Evaluating Paragraph Unity

THE HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER
THE WRITING PROCESS
Organization: Evaluating Paragraph Unity (Exercise B)

Activity

Each of the following paragraphs contains sentences that are

irrelevant or unnecessary to the main point of the paragraph. The

sentences do not support the opening point, and so the paragraphs

are not unified. In the interest of paragraph unity, such

sentences must be omitted.

Cross out the irrelevant sentences and put the numbers of

those in the spaces provided. The number of spaces will tell you

the number of irrelevant sentences in each paragraph.

1.                   How to Prevent Cheating

(1) Teachers should take steps to prevent students from

cheating on exams. (2) To begin with, teachers should stop

reusing old tests. (3) Even a test that has been used once is

soon known on the student grapevine. (4) Students will check with

their friends to find out, for example, what was on Dr.

Thompson’s biology final last term. (5) They may even manage to

turn up a copy of the test itself, “accidentally” not turned in

by a former student of Dr. Thompson’s. (6) Teachers should also

take some common sense precautions at test time. (7) They should

make students separate themselves–by at least one seat–during

an exam, and they should watch the class closely. (8) The best

place for the teacher to sit is in the rear of the room, so that

a student is never sure if the teacher is looking at him or her.

(9) Last of all, teachers must make it clear to students that

there will be stiff penalties for cheating. (10) One of the

problems with our school systems is a lack of discipline. (11)

Teachers never used to give in to students’ demands or put up

with bad behavior, as they so today. (12) Anyone caught cheating

should immediately receive a zero for the exam. (13) A person

even suspected of cheating should be forced to take an

alternative exam in the teacher’s office. (14) Because cheating

is unfair to honest students, it should not be tolerated.

The numbers of the irrelevant sentences are ___      ___

2.                      A Dangerous Cook

(1) When my friend Tom sets to work in the kitchen, disaster

often results. (2) Once he tried to make toasted cheese

sandwiches for us by putting slices of cheese in the toaster

along with the bread; he ruined the toaster. (3) Unfortunately,

the toaster was a fairly new one that I had just bought for him

three weeks before, on his birthday. (4) On another occasion, he

had cut up some fresh beans and put them in a pot to steam. (5) I

was really looking forward to the beans, for I eat nothing but

canned vegetables in my dormitory. (6) I, frankly, am not much of

a cook either. (7) The water in the Teflon pan steamed away while

Tom was on the telephone, and both the beans and the Teflon

coating in the pan were ruined. (8) Finally, another time Tom

made spaghetti for us, and the noodles stuck so tightly together

that we had to cut off slices with a knife and fork. (9) In

addition, The meatballs were burned on the outside but almost raw

on the inside. (10) The tomato sauce, on the other hand, turned

out well. (11) For some reason, Tom is very good at making meat

and vegetables sauces. (12) Because of Tom’s kitchen mishaps, I

never eat at his place without an Alka-Seltzer in my pocket, or

without money in case we have to go out to eat.

The numbers of the irrelevant sentences are ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

3.              Why Adults Visit Amusement Parks

(1) Adults visit amusement parks for several reasons. (2)

For one thing, an amusement park is a place where it is

acceptable to “pig-out” on junk food. (3) At the park, everyone

is drinking soda and eating popcorn, ice-cream, or hot dogs. (4)

No one seems to be on a diet, and so buying all the junk food you

can eat is a guilt-free experience. (5) Parks should provide

stands where healthier food, such as salads or cold chicken,

would be sold. (6) Another reason people visit amusement parks is

to prove themselves. (7) They want to visit the park that has the

newest, scariest ride in order to say that they went on the

Parachute Drop, the seven-story Elevator, the Water Chute, or the

Death Slide. (8) Going on a scary ride is a way to feel

courageous and adventurous without taking much of a risk. (9)

Some rides, however, can be dangerous. (10) Rides that are not

properly inspected or maintained have killed people all over the

country. (11) A final reason people visit amusement parks is to

escape from everyday pressures. (12) When people are poised at

the top of a gigantic roller coaster, they are not thinking of

bills, work, or personal problems. (13) A scary ride empties the

mind of all worries–except making it to the bottom alive. (14)

Adults at an amusement park may claim they have come for their

children, but they are there for themselves as well.

The numbers of the irrelevant sentences are ___ ___ ___

4.                    My Color Television

(1) My color television has given me nothing but heartburn.

(2) I was able to buy it a little over a year ago because I had

my relatives give me money for my birthday instead of clothes

that wouldn’t fit. (3) My first dose of stomach acid came when I

bought the set. (4) I let a salesclerk fool me into buying a

discontinued model . (5) I realized this a day later when I saw

newspaper advertisements for the set at seventy-five dollars less

than I had paid. (6) The set worked so beautifully when I got it

home that I would keep it on until stations signed off for the

night. (7) Fortunately, I didn’t get any channels showing all-

night movies, or I would never have gotten to bed. (8) Then I

started developing a problem with the set that involved static

noise. (9) For some reason, when certain shows switched into a

commercial, a loud buzz would sound for a few seconds. (10)

Gradually, this sound began to appear during a show, and to get

rid of it, I had to click the dial to another channel and click

it back. (11) Sometimes this technique would not work, and I had

to pick up the set and shake it to remove the buzzing sound. (12)

I actually began to build up my arm muscles shaking my set; I

could feel the new muscles working whenever I shot a basketball.

(13) When neither of these methods removed the static noise, I

would sit popping Tums and wait for the sound to go away. (14)

Eventually I wound up slamming the set with my hand again, and it

stopped working altogether. (15) My trip to the repair shop cost

me $62. (16) The set is working well now, but I keep expecting

more trouble.

The numbers of the irrelevant sentences are ___ ___ ___ ___

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."