Approximately 56 pages long.
Chapter 1: AWA Introduction
The good news is that the AWA can be beaten.The essay topics are available for you to review beforehand. The structures for the AWA answers are simple and may be learned. In addition, while much GRE preparation may appear "useless" and without any merit beyond test day, the skills, reasoning tools, and techniques you learn for the AWA may be applied to any essay or persuasive writing. These skills will help you throughout business school and beyond.
Chapter 2 - Section 1: Analysis of Issue
The Analysis of Issue question asks you to discuss your opinion toward an issue. You will need to write a well-balanced analysis of the issue the test presents to you.
The most common topics relate to general business and public policy issues. Business issues include business ethics, marketing and labor. Government issues include regulatory and social welfare issues.
A question stem might look like this:
Evaluate the Argument
Pick out flaws in the argument by identifying its weaknesses:
For example, the GRE test may present a statement such as the following for the analysis of an issue:
In the above argument for analysis, the proposition is contained in the last sentence of the stimulus and so the analysis of the argument must focus on this sentence. They are trying to argue for the privatization of the postal system. Here is an outline of the basic points we will make to refute their argument.
I. The proposition regarding the privatization of the post office is based on two questionable assumptions and is most likely not true:
II. Postal markets cannot be distributed so that service to any given market is economical:
III. Private corporations are not necessarily more cost efficient than quasi-governmental corporations.
IV. The case for the privatization of the post office department is based on questionable assumptions.
Based on the outline, here is a sample essay:
Notice that this essay states two assumptions and then spends three paragraphs elaborating on the two main assumptions. The overall structure is tight (perhaps a few sentences could have been edited and paragraphs 2 and 3 condensed into one paragraph). Either way, this is a 5 or 6 essay.
Chapter 2 - Section 2a. Analysis of Issue: Content
Graders of the Analysis of Issue essay expect an essay that:
How do I write a well-balanced essay?
International Students: Read these American magazines as much as possible to see how Americans structure their writing and to stay updated on issues.
Chapter 2 - Section 2b. Analysis of Issue: Timing
Chapter 2 - Section 2c. Analysis of Issue: Structure
Structure is the most important part of your essay. Your essay must be written in a standard format with the standard logical transitions.
The template is just a guideline. You do not have to adhere to it. Often you will have to make changes to suit your argument.
1) Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)
Make sure to keep your introductory paragraph concise, strong and effective.
What the introductory paragraph should accomplish:
State your second reason (one only).
Provide rationale and/or evidence to support it.
Chapter 3 - Section 1: Analysis of Argument
What is an argument?
A strong argument tries to persuade the reader to accept a point of view. When writing an essay be sure to include the following in your argument:
When writing an argument is essential to both make a statement and then provide a foundation of evidence to back up this statement.
What is the Analysis of Argument?
Analysis of argument questions present a short argument on an issue. You are asked to analyze the argument and discuss how well it is reasoned. You will be looking for flaws in reasoning and weak use of evidence. You will have to consider the assumptions that underlie the writer's thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken his or her conclusion. It is your job to come up with evidence that would strengthen or refute the argument, or what changes would make it more sound.
How is it different than Analysis of Issue?
On Analysis of Issue questions you try to argue grand issues such as "Should China be in the WTO," or "Should parents have vouchers to send children to the school of their choice". Reasonable people could differ in opinion on Analysis of Issue, but no reasonable person would absolutely support something in an Analysis of Argument question. When you are doing Analysis of Argument questions, look for reasoning fallacies.
The people who grade the Analysis of Argument section for the GRE expect the following:
As in the case of the Analysis of Issue, the topic sentence of each paragraph must contain the germ of the idea that permeates the entire paragraph. Each example or illustration must connect to that idea using transitional markers such as for example, furthermore, therefore, thus or moreover.
Chapter 3 - Section 3a: Dissecting Arguments
Let's look at this example:
In the first part of the Analysis of Issue topic, the writer tries to persuade you of their conclusion by referring to evidence. When you read the "arguments" in these questions, be on the lookout for assumptions and poor logical reasoning used to make a conclusion.
The Question Stem
Question stems will ask you to decide how convincing you find the argument. You will be asked to explain why an argument is not convincing, and discuss what might improve the argument. For this task, you'll need to: first, analyze the argument itself and evaluate its use of evidence; second, explain how a different approach or more information would make the argument itself better (or possibly worse).
Attack the Argument
Each argument's stimulus has been intentionally "loaded" with flaws or fallacies that you should acknowledge and discuss. If you fail to see the more fundamental problems in the argument, you will not get a high score.
The purpose of the essay is for you to critique the reasoning in the argument. Your personal opinions are not relevant. Instead your essay needs to focus on flaws in the argument, and how the argument could be strengthened.
Chapter 3 - Section 3b: Finding Errors
The Usual Suspects: Common Logical Fallacies
There are seven logical errors that appear commonly in the essay questions. When writing your essay argument you should explicitly identify the logical flaw. These flaws also tend to occur in the critical reasoning section of the Verbal GRE, so your preparation here will benefit you when taking the Verbal section.
1. Circular Reasoning
Here, an unsubstantiated assertion is used to justify another unsubstantiated assertion, which is used to justify the first statement. For instance, Joe and Fred show up at an exclusive club. When asked if they are members, Joe says "I'll vouch for Fred." When Joe is asked for evidence that he's a member, Fred says, "I'll vouch for him."
2. The Biased-Sample Fallacy
The Fallacy of the Biased Sample is committed whenever the data for a statistical inference is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the population under consideration. The data drawn and used to make a generalization is drawn from a group that does not represent the whole.
Here is an argument that commits the fallacy of the biased sample:
ln a recent survey conducted by Wall Street Weekly, 80% of the respondents indicated their strong disapproval of increased capital gains taxes. This survey clearly shows that increased capital gains taxes will meet with strong opposition from the electorate.
The data for the inference in this argument is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the entire electorate. Since the survey was conducted of people who invest, not all members of the electorate have an equal chance of being included in the sample. Moreover, persons who read about investing are more likely to have an opinion on the topic of taxes on investment that is different from the population at large.
The Fallacy of the Insufficient Sample is committed whenever an inadequate sample is used to justify the conclusion drawn.
I have worked with 3 people from New York City and found them to be obnoxious, pushy and rude. It is obvious that people from New York City have a bad attitude.
The data for the inference in this argument is insufficient to support the conclusion. Three observations of people are not sufficient to support a conclusion about the entire population of a city.
4. Ad hominem
One of the most often-employed fallacies, ad hominen means "to the man" and indicates an attack that is made upon a person rather than upon the statements that person has made. An example is: "Don't listen to my opponent, he's a homosexual."
5. Fallacy of Faulty Analogy
Reasoning by analogy functions by making an unsubstantiated assumption when comparing two similar things. The fallacy assumes that since two things are alike in many ways, they will share another trait as well. Faulty Analogy arguments conclude that one similarity results in another, when in fact, there can be no way of inferring this extra similarity.
Here's an example of a Faulty Analogy fallacy:
Ted and Jim excel at both football and basketball. Since Ted is also a track star, it is likely that Jim also excels at track.
In this example, numerous similarities between Ted and Jim are taken as the basis for the inference that they share additional traits.
6. Straw Man
Here the speaker attributes an argument to an opponent that does not represent the opponent's true position. For instance, a political candidate might charge that his opponent "wants to let all prisoners go free," when in fact his opponent simply favors a highly limited furlough system. The person is portrayed as someone that they are not.
7. The "After This, Therefore, Because of This" Fallacy (Post hoc ergo propter hoc)
This is a "false cause" fallacy in which something is associated with something else because of mere proximity of time. One often encounters - in news stories- people assuming that because one thing happened after another, the first caused it, as with "I touched a toad; I have a wart; the toad caused the wart." The error in arguments that commit this fallacy is that their conclusions are simply claims and are not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence.
Here are two examples of the After This, Therefore Because of This Fallacy:
Ten minutes after walking into the auditorium, I began to feel sick to
The stock market declined shortly after the election of the president,
In the first example, a causal connection is posited between two events simply on the basis of one occurring before the other. Without further evidence to support it, the causal claim based on the correlation is premature.
The second example is typical of modern news reporting. The only evidence offered in this argument to support the implicit causal claim that the decline in the stock market was caused by the election of the president is the fact that election preceded the decline. While this may have been a causal factor in the decline of the stock market, to argue that it is the main cause without additional information is to commit the After This, Therefore, Because of This Fallacy.
This is the so-called black-or-white fallacy. Essentially, it says "Either you believe what I'm saying or you must believe exactly the opposite." Here is an example of the black-or-white fallacy:
Since you don't believe that the earth is teetering on the edge of destruction, you must believe that pollution and other adverse effects that man has on the environment are of no concern whatsoever.
The argument above assumes that there are only two possible alternatives open to us. There is no room for a middle ground.
9. The "All Things are Equal" Fallacy
This fallacy is committed when it is assumed, without justification, that background conditions have remained the same at different times/locations. In most instances, this is an unwarranted assumption for the simple reason that things rarely remain the same over extended periods of time, and things rarely remain the same from place to place.
The last Democrat winner of the New Hampshire primary won the general election. This year, the winner of the New Hampshire primary will win the general election.
The assumption operative in this argument is that nothing has changed since the last primary. No evidence or justification is offered for this assumption.
10. The Fallacy of Equivocation
The Fallacy of Equivocation occurs when a word or phrase that has more than one meaning is employed in different meanings throughout the argument.
In this example, the word repression is used in two completely different contexts. "Repression" in Freud's mind meant restricting sexual and psychological desires. "Repression" in the second context does not mean repression of individual desires, but government restriction of individual liberties, such as that in a totalitarian state.
11. Non Sequitur
This means "does not follow," which is short for: the conclusion does not follow from the premise. To say, "The house is white; therefore it must be big" is an example. It may be a big house but there is no intrinsic connection with its being white.
12. Argument ad populum
A group of kindergartners are studying a frog, trying to determine its sex. "I wonder if it's a boy frog or a girl frog," says one student. "I know how we can tell!" pipes up another. "All right, how?" asks the teacher, resigned to the worst. Beams the child: "We can vote."
Chapter 3 - Section 3c: Template
Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)
Here's a sample template for the first paragraph that accomplishes these goals:
First Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)
Here's a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:
First of all, ____________________________ is based upon the questionable assumption ________________________________. That _______________,
Second Body Paragraph (3-4 sentences)
The purpose of the second paragraph is to address one of the following:
Third (and optional Fourth) Body Paragraph
In this paragraph your goal is to critique one of the following:
Here's a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:
Final Paragraph (2-3 sentences)
In the final paragraph your goals are to:
The final paragraph is not the place to introduce new arguments or issues. Sample template:
In sum, I agree that______________________. However, ____________________; on balance, _____________________.
Note: The transitional phrases used here are purposely simplistic; do not simply "parrot" them word-for-word in your essay or adopt a fill-in the blank approach. If you do, your essay might appear stilted or contrived.
Chapter 3 - Section 3d: Timing
How to write a 300-word essay in 30 minutes
Using time appropriately is extremely important when writing essays on the GRE. You must use your time wisely. Do not dive right in. If you begin writing immediately you will likely find it difficult to follow your critique all the way through without making mistakes in organization. Instead, take time to think about what you will be writing and create an outline first.
The problem of poorly trained police officers that has plagued New York City should become less serious in the future. The City has initiated comprehensive guidelines that oblige police officers in multiculturalism and proper ways to deal with the city's ethnic groups.
Explain how logically persuasive you find this argument. In discussing your viewpoint, analyze the argument's line of reasoning and its use of evidence. Also explain what, if anything, would make the argument more valid and convincing or help you to better evaluate its conclusion.
Step 1: Dissect the issue/argument (2 minutes)
What is the topic and scope of the argument?
scope: a given solution, centering on mandatory classes
The argument's conclusion?
The problem of poorly trained police officers that has plagued New York City should become less serious in the future.
What's the evidence?
The City has initiated comprehensive guidelines that oblige police officers in multiculturalism and proper ways to deal with the city's ethnic groups.
Arguments typically will be structured in one of two ways:
Summarize the argument:
The problem of poor police officers will become less serious
How does the argument use its evidence?
It uses evidence of multiculturalism training as evidence to conclude that future improvement is likely.
Step 2: Select the points you will make (5 minutes)
Does the argument make any assumptions? That is, are there gaps between evidence and conclusion?
PART 2: Writing the essay
a. State a clear thesis for the essay.
Step 4: Type your essay (20 minutes)
Write your paragraphs in the essay with great care.
Make sure your "key" words, transitional phrases, major points, examples, are properly spelled.
Chapter 4 : About the E-rater
Note: at this time the GRE is not employing the E-rater
Chapter 5: Crash Course in Effective Writing
Once you have mastered the material in the previous chapters and have an overall idea of what you want to say in your essay, you can focus on the best way to express it.
We have divided the lessons for writing into two parts:
Chapter 5 - Section 5a1: Eliminating Fill Sentences
Streamline your essay by avoiding unnecessary sentences.
FILL: Who should be the next president? I think Mike Dukakis should give it another try.
TO THE POINT: Mike Dukakis should make a second bid for the presidency.
Condense the two-sentence groups into one, direct sentence.
1. Who was Abraham Lincoln? He was a President of the United States.
1. Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States.
2. General Patton was famous for his ability to surprise the enemy.
3. Many buildings were destroyed by the twister that destroyed three city blocks.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a2: Be Concise
Directness and clarity are valued over wordiness on the GRE. Do not use several words when one will work just as well. Many writers tend to add excessive phrases like "take into consideration" in order to sound scholarly. This only makes the text sound inflated and even sometimes pretentious.
WORDY: I am of the opinion that the said managers should be admonished for their utilization of customer response services.
CONCISE: We should tell the managers to improve customer service.
Shorten the sentences below to make them as concise as possible. (see answers)
1. This internet company is not prepared to expand at this point in time.
3. The airline has a problem with always having arrivals that come at least an hour late, despite the fact that the leaders of the airline promise that promptness is a goal which has a high priority for all the employees involved.
1. The internet company is not prepared to expand now.
2. Since Roger has worked for this site so carefully, we should award him the contract.
3. Flights are always at least an hour late on this airline, though its leaders promise that promptness is a high priority for all its employees.
4. Although she is inexperienced in photography, she will probably succeed because she is motivated.
5. The United States cannot spend more money to alleviate other countries' suffering when its own citizens suffer.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a3: Qualification
What is a qualifier?
WORDY: The Hess spy case was a rather serious breach of national security and likely helped the Soviets.
CONCISE: The Hess spy case breached national security and helped the Soviets.
Clear up the following sentences by eliminating excessive qualifiers.
1. You yourself are the very best person to decide what you should do for a living.
2. It is possible that the author overstates his case somewhat.
3. The president perhaps should use a certain amount of diplomacy before he resorts to force.
4. In Italy, I found about the best food I have ever eaten.
5. Needless to say, children should be taught to cooperate at home and in school.
1. You are the best person to decide what you should do for a living.
2. The author overstates his case somewhat.
3. The president should use diplomacy before he resorts to force.
4. In Italy I found the best food I have ever eaten.
5. Children should be taught to cooperate at home and in school.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a4: Start Strong
Try not to begin a sentence with This, Here is, There is, There are, or It is. These roundabout expressions indicate distance from your position and make your statement less definitive. Weak openings usually result from writing before you think- hedging until you find out what you want to say.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a5: Active and Passive Voice
Passive vs. Active
ACTIVE: Joe completed the assignment in record time.
Active voice is the preferred essay writing style for the GRE. If possible, you should always use the active voice, since it is more direct and shows action and intent. Statements made in the passive voice are weak because it is difficult to tell who or what is responsible for an action.
The passive voice does have value under certain circumstances. For instance, if you want to express something without assigning blame or if there is a question of responsibility. For example: "collateral damage has taken place". The sentence blames no one and does not assign who actually did it.
1. Garbage collectors should be generously rewarded for their dirty, smelly labors.
3. The minutes of the City Council meeting should be taken by the city clerk.
4. With sugar, water, or salt, many ailments contracted in less developed countries could be treated.
1. Incorrect: Garbage collectors should be generously rewarded for their dirty, smelly labors.
Correct: City government should generously reward garbage collectors for their dirty, smelly labors.
Correct: Negotiators ironed out the conditions of the contract agreement minutes before the strike deadline.
3. Incorrect: The minutes of the City Council meeting should be taken by the city clerk.
Correct: The city clerk should take the minutes of the City Council meeting.
Correct: With sugar, water, or salt, doctors can treat many of the ailments that citizens of less developed countries contract.
Correct: A number of field anthropologists and marriage experts compiled the report.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a(6): Self-Reference
Essay writers should avoid unnecessary phrases as "I believe," "I feel," and "in my opinion." The grader knows whose opinion is being expressed and he or she does not need to be reminded.
WEAK: I am of the opinion that excessive self-reference may add a level of pomposity to an otherwise effective essay.
Self-reference, like qualification, is effective when used sparingly.
Exercise: Restructure these sentences so that self-reference is removed.
1. I must emphasize that I am not saying the author does not have a point.
1. The author has a point.
2. College presidents should implement several specific reforms to combat apathy.
3. Either alternative would prove disastrous.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a(7): Redundancy
Redundancy is the unnecessary repetition of an idea. For example, it is redundant to say "a beginner lacking experience." The word beginner implies lack of experience by itself. You can eliminate redundant words or phrases without changing the meaning of the sentence. Watch out for words that add nothing to the sense of the sentence, because redundancy takes away from the clarity and conviction of a statement.
Here are some common redundancies:
Redundancy often results from carelessness, but you can easily eliminate redundant elements when proofreading.
1. Those who can follow directions are few in number.
2. She has deliberately chosen to change careers.
1. Few people can follow directions.
2. She has chosen to change careers.
3. Dialogue opens many doors to compromise.
4. The conclusion is that environmental and economic concerns are intertwined.
|Chapter 5 - Section 5a(8): Vague Writing
Choose specific, descriptive words when you are making any statement on the GRE. Vague language weakens your writing because it forces the reader to guess what you mean instead of concentrating fully on your ideas and style.
WEAK: Mr. Brown is highly educated.
WEAK: She is a great communicator.
Notice that sometimes to be more specific and concrete you will have to use more words than you might with vague language (as in the first example). This principle is not in conflict with the general objective of writing concisely. Being concise may mean eliminating unnecessary words. Avoiding vagueness may mean adding necessary words to illustrate your point.
Edit these sentences by cutting down on vague language:
3. Thousands of species of animals were destroyed when the last ice age occurred.
4. The secretary was unable to complete the task that had been assigned.
1. The principal told John that he could not return to school until his behavior improved.
2. The police detective had to ask the lawyer for permission to question the suspect.
3. Thousands of animal species were destroyed in the last ice age.
4. The secretary was unable to type the document.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a(9): Cliche
Cliches are overused expressions, expressions that may once have seemed colorful and powerful, but are now dull and worn out. Time, pressure and anxiety may make you lose focus, and that is when cliches may slip into your writing. A reliance on cliches will suggest you are a lazy thinker. Keep them out of your essay by thinking ahead and proofreading.
WEAK: Performance in a crisis is the acid test for a leader.
FORCEFUL: Performance in a crisis is the best indicator of a leader's abilities.
Putting a cliche in quotation marks in order to indicate your distance from the cliche does not strengthen the sentence. If anything, it just makes weak writing more noticeable. Take notice of whether or not you use cliches. If you do, ask yourself if you could substitute more specific language for the cliche.
International Students: You should avoid any regional expressions. Students from Britain and the commonwealth nations should particularly beware of using local expressions that are not used in America.
1. You have to take this new fad with a grain of salt.
2. The politician reminds me of Abraham Lincoln: He's like a diamond in the rough.
1. You need not take this new fad very seriously; it will surely pass.
2. The politician reminds me of Abraham Lincoln with his rough appearance and warm heart.
3. I estimate that 120,000 fans were in the stadium.
Chapter 5 - Section 5a10: Jargon
Jargon includes two categories of words that you should avoid. First is the specialized vocabulary of a group, such as that used by a group of people such as doctors, lawyers, or baseball coaches. Second is the overly inflated and complex language that burdens many student essays. You will not impress anyone with big words that do not fit the tone or context of your essay, especially if you misuse them.
If you are not certain of a word's meaning or appropriateness, leave it out. An appropriate word, even a simple one, will add impact to your argument. As you come across words you are unsure of, ask yourself "Would a reader in a different field be able to understand exactly what I mean from the words I've chosen?" "Is there any way I can say the same thing more simply?"
MBA candidates are particularly prone to using MBA jargon. When you go to business school you will find that MBAs have a language of their own with words such as "incentivize" or "M & A". Indeed, you will find that a large part of the lasting benefit of business school is learning the proper MBA language so that you will better relate with the MBAs who dominate the business world. For now, however, the GRE is not the place for MBA jargon or any jargon for that matter.
Your essay graders may not be up to date on the latest trendy abbreviations. Also, avoid lazy and sloppy statements like "top-line/bottom line". Slashes and numbered items are completely inappropriate. You are not making a business presentation or writing a marketing plan; you are writing a formal essay to graders, many of whom, were English majors. Graders are quickly annoyed trite phrases.
Evaluate the following sentences for jargon.
1. With reference to the poem, I submit that the second and third stanzas connote a certain despair.
2. Allow me to elucidate my position: This horse is the epitome, the very quintessence of equine excellence.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b: Grammar & Syntax
This section covers common grammar and syntax rules that come up on the test.
If your English skills are strong, skim through most of the material.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(5): Voice Shifting
Since you are asked to write an explanatory essay, an occasional self-reference may be appropriate. Use them sparingly and only when there is no other way to explain what you mean. You may call yourself "I" as long as you keep the number of first-person pronouns to a minimum. Less egocentric ways of referring to the narrator include "we" and "one."
The method of self-reference you select is called the narrative voice of your essay. Any of the above narrative voices are acceptable. Nevertheless, whichever you choose, you must be careful not to shift narrative voice in your essay.
INCORRECT: In my lifetime, I have seen many challenges to the principle of free speech. We can see how a free society can get too complacent when free speech is taken for granted.
It is likewise wrong to shift from "you" to "one"
INCORRECT: Just by following the news, you can readily see how politicians have a vested interest in pleasing powerful interest groups. But one should not generalize about this tendency.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(6): Colloquial Expressions
INAPPROPRIATE: He is really into gardening.
CORRECT: He enjoys gardening.
INAPPROPRIATE: She plays a wicked game of tennis.
CORRECT: She excels in tennis.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(7): Sentences
Sentence fragment: a statement with no independent clause
Every sentence in formal writing must have an independent clause: a clause that expresses a complete thought and can stand alone. Dependent clauses do not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone.
This clause is independent because it expresses a full thought, which is a complete sentence.
This clause is not a complete thought. It contains the subordinate conjunction "since," making it unfinished. It needs an independent clause to make a full sentence:
Errors are made when a dependent clause is used without an independent one.
INCORRECT: Global warming. That is what the scientists and journalists are worried about this month.
CORRECT: Global warming is the cause of concern for scientists and journalists this month.
CORRECT: Seattle is a wonderful place to live, with mountains, ocean, and forests all within easy driving distance. However, it certainly does rain often.
CORRECT: I think the author's position is preposterous because he makes generalizations that I know are untrue.
RUN-ON SENTENCE: Current insurance practices are unfair they discriminate against the people who need insurance most.
You can repair run-on sentences in two ways. First,
2. Use a conjunction to turn an independent clause into a dependent one and to make explicit how the clauses are related. (This method is usually the more effective.)
CORRECT: Current insurance practices are unfair, in that they discriminate against the people who need insurance most.
One cause of run-on sentences is the misuse of adverbs like however, nevertheless, furthermore, likewise, and therefore.
RUN-ON SENTENCE: Current insurance practices are discriminatory, furthermore they make insurance too expensive for the poor.
CORRECT: Current insurance practices are discriminatory. Furthermore, they make insurance too expensive for the poor.
Sample Rewrite: However much she tries to act like a Southern belle, she cannot hide her roots. She will always be the daughter of a Yankee fisherman, taciturn and ever polite.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(8): Commas
In the first sentence, the food tastes terrible no matter how the cook fixes it. In the second sentence, the food is bad but the cook improves the taste. Again, the comma controls the meaning.
RULES FOR COMMAS
1. Use a comma to separate two independent clauses connected by and, but, or, nor, for.
2. Use a comma to separate elements in a list or series.
3. Use a comma to separate introductory phrases and clauses from an independent clause that follows, particularly if the phrase or clause is long.
5. In a series of adjectives, use a comma if the adjectives could also be separated by and.
If the and doesn't fit, leave out the comma:
If this rule seems confusing, try reading the sentence aloud. If you make a slight pause between adjectives, put in commas. Otherwise, leave them out. Another test: if you can change the order of the adjectives, put in commas.- For example:
6. Use commas to set off clauses, but do not use commas for restrictive clauses. An essential or restrictive clause is one that can't be left out of a sentence. Clauses that don't define can be lifted from the sentence without changing the meaning. Look at these sentences:
7. Words or phrases that interrupt the sentence should be set off by commas.
8. Use commas to set off an appositive. An appositive is a noun or pronoun that explains or identifies the noun that precedes it.
9. Commas go inside quote marks, never outside:
Using commas correctly is one way to make your writing clear. Reading your sentences aloud is a good way to find the natural place for commas, as is inspecting your sentences for ambiguity or confusion.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(9): Semicolons
1. Use a semicolon to link two independent clauses.
Note that the two clauses are connected in thought, but are each independent grammatically. A comma with a conjunction can stand in place of the semicolon, like this:
2. Use a semicolon to separate elements in a list if the elements are long - or if the elements themselves have commas in them.
3. Unlike commas, semicolons belong outside quotation marks.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(10): Colons
1. Use a colon when making a list, when what precedes the list is an independent clause.
CORRECT: There are four ingredients necessary for a good party: music, lighting, food, and personality.
There are four ingredients can stand alone, so the colon separates it from the list.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(11): Using Hyphens Correctly
CORRECT: Sixty-five students constituted a majority.
CORRECT: A two-thirds vote was necessary to carry the measure.
B. Use the hyphen with the prefixes ex, all, and self and with the suffix elect.
CORRECT: The constitution protects against self-incrimination.
CORRECT: The president-elect was invited to chair the meeting.
C. Use the hyphen with a compound adjective when it comes before the word it modifies, but not when it comes after the word it modifies.
CORRECT: His pro-African sentiments were heartily applauded.
CORRECT: They believed that his activities were un-American.
E. Use the dash to indicate an abrupt change of thought. In general, however, formal writing is best when you think out what you want to say in advance and avoid abrupt changes of thought.
CORRECT: The inheritance must cover the entire cost of the proposal-Gail has no other money to invest.
Chapter 5 - Section 5b(12): Apostrophe
RULES FOR APOSTROPHES
1. If the plural noun doesn't end in -s, add an apostrophe and -s, like above. (This is the easy part).
the car's axels
2. If the plural noun ends in -s, just add an apostrophe.
the babies' bottoms
3. If the word is a proper noun that ends in -s, add an apostrophe and an -s. (This is the part people get wrong). Use ONLY with proper nouns. All other plurals should follow the rule above.
|Chapter 6 The Real Essay Questions
To beat the competition, you will need to do some brainstorming for all 280 AWA questions. Any of them could appear on your GRE, so you should spend some time preparing in advance. While there are many questions possible, the good news is there are no surprises. You will be able to review all of the potential questions beforehand.
1. The questions are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf format). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat you can download it for free click here to download Adobe 5.0.
2. Then, 2004_awa_topics. (NOTE: REQUIRES ADOBE ACROBAT 5.0 or better.)
|Chapter 6 Section 1 Analysis of Argument
These essays are not "perfect" answers, but represent what could be done in a 30 minute time period to get a score of 5 or 6.
The author argues, using facts from the color-film processing industry's downward trend in cost over 24 years, that Olympic Foods will be able to cut costs and thus maximize profits in the future. The author bases his conclusion on the generalization that organizations learn to reduce costs over time and, since Olympic Foods has 25 years experience in the food processing industry, its costs should have declined considerably. There are two serious flaws in the argument.
First, the argument uses a faulty analogy between the color-film processing industry and the food processing industry. Analogies drawn between the two fields are highly suspect because there are many serious differences. While the film processing industry faces a relatively simply processing challenge, food producers must contend with contamination, transportation and farm production (much more serious challenges). Thus, it is likely much more difficult to wring efficiency improvements in the food industry.
Second, the author uses a sweeping generalization. the author's prediction of margin improvements relies on the optimistic assumption that Olympic Foods' 25 years of experience will automatically result in operational efficiencies. The problem with this is that improvements in processes do not occur automatically over time, they require tremendous effort at continuous improvement and they require potential room for improvement. It is possible Olympic Food has limited room for improvement or lacks the managerial will to improve its operations. Thus, there is no guarantee of improved operational efficiency over time.
The argument concludes that the Apogee Company should shut down its field offices and use a centralized location because the company was more profitable when it had a single central location. The argument has two serious flaws.
First, the author commits the "After This, Therefore, Because of This" fallacy where the author assumes that because a decline in profitability occurred after the field offices were created, the field offices were responsible for the decline. However, there may be other factors that could have caused the decline. Could an industry-wide decline, poor management, or poor marketing have caused the decline? There are many factors that could have caused or contributed to the decline. Without ruling out other factors or presenting stronger evidence, the author cannot conclusively blame the field offices.
Second, the author assumes that eliminating the field offices would improve profitability by streamlining the management of employees and cutting costs. There is no evidence to support this assumption. Perhaps the field offices cut travel costs from the central office and allowed better management of sales to far-flung clients. The author could support his assumption with cost-cutting and or profit-enhancing strategies.
In summary, to strengthen the conclusion that Apogee should close field offices and centralize, this author must rule out factors other than decentralization that might be affecting current profits negatively and demonstrate how decentralization would cut costs.
The author concludes in this argument that the city should shift some of its arts funding to public television for two reasons. The author argues that public television is being threatened by severe cuts in corporate funding and attendance at the city's art museum has increased proportionately with increases in visual arts program viewing on public television. There are a few problems with this argument.
First, the argument assumes that a correlation proves causality. Simply because there was an increase in television exposure to the visual arts, mainly through public television, the author assumes that this exposure caused a similar increase in local art museum attendance. The author uses the statistical relationship between increased art museum attendance and similar increases in television viewing of visual arts programs to establish causality. However, a statistical correlation does not mean causality, there may be other factors driving the increased art museum attendance, such as new shows, a new wing added to the museum, or possibly interest in art has risen overall in society.
On the other hand, the author makes a fair assumption that television programs impact behavior. This is a common sense assumption. After all, advertisers spend billions of dollars on television ad time because they trust this assumption as well.
In conclusion, the author's reasoning is somewhat persuasive. The author could strengthen his or her argument by eliminating other potential causes that could increase visits to the local art museum.
The report recommends replacing the manager of the purchasing department in response to a relationship between falling revenues and delays in manufacturing. The grounds for this action are that the delays are traced to poor planning in purchasing metals. The cause of the poor planning might be the purchasing manager's lack of knowledge of the properties of metals. The author suggests that the position of purchasing manager should be filled by a scientist from the research division and that the current purchasing manager should be reassigned to the sales department. The report supports this latter recommendation pointing out that the purchasing manager's background in general business, psychology, and sociology equip him for this new assignment. The report's recommendations have two serious questionable assumptions.
The first problem is that the report fails to establish a causal connection between the falling revenues of the company and the delays in manufacturing. The fact that falling revenues coincide with delays in manufacturing does not necessarily prove that the delays caused the decline in revenue. The report's recommendations are not worthy of consideration if there is no compelling evidence to support the causal connection between these two events.
Second, the report assumes that knowledge of the properties of metals is necessary for planning in purchasing metals. No evidence is stated in the report to support this crucial assumption. Moreover, it is not obvious that such knowledge would be required to perform this task because planning is essentially a logistical function.
Analysis of Argument # 5: Increasing Circulation
The publisher of the Mercury newspaper is suggesting that the newspaper's price be reduced below the price of The Bugle, a competing newspaper. The circulation of the Mercury has declined during the 5-year period following The Bugle's introduction. The publisher believes that lowering the price of The Mercury will increase its readership, thereby increasing profits because a wider readership attracts more advertisers. The publisher's reasoning has two serious problems.
First, although it is obvious that increased circulation would make the paper more attractive to potential advertisers, it is not clear that lowering the subscription price is the most effective way to gain new readers. The publisher assumes that price is the only factor that caused the decline in readership. There is no evidence given to support this claim. In addition, given that The Mercury was the established local paper, it is doubtful that the large-scale subscription dropping of its readers would be explained by subscription price alone.
It is possible that there are other reasons for The Mercury's decline in readership. The Bugle could have much better writing and layout than the Mercury. It is also possible that readers may not be satisfied with the news reporting's accuracy, or the balance of local to national/statewide news coverage. Either way, it is unclear that lowering prices will drive up readership.
In conclusion, this argument depends on a simplified assumption about the price of the paper and its popularity. The author could strengthen the argument by discussing other factors beyond cost before concluding that lowering subscription prices will increase circulation and, thereby, increase advertising revenues.
This advertisement for the city of Helios makes several arguments for locating companies in Helios. The advertisement states that Helios is an industrial center and and enjoys a lower than average unemployment rate. In addition, the advertisement states that the city is "attempting" to expand its base by attracting companies that focus on technologies. This argument is problematic for three reasons. Moreover, it is argued that efforts are currently underway to expand the economic base of the city by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies. This argument is problematic for several reasons.
First, the argument presents no reason to believe that the city is equipped to handle non-manufacturing related businesses. The status of the city as a manufacturing center will likely mean that the city is equipped to handle manufacturing businesses. Its labor supply, energy resources, regulatory environment, support businesses, and infrastructure are likely well suited to manufacturing companies. However, there is no reason to believe, based on the argument, that Helios offers any attractive benefits to technology companies.
Another ineffective argument made is that of the city's low employment rate. The low unemployment rate during a recession suggests that the city has a labor shortage. This means that companies moving to the city probably have to pay above average labor rates to attract labor in a tight market.
The author in this argument is trying to establish that people are better off trying to lose weight with sugar rather than with the artificial sweetener aspartame. This conclusion is based on the assertion that aspartame can indirectly cause weight gain by triggering food cravings, while sugar benefits weight loss by enhancing the body's ability to burn fat. The details of the claim, however, prevent making an effective generalization about aspartame's weight-loss benefits.
In conclusion, each of the studies cited in the argument cannot be extended to make a generalization that aspartame is preferable to sugar. Instead, the exercise claim must be qualified by "after 45 minutes" and the dosage indicated by "high" must be defined.
This argument uses a survey of workers to show that workers are indeed interested in management issues. The argument is solely based on a survey of 1200 workers that showed that 79% of the workers surveyed expressed interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and the redesign of worker benefits. This argument has several flaws.
The first objection to this argument is the validity of the survey. The statement is incomplete because it does not adequately describe the conditions of the survey. One issue is the sample. Were the workers chosen for the survey chosen randomly or did they volunteer for the survey? This question is relevant here since apathetic workers would obviously not respond to a survey of worker apathy!
Aside from any issues relating to the quality of the survey, the argument makes a false generalization about the results of the survey. The survey asks specifically about the worker's interest in corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs. These issues could be reasonably construed as worker's issues since they would directly impact worker benefits and job security (restructuring often implies layoffs). Thus, the survey cannot be extended to demonstrate an interest in management issues.
In sum, the conclusion about worker interest in management issues cannot be reasonably drawn from the survey's information. The survey's accuracy is not adequately explained and the survey's results are illogically extended to draw an unsupported generalization.
The author argues that department store sales will increase significantly over the next few years because their core market of middle aged people will increase in size over the next decade. The author uses the statistic that 39 percent of the retail expenditures of middle-aged people are through department stores. The author additionally argues that stores should take advantage of this trend by carrying more products aimed at middle-aged customers. This argument has two serious flaws.
In sum, this argument is not strong as it currently stands. The argument needs more information about the growth rates of the younger market and their tastes.
The argument states that the state legislature does not have to consider the views of protesting students. The author supports this conclusion by pointing out that only 200 of the 12,000 students actually went to the state capitol to protest the cuts in college programs. The author concludes that since an overwhelming majority of the students did not take part in the survey, they must not be interested in the issue. This argument has two serious flaws.
Chapter 6 Section 2 Analysis of Issue
These essays are not "perfect" answers, but represent what could be done in a 30 minute time period to get a score of 5 or 6.
The censorship and regulation of broadcast media for offensive material involves a conflict between the freedom of expression and the duty of government to protect its citizenry from potential harm. I believe that our societal interest in preventing the harm that exposure to obscenity produces takes precedence over the freedoms of individual broadcasters.
Firstly, I believe exposure to obscene and offensive language and behavior causes people to mimic such behavior. There is anecdotal and scientific evidence to support this contention.
Secondly, I believe that obscene and offensive behavior is damaging to a society. It weakens moral character and weakens human relationships and it promotes a tendency toward immoral and antisocial behavior. These effects weaken the civil cords that hold a democratic society together.
Some argue that free speech is the basis of a democratic society. However, the founding fathers never intended the constitution to mean an unrestricted license to wanton profanity. Advocates of free expression might also point out difficulties in defining "obscene" or "offensive" language or behavior. But, however difficult it may be to agree on standards, the effort is beneficial insofar as it helps to maintain the civil cords of a democratic society.
In conclusion, government should take a role in regulating speech, but only speech that is patently offensive. Regulation of media may infringe on freedom of speech, but it is worthwhile if it can restrict the exposure of damaging offensive material.
The statement argues that international leadership is necessary to conserve energy for the future. The passage makes the reasonable assumption that individual nations will not unilaterally cut their energy usage, and that international cooperation is necessary to conserve resources. However, the sub text of the argument, that resources are diminishing and that international regulation is the only way to protect resource availability may not be valid. This calls into question the legitimacy of the statement.
However, the argument is too vague and fails to define (1) what resources are approaching depletion and (2) if regulation restricting usage is the most effective means of conservation. Oil reserves, for example, have been increasing, not decreasing, over time because of improved technology used in drilling has allowed greater access. In addition, if technology can improve access to resources, provide access to renewable resources (such as solar power), and improve conservation (energy efficiency), then regulations that could impede technological advancement could exacerbate the situation. Thus, an international regulatory regime may not be effective at maintaining adequate resource supplies.
In sum, it is likely true that an international regulatory regime would be required to regulate global resource consumption. However, it is unclear that such a regime would be necessary or effective to maintain adequate resource supplies globally.
The author tries to argue that corporations should use a "flat" structure and eliminate salary grades. This, according to the author, would benefit worker morale and encourage camaraderie. I disagree with the author because it is likely that such a corporate structure would diminish corporate profits and potentially decrease worker morale.
The principal flaw with such a structure is that it fails to incentivize workers and reward them for their own performance. Without individual merit, workers have no self-interest in their own performance and results. In a dynamic business environment, workers must be able to take initiative and effect change. In a flat organizational structure, such behavior would be indirectly discouraged because the risk-taking necessary to catalyze change would not be rewarded. Thus, companies with such a structure would likely have less motivated and entrepreneurial employees.
The speaker also assumes that such a flat structure would increase camaraderie. While it is true that such a structure may reduce envy among employees by reducing inequality, it is not clear that such a structure is conducive to decisive leadership. In a organization where all are equals, there are no leaders. Without leaders, there are no arbiters in times of disagreement or leaders in times of change. Thus, the flat organizational structure may devolve into an anarchistic one.
In sum, the opinion that a "flat" organizational structure conducive to collegiality and cooperation is likely inaccurate. Such a structure would probably reduce profitability and create a chaotic work environment that lacked a decisive decision-making capability.
However, another great man, Winston Churchill, lost political power for his restraint. In 1946, Winston Churchill, the brilliant war leader during World War II, lost an election for Prime Minister to his socialist opponents who argued for the nationalization of industries. Churchill could have certainly used his prestige to nationalize industries or offer a host of entitlements to Britain's citizens, but instead he refused to exercise power in such a way and ended up losing an election to a candidate who argued for much greater use of governmental intervention in the economy.
This author argues that responsibilities should be collective and that individuals are not effective at getting things done. I agree that in certain circumstances a team approach is more effective, but in other instances the flexibility, creativity and accountability of individuals is more effective. Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses.
The author of this statement defines success by the ability to "spend life in your own way." It is freedom to act and the ability to choose your own destiny free from direct accountability. This is highly attractive lifestyle to many people and makes a reasonable definition of success. However, it seems that freedom alone is not an indicator of success.
When we think of individuals who spend life in their own way we think of great people who have earned independence and freedom through their successes. A good example is Jim Clark, who founded Silicon Graphics, Netscape and Health eon. He is arguably the most successful entrepreneur in history and is in complete control of his life and destiny. He has the ability to create new ventures from nothing and create companies with billion-dollar capitalizations. His life, by this definition, has been a remarkable success.
Perhaps the author's original statement could be qualified. Being able to "spend life in your own way" is not necessarily a definition of success, but a benefit that success often entails.
Is the best way to advise people to simply find out what it is they want and help them attain it? This is a sound policy to helping people and should always be the concern when offering assistance. Make sure that you are indeed helping the person rather than your misconception of what that person wants. This approach is usually valid unless the person does not know what is best for him or herself.
The main problem with giving advise to other people is that you may confuse what is good for yourself and apply it to that individual. The person you are trying to help, however, may be in a situation you do not understand. The best way to help that person is to first find out what that person wants.
However, the author's suggestion will often not apply to circumstances where the person being given advice is in no position to judge what he or she wants. For example, an adult should not always advise a child about how to get what he or she wants. In these situation, the best advise is obviously not to find out what a child wants and help him or her attain it, but to instead advise the child on what is best for him or her.
In conclusion, giving advice to people should depend on the person you are trying to help. If the person is capable of determining what is in his or her best interests, then advise should be given to help this person. Otherwise, you should be careful advising someone about what he or she want.
This is an interesting concept for changing the world's monetary system of metal coins and printed paper into a computerized system of credits and debits. However, this system is already largely implemented. The final step would be to create digital cash cards.
Much of the world's wealth is already tracked digitally. Every day trillions of dollars are shifted digitally around the world. This argument is somewhat confused insofar as it poses its argument as if wealth and monetary transactions have not already been digitized.
Should employees leave their personal lives entirely behind them when they enter the workplace, as the author suggests here? While it is true that employees should not allow their personal lives to interfere with their jobs, the author fails to consider that personal issues can help to foster a workplace atmosphere that helps everyone do a better job.
Bringing in personal interests and activities can help build collegiality among workers. Discussing personal activities helps to establish a rapport with co-workers. Company-sponsored social activities help to produce greater cohesiveness in an organization, by allowing relationships to develop among workers.
However, employees should be aware that personal lives could intrude on job performance. At worst, personal lives could become a distraction to work performance. Romantic relationships between coworkers could create sexual harassment liability and also need to be kept confidential. Another problem with interjecting personal lives into work is that employees who do not share their personal lives could be viewed as aloof and may be resented by coworkers who perceive them as arrogant, unfriendly or uncooperative. Thus, interjecting personal lives into work presents risks.
In the final analysis, employees should strike a careful balance when they mix their personal lives with their jobs. Although there are some circumstances in which bringing one's personal life to the job may be counterproductive, for many reasons it is a good idea to inject small doses of personal life into the workplace.
The passage states that "in an enterprise the process of doing something is more important than the final product itself." I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, the process of doing something, if handled properly will insure the final product, in this way, the process is what makes the final product.
The quality of the process will insure the quality of the results. For example, if a company is processing its tax returns, then it must assure the legitimacy of the processes of calculating those results. Were qualified accountants used? Were they given the proper accounting process? What is important is not the final return but the process that leads to the final tax calculation.
In addition, in research the process is often more valuable than the final results. For example, at Bell Labs in the 1940s several scientists were trying to develop transistor technology that could be demonstrable. Instead, while developing the transistor the scientists stumbled upon a design that laid the groundwork for the microchip. The process of research led to a radical new design that was highly cost effective.
Finally, there is an ennobling element to the process associated with any great accomplishment, whether it be winning World War II, building the Hoover Dam, or the Wright brothers development of motorized flight, in each case the value of an accomplishment becomes especially sweet in light of the sacrifices required to make it. When we collectively reflect on these accomplishments, we cannot help dwell on the courage required in the processes to make the final accomplishment.
In conclusion, the process of doing something often is more critical and important than the final product. It is the effort and brilliance in the process that itself produces the result.
Ten Most Common Errors
10. The "kitchen sink" argument
We have a three way tie for #1 Most Common Error
Practice essays are at http://www.800score.com/gre-takeessay.html