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good; it was as slack as journalism, but not so inspired; it was excellent stuff misused, and the defects stood gross on it like humps upon a camel."

Happy is he who can see his defects; happier he who, with stout heart and infinite patience, toils incessantly to overcome them.


35. Write a short theme on any subject based on experience. Follow the directions already given, and in revising take special pains to see that each sentence has a subject and a predicate. Bring your theme to class and act as critic of your own work, using the suggestions given in Exercise 30.1

36. Exchange themes and, as examiner of another's work, write your criticisms in the margin of the paper.

For example, against poor penmanship write "Pen "; against an incomplete sentence, "S"; against a line containing a misspelled word," Sp." (See the suggestion about using section numbers on p. 29.)

1 It is to be hoped that the teacher will take every opportunity to help pupils criticize their own compositions. In connection with this first exercise it will aid the pupils to have some papers read aloud and discussed, before they are asked to criticize their own work.



20. The Composition as a Unit. By this time certain matters concerning composition should be clear. In the first place, our purpose as students of English composition is to learn how to express our own thoughts. It follows, therefore, that whether we talk or write, it is our task to put our thoughts together in our own way, not in another's. Hence, as a rule, we shall speak or write from experience. Naturally, it is important for our hearers or readers that we discuss but one subject, or part of a subject, at a time; and in order that our composition, whether oral or written, may be a unit, we shall do well- by way of preparation to talk over the subject with some one, and to make a careful outline of what we have to say.

21. Making the Outline. To make a plan, or outline, of what we are going to say or write is to express each thought in tabular form as concisely and accurately as possible. Plans of this kind are as valuable in the preparation of a history recitation or of a three-minute talk in the English class as they are in writing, and we should form the habit of using them frequently.

In the first place, the plan should be clean-cut. The main thoughts should be distinct from one another; for example:

A Sunday in the City

I. The quiet of the morning.
II. The summons to church.
III. The morning service.
IV. The return home.

V. The afternoon outing.
VI. The strange ending of the day.

In the second place, the plan should be coherent; that is, the first topic should lead up to the second, the second to the third, and so on. The outline given above is coherent; the following is incoherent:

I. The morning service.

II. The afternoon outing.
III. The quiet of the morning.

In the third place, the plan should have climax; that is, the successive thoughts should increase in interest and strength. The foregoing six topics are arranged in the time order, but if the composition based on these is properly worked out, the effect of climax will be obtained also.

Finally, the topics should be similar in construction, and each subtopic should plainly be a part of the heading under which it is placed. See "II. The Fire" on page 33 and avoid anything like the following:

I. An accident.

1. The firemen are excited.
2. A fresh start.


37. Compare the two following outlines. Which would be the more helpful to you if you were to write on the same subject? Why? Has the second any advantage over the first? Make an outline of a theme on a similar subject.

I. The Fire

I. The wild rush of the small boys.

II. The arrival of the engines.

III. The crowd.

IV. The anxiety of the owners of the burning building.

V. The flames.

VI. The destruction of the building.

II. The Fire

I. The alarm.

1. General excitement.
2. An explosion.

II. An accident.

1. Excited firemen.
2. A fresh start.

III. A false alarm.

1. Angry firemen.
2. A disappointed crowd.

38. Read carefully the following selection, and be prepared to tell the incident in class. Make an outline that will help you in your talk.


Franklin was dining with a small party of distinguished gentlemen, when one of them said: "Here are three nationalities represented. I am French, and my friend here is English, and Mr. Franklin is an American. Let each one propose a toast."

It was agreed to, and the Englishman's turn came first. He arose, and, in the tone of a Briton bold, said, "Here's to Great Britain, the sun that gives light to all nations of the earth.”

The Frenchman was rather taken aback at this; but he proposed, "Here's to France, the moon whose magic rays move the tides of the world."

Franklin then arose with an air of quaint modesty, and said, "Here's to our beloved George Washington, the Joshua of America, who commanded the sun and moon to stand still - and they obeyed."

39. Which of the two following outlines is the more businesslike? Which would be the better to talk from? talk based on the second necessarily lack unity?

Would a

Make an outline of a one-minute talk on a subject suggested by either of the following:

Making a Kite

I. Picking out the sticks.
II. Making the frame.
III. Pasting on the paper.
IV. Making the tail.

V. Putting on the tail.

Making a Kite

I. A rainy day.


Materials for the kite. III. Constructing the kite.

22. Filling in the Outline. In your opening sentences be plain and direct, but try to arouse an interest in what is to come. As you continue, give most attention to those parts of the subject which you consider most important. If your outline is well made, it will aid you in holding the interest to the end.


40. Study the following composition, written by a pupil, and write answers to these questions:

1. What is the writer's purpose?

2. Do you see the value of arranging the sentences in three groups? 3. Has a fair amount of space been given to each group of details? 4. Does the theme hold your interest to the end?


They1 were lovely, bright red shoes, — just the kind to please a baby. They stood there on the floor quietly waiting to be claimed. Baby spied the two bits of red and at once decided to go and feel. He edged quickly along the floor and fearlessly grasped one bit of red. It didn't scratch like "Kitty." He pinched it;

1 Note that "they" does not refer to the title, although it may seem to.

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