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Introduction to

English III AP:

A Survey of British Literature


AP Language Composition

(overview: first trimester, week one)

*this page also provides guidelines for the entire year

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Instructor: Jaimie Crawford

  • Time Allotment: First Week of School
  • Class Texts and Materials on the Page: H&B's Reading for Writers, Orgel's Vocab List; the information on this page has been gathered from AP Conferences--particular thanks to Tom Humble, AP presenter and Conni, Mary, and Gayle on the AP online list. Original sources are cited whenever possible.

Reading: “How to Say Nothing in 500 Words” (RFW p.61)

Overview of Composition Test: This test will be given on the Monday of the second full week of school. It is your responsibility to learn the terms on this page for this introductory test; you may access the Literary Term Glossaries to procure definitions for the literary term list as well. Below is an outline of the information you will be tested on. Be able to give examples or to identify the following:

Grammar/Verbal Diagnostic Test: This multiple choice test will be before the third week of school and consist of three parts:

PSAT WRITING Style Questions-Look at College Board's samples
GRAMMAR: structure, mechanics, and usage-Look at these sites to review
CHECK OUT Grammar Rock!

*Writing Prerequisites:
a. clear thesis (read “The Thesis” by Sheridan Baker RFW )
b. logical organization (read “How to Write Clearly” RFW

“WritingSuccessful Paragraphs“RFW)
c. correct grammar (see Strunk and White Online)
d. sound sentence structure (see Strunk and White Online)
e. interest (read “How to Write Narration” RFW
“How to Write a Description” RFW )

*Essay Grading: AP rubric will be used whenever applicable.

  • Relating AP Essays: Woolf Essay in Cliffs Lang. AP Preparation Guide
  • Evaluation: 30%: AP Essays in Class; 30%: Writing Assignments;
    20% Unit Test 10% Quizzes and Reading Comprehension; 10% Attitude and Participation

Notes compiled from
-Tom Humble, AP Presenter and
-Internet Guide to Critical Writing



-delineate major points of work
-maintains proportions of original work's ideas
-avoid personal comments
-documents borrowed material
-logical, fluent

Definition and Classification

-categorize: genus, differential, historical, philosophical,ideological, social perspective
-define by example, context, analogy, opposition, experience, tradition, description, etymology
-identify limiting characteristics
-appropriate details and examples, vivid language


The five-paragraph essay is one type of classification paper. What was so magical about the number five anyway?
Nothing, really. In analyzing literature, however, students often find examining moments in the beginning, middle,
and end of a novel or play makes good structural sense. One can do a thorough analysis of the manner in which an
idea, a theme, image, etc. affects the entire piece of literature. At some point in history, a teacher may have insisted
on three body paragraphs as a way of insuring that students thought through their ideas thoroughly. Three body
paragraphs is not a mandatory number for all topics.

Argument of Causal Reason


-distinguish between cause to effect OR effect to cause
-considers singular or multiple cause
-recognize COMPLEXITY in causation
-avoids causal fallacies: post hoc, singular cause, experiment without controls, small sample, overstating case
-develops with appropriate details and causal language (because, since, therefore,consequently, etc.)
-analyzes a variety of causes for single event OR synthetic-explains a variety of different elements of some event.


In this structure, the writer anticipates the reader's major objections to an argument and deals with them in the
concession section. Let's say you set out to prove that some novel is still relevant in this day and age. Your
reader's most effective argument against you would be that the book was old-fashioned, dated. Therefore,
you anticipate that objection and deal with it before turning to the assertion, evidence which you feel proves the opposite.

Choose one of two structures:

1) State the concession in your introduction, making the thesis the assertion.


2) Use the mechanism to write a four-part essay:


Body Paragraph #1 (in which you discuss the major points your critics might make)

Body Paragraph #2 (in which you then, in the same order, dismiss those points by asserting that your view of
things on each point is a better way to interpret the book)


Remember: Always work outward from the topic to a structure. If you begin with a structure and try to make
a topic fit it, you may find some of your ideas won't fit into the structure. If you find yourself in such a mess,
you'll know you need to find another structure which fits your topic.

Literary Analysis

-states title,author, date, genre, thesis
-suggests in introduction how the essay will be organized
-textual PROOF, supporting details
-maintains focus, app. tone
-uses transitions, strong action verbs
-draws conclusions in each paragraph AND in final paragraph

Character Analysis

-similar to literary analysis BUT states thesis which asserts characters dominant impression upon the reader;
supports this impression by: actions, thoughts, physical description, quotes,others' reactions



-thesis incorporates similarities/differences
-focus on relationship between subjects, provides details for this relationship
-uses effective trans. to connect similarities and differences
-maintains parallel structure -summarizes similarities/differences in concluding paragraph
-discusses the significance of comparison


Let's say you were asked to write an essay on the way in which two authors treated the same theme, say, people in times
of economic hardship, perhaps Dickens in Hard Times and Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath. First, you would need to
think of your sub-topics. In this essay, those might be setting (milltowns in Victorian England, the Dustbowl during
the Depression in the U.S.A.), characters, and events. Your essay would then have one of two structures.
The simpler one is:


Dickens...setting, characters, events

Steinbeck...setting, characters, events


In the section on Steinbeck, you would be comparing and contrasting his use of those elements with Dickens' way.
A more sophisticated structure, but one which some writers have difficulty handling effectively, would be:


Setting (Dickens and Steinbeck)

Characters (Dickens and Steinbeck)

Events (Dickens and Steinbeck)


Don't forget that, in writing this paper, you are analyzing something you've set up in the introduction that Dickens
writes better about people in a tough economic situation, for example, or that Steinbeck is a more realistic writer than
Dickens and keep that focus always before your reader in the body paragraphs.

Tone terms
tone shift from paragraph to paragraph
Diction-related terms
hyperbolic and oratorical
level of diction
specialized diction
paucity of qualifying adjectives
adverbs modifying adjectives
words "A," "B," and "C" to modify "D"

Syntactical terms

compound sentence
short simple sentences
parallel constructions
balanced sentence structure
Logical terms
main thesis
sarcastic interpretation
authorial aside
aesthetic quality
point of view
first person immediacy
concrete evidence
rhetorical question
author as impartial arbiter
imperious recommendation
extended metaphor
addressing audience
citations from well known authorities
dramatic incident
contrasts of opposites
*ad hominem* argument
compare and contrast
cause and effect
extended analogy
anecdotal narration
extended definitions
fact and assumption
chronology of events
Reading terms
interpretation of lines
Figurative language terms
simile and metaphor
mixed metaphor
metaphorical language
heroic dimension

Conventional uses of language

reference ("master" in lines 14-27 refers . .)
ambiguous reference
antecedent of "it" in lines 11, 12, and q24
dangling participles
person shift
verb tense shift
The phrase in context
helps establish
can be interpreted as
suggests that
is probably intended to
The function of
the phrase
this quoted sentence
the *primary* function of the second paragraph
the word "then" in paragraph seven
this metaphor
the fifth paragraph to whole essay
this sentence in the paragraph
primary purpose
use of images
created impression
assumption that the audience is


(How to organize your analytical essay?)

FIRST: Read the passage once; identify the speaker, situation, tone, and purpose.

NEXT: Scan for the following; after finding these devices--ask yourself how they relate to the purpose of the speaker.

organization of passage:
-is there one unifying image
-deductive or inductive argument
-what is the sentence structure
-diction (connotative, denotative, euphemisms, pejoratives)
-imagery (metaphors, sensual imagery,personification) -syntax
binary qualities-
-point of view
-personal test.
-expert test.
-logical fallacies: ad hominem, begging the question,
either-or fallacy, false analogy, hasty generalization,
non sequitur, post hoc argument, questionable
authorization, red herring
verbal level
-denotation (lit)
-figurative language:
metaphor, simile ,
understatement, euphemism,
hyperbole, personification,
onomatopoeia, apostrophe, epithet


-Given to me by a member of the AP online discussion

1. subject verb
1a. s v ; however, s v
1b. s v , but s v; s v
1c. s v; s v; s v .
2. s v do or sc ; s do or sc
3. independent clause : independent clause.
general statement (idea) : specific statement (example).
Little Red Riding Hood lied: wolves don't eat grandmothers; they eat elk, bison, and deer.
No one, however, would deny that George Patton did what generals were
primarily expected to do: he won battles.
4. a series without a conclusion
a, b, c
a and b and c
a, b, and c
5. a and b, c and d, e and f (paired items)
6. an introductory series of appositives
appositive, appositive, appositive--summary word s v
The petty, the fallen, the cowardly--each played a role on the stage of Cervantes' vast human drama.
7. an internal series of appositives or modifiers
s appos. appos. appos. v
The necessary qualities for political life --guile, ruthlessness, and garrulity--he learned by carefully studying his father's life.
7a. s appositive v
A sudden explosion--artillery fire--signaled the beginning of a barrage.
A familiar smell, fresh blood, assailed his jungle-trained nostrils.
8. dependent clauses in a pair or in a series (at beginning or end of
If....., if......, if......, then s v
When......, when......, when..... s v
s v that....., that........
When he smelled the pungent odor of pine, when he heard the chatter of jays interrupting the silence,
when he saw the startled doe, the hunter knew he had
reached the center of the forest.
9. repetition of a key term
s v key term or repeated key term
s v key term -- repeated key term
s v key term, repeated key term
She was a good mother, providing a good home for her good children.
He was a cruel brute of a man--brutal to his family and even more brutal to his friends.
9a. variation: same word repeated in parallel structure
s v repeated key word in same position of the sentence
The government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.
10. emphatic appositive at end, after a colon
s v word: the appositive (the second naming).
Anyone left abandoned on a desert should avoid two dangers: cactus needles and rattlesnakes
10 a. a variation: appositive
s v word -- the appositive (echoed idea or second meaning)
The relatively few salmon that make it to the spawning grounds have another old tradition to deal with --male supremacy.
11. interrupting modifier between s and v
s, modifier, v
s -- modifier -- v
s (modifier that whispers) v
A small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, can make millions think.
11a. a full sentence as an interrupting modifier
s (a full sentence) v
s --a full sentence -- v
Juliet's famous question--early in the balcony scene she asks, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
--is often misunderstood; she meant not "where" but "why."
12. introductory or concluding participles
participial phrase , s v
s v , participial phrase
Guarding us with their powerful guns, the heavily armed soldiers at the Rio
conference looked ominous.
The heavily armed soldiers guarding us with their powerful guns at the Rio
conference looked ominous.
13. a single modifier out of place for emphasis
Modifier , s v
Frantically, the young mother called for help.
The general demanded absolute obedience, instant and unquestioning.
14. prepositional phrase before s v
Into the arena rushed the brave bulls to defy death and the matador.
Into the valley of death rode the six hundred
15. object or complement before s v
His kind of sarcasm I do not like.
Up went the steps, band went the door, round whirled the wheels, and off they
rattled. (Charles Dickens, THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP)
15a. complete inversion of normal pattern
object or complement or modifier v s
Down and the street and through the mist stumbled the unfamiliar figure.
16. paired construction
Not only s v , but also s v
Just as s v , so too s v
The more s , the more s v
The more the Texas Ranger searched through the Hill Country, the more elusive the trail of train robbers became.

16a. a paired construction for contrast only

A " this, not that" or "not this but that" construction
Genius, not stupidity, has limits.
The judge asked for acquittal --not conviction.
I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail.
17. dependent clause as a subject or object or complement
s (dependent clause as subject) v
s v (dependent clause as object or complement)
How he could fail is a mystery to me.
He became what he aspired to be.
18. absolute construction (nouns plus participle) anywhere in sentence
absolute construction , s v
s, absolute construction , v
His blanket being torn, Linus cried on Charlie Brown's shoulder.
The storm, its fury abated, lights the way.
19. the short simple sentence for relief or dramatic effect
s v
But then it happened.
Jesus wept.
The buck stops here.
20. A short question for dramatic effect
(Interrogative word) auxiliary verb s v ?
interrogative word standing alone ?
question based solely on intonation ?
auxiliary verb s v ?
Why did he go?
James flunked modern dance?
Have you guessed?
20 a. the deliberate fragment
Now, on with the story.
Fair enough.
All to no avail.
But how?

A Few Names of Other SENTENCE STYLES:

A.The segregating style of serial structure "One ring is always bigger
than three. One rider, one aerialist, is always greater than six."
B.The freight-train sentence in serial structure--paratactic "In a week or
two, all would be changed, all (or almost all) lost; the girls would wear
makeup, the horse would wear gold, the ring would be painted, the bark
would be clean for the feet of the horse, the girl's feet would be clean
for the slippers that she'd wear. All, all would be lost."
C.The triadic sentence in serial structure "Out of its wild disorder comes
order; from its rank smell rises the good aroma of courage and daring; out
of its preliminary shabbiness come the final splendor."
D.The centered sentence in hierarchic structure "The last time I visited
New York, it seems to have suffered a personality change, as though it had
a brain tumor as yet undetected."

Writing Effectively: Getting Started on a Paper
The Introduction and Body

The Introduction:

1. An introduction is a contract between writer and reader. The writer promises to deliver the goods
described in the introduction.

2. An introduction should set up an essay about one key idea only. This paragraph makes clear the
paper will be about one subject only.

3. An introduction should contain carefully-chosen sub-topics.

These sub-topics make the general idea of the essay more specific. They also move from broad to narrow
(country to individual) and, depending on how the writer interprets things, from least important to most or
most important to least or both, if the writer's point is that one audience viewed the ideas one way and another
audience viewed them differently.

4. An introduction need not be fancy.

State your thesis and give your reader a general idea of the direction in which you are headed.
Writers encounter problems in this area in one of two ways.

The first is by writing an unnecessarily-long preamble to the thesis.

For example, “Throughout the ages, British literature has been popular. Shakespeare is probably
the most popular British author...” etc

The second way writers create overly-long introductions is by placing in the introduction material which
should go in the body paragraphs.

By doing this the writer will have summarized the entire essay. One has no reason to read any further.

5. Remember, you are setting out to analyze something, not merely to show that something is present in
a piece of literature.

Be sure there is a relationship between the presence of the subject matter and the impact it has on the work
of literature is present. Therein lies the ideal cause-and-effect relationship at the heart of an essay because X
is present in this piece of literature, Y is possible.

The following introduction works.

Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, shows how man's interaction with the supernatural leads to unnatural acts,
which in turn cause disastrous repercussions in the natural world. The characters of the play put their trust
in the predictions of witches and fill their lives with unnatural acts of brutal murder. The con-sequences are
dire; all aspects of natural life that were thought stable night and day, sleep, and mental stability plunge into
tumult. The manner in which Shakespeare succinctly dramatizes this chain of events makes it possible for
a modern viewer to enter the world of the play.

It works because the author of this essay establishes a connection which allows for a greater depth of analysis.

6. Design your introduction so you have something to return to in your conclusion.

7. Set up your introduction correctly or be prepared for the consequences.

Remember: if you stumble in the introduction, your essay is in trouble. Critical essays have a momentum of
their own once you set them in motion.

The Body of the Essay:

Most of you find writing the middle of an essay the easiest task and for a good reason. As we have seen,
if you have set up your introduction correctly, the essay should, in part, write itself. What, then, should you
focus on in the body paragraphs?

1. Careful handling of sub-topics.

In choosing sub-topics, always consider importance and order. Your reader should be able to tell from the way
you've chosen and arranged your sub-topics exactly what you're thinking.

For example, if you've chosen sub-topics you felt were equally important, the reader should be able to see that
thought pattern. If you've chosen sub-topics you felt were of unequal importance, the reader should be able to
spot that fact also, as well as some pecking order, from the way you discuss them, from least important to most
or the other way around, for example.

2. Write topic sentences which allow you to analyze.

Topic sentences are analogous to theses. If you create a weak topic sentence at the start of a paragraph, your
paragraph is in just as much trouble as an essay proceeding from a weak introduction.

3. Wise selection of passages from the text to illustrate your points.

The way to avoid a paper which remains a series of shallow observations is to support observations with your text.
Direct your reader's attention to certain brief moments of the story, and analyze how they work.

4. Effective use of transition.

A good place to begin may be studying a list of transitional words in a grammar text. Then, think of ideas,
sentences, and paragraphs as structures which need bridges between them for the reader to cross. Practice
pulling part of one sentence down into the next to create a kind of bridge. Practice making reference back to
the end of the previous paragraph when you begin a new one. Your goal should be a smoothly-flowing text
from the first sentence to the last.

5. Balance amongst the parts of your essay.

Your research paper involves a comparison/contrast essay between two poems. Say, you've finished a complete
draft of your paper and sat back to go over it. In doing so, you take a visual fix and discover the section on the
second poem is twice as long as that on the first or that the conclusion is considerably longer than either section
of the body. Chances are you need to re-think your essay. Occasionally, such unusual proportions may be
appropriate. For example, if your main point is that one poet is much more skillful than

another, you may "dismiss" the first writer's work and go into greater detail showing why the other is better.
As a general rule, however, some kind of logic should be readily apparent in the appearance of an essay. If you
can't spot such a logic when you take your visual fix, re-think your essay.

Essay Grading: AP Language Analysis Rubric


Is rich in form and content, marked by stylistic finesse.

Displays careful organization and development.

Has an engaging opening paragraph.

Uses skillful and smooth transitions.

Has a strong closing paragraph that is thematically related to the opening.

Exhibits phrasing that is tight, fresh, and highly specific.

Effectively analyze how the rhetorical strategies in each excerpt achieve the author's purpose.


Recognize how specific strategies (for example, specific types of syntax, tone, and diction) contribute to the writer's purpose.

Provides a clear, consistent and authentic voice.

Uses accurate and particularly vivid diction.

Varies syntax to enhance the essay’s purpose.

Has a clear tone that enhances the essay’s purpose.

Imparts a feeling of unity and clarity.

Makes the author rise above "the pack" by providing a unique point of view and/or topic.

Contains no (or very few) errors in grammar or mechanics.

A 6-7 PAPER:

Is significantly more than merely competent. 

Delivers substantial information.

Has a strong opening. 

Contains specific points that are logically ordered and unified.

Adequately analyze how the rhetorical strategies achieve their author's purposes.
Discusses specific rhetorical strategies and their connection to the essay's purpose but not in as much depth as 8-9 papers.

Has an authentic, clear voice.

Has a closing paragraph that is thematically related to the opening.

Transitions are mostly smooth. 

Syntax is pleasingly varied.

Diction is fairly concise and precise, but not particularly vivid.

Few errors in grammar/mechanics.


Is generally competent:  meets the minimum terms of the assignment.
Reasonably organized.
Lacks a sense of an authentic voice, often relies on cliches or overused expressions.
Analyzes strategies but the development of these strategies is limited or inconsistent.


Focus may be unclear or their analysis insufficiently developed.


A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but usually the prose in 5 essays conveys their writers' ideas more or less clearly.


Inadequately respond to the task.


Analysis of rhetorical strategies and effectiveness is limited in accuracy or purpose.


Misunderstands purpose OR paraphrases more than analyzes

A clear organizational structure may not be fully realized.

Actual information often presented as vague generalities.  "Telling not showing."

Often lacks specific examples, or may contain specific examples but not clarifying explanations.

Opening does not draw the reader in, closing is merely a perfunctory wrap-up.

Demonstrates a beginning awareness of transitions between paragraphs, often choppy or abrupt.

Little variation in syntax:  predictable, repetitive, choppy sentences.

Diction occasionally marred by repetition, redundancy and imprecision.

Relatively free of serious grammatical/mechanical errors.

A 2-3 PAPER:

Indicates an attempt to respond to the assignment.

Development unclear or completely lacking.

Confusing, unclear, or ineffective organization; often rambling.

Weak opening and closing. 

Vague, imprecise or inappropriate diction.

Incorrect or awkward sentence structure, often interfering with clarity of meaning.

Some serious errors in grammar/mechanics.

Evidence of careful proofreading is scanty, if non-existent.