Monday, October 6, 2008

Reading Like a Writer #4: The New York Times

1. Notice a Passage: This passage comes from an article in The New York Times entitled "Full of Doubts, U.S. Shoppers Cut Spending."

2. Passage: "Recent figures from companies, and interviews across the country, show that automobile sales are plummeting, airline traffic is dropping, restaurant chains are struggling to fill tables, customers are sparse in stores."

3. Name it: The author uses a descriptive list to explain what is happening in the economy.

4. Evaluate: This list is unique for several reasons. First it uses commas, but it doesn't use "and" as a final word to show the list is ending. This keeps from emphasizing one item on the list more than others. Also, I love that the author uses some great descriptive words to keep the list short, but very descriptive. Words like "plummeting," "struggling," and "sparse" all work to give continually vivid descriptions of what is happening in the economy without sounding redundant and also being more specific to the specific aspect of the economy they are describing. Automobile sales plummet, restaurants struggle to fill tables, customers are sparse. These words add a lot of value to the description while keeping it short and to the point.

5. When you're a teacher life comes at you like a freight train: papers need grading, lessons need planning, assignments need to be created, copies need to be made.

6. Using It: When I use a list I can use very descriptive words to make sure that each word describes the item on the list well, but also keeps my writing from being too repetitive.

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