to us.

The next type of writing project for us to discuss is persuasive writing. In a persuasive essay, the author attempts to convince the reader to agree with a certain position or to take action regarding a certain subject. Persuasive writing often focuses on a topic that is controversial or that not everyone agrees on. Take a look at this next essay example. Pause the video, and read the example, keeping in mind that this is a persuasive essay.

The reason that we know that this is an example of persuasive writing is that the author is arguing a position. The author argues that parents should not purchase pets for their children. And the author gives reasons why the reader should agree with him or her about this particular position.

The last type of writing project for us to discuss is called argumentative writing. It's similar to persuasive writing in that we choose one clear stance on a topic, and we convince the reader to agree with us on that stance of that topic. The difference is that with argumentative writing, we're arguing the validity of a piece of information, whether it be a fact, analysis, research, data. We're arguing that something is true or is not true.

Argumentative writing is most commonly found in an academic context, such as college classes. Take a look at the following example of a piece of argumentative writing. Pause the video, and read the example.

We know that this example is an example of argumentative writing because it's stating information from an outside source. The author is citing Cooking Light magazine and describing information that was published by that particular source. The author even alludes to the idea that the information is correct by providing his or her own interpretation of the information and using logic to explain why the information makes sense.

After discussing these four different types of writing projects, we see that research can play a role in each of them. And that's why we'll need to also learn how to complete research in order to fulfill the goals of English composition.

Part of the reason why it's so important to study composition is because studying composition helps us to build strong writing skills and solid critical thinking skills. And these skills help us not only in our academic and professional lives, but also in our personal lives. There are different experiences we encounter in which writing skills and critical thinking skills help us in our personal lives.

For example, if you were listening to a news piece, critical thinking skills help you to evaluate the validity of the news piece. Or if you're reading a blog, you can analyze whether or not the blog is helpful, useful, interesting. Maybe you're writing your own blog, and you decide what information to incorporate based on the audience of your blog. There are various examples of the ways in which skills that we learn through English composition help us in our daily lives.

In this tutorial, we learned about the goals of English composition. We discussed the connection between reading and writing. We talked about different types of writing projects, and we discussed writing outside of academics. Writing is an important skill. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.

Terms to Know
Academic Writing

Writing driven by research-based argument that expands human knowledge.

Expository Writing

Writing designed to explain, define, or describe.

Narrative Writing

Writing that is driven by story.

Persuasive Writing

Writing designed to sway its audience to accept a specific proposition or take an action.