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Identify how this excerpt can be rephrased and changed around in word choice. Pilger...

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seerboldly | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM via web

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Identify how this excerpt can be rephrased and changed around in word choice.

Pilger questions and criticizes those who Barack Obama chooses to manage the country. He warns us that his elected staffs were the ones who had started the many problems now encountered in the US. The identified actions of his staff contradicts what defines an A team.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM (Answer #1)

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These sentences can be cleaned up and edited in a number of ways, depending on the overall purpose of the short paragraph. There are three questions you could answer before editing to determine the best way to re-write this.

  1. What/who is the focus of the paragraph? 

    In this case, is it the author of the text to be analyzed (Pilger), Obama, Obama's elected staff, or the "many problems in the US"?

  2. What is the main point you are making about the subject of the paragraph? 

    In this case, are you writing about Pilger's criticism, or are you using Pilger as an example for a bigger point about the "many problems in the US"?

  3. Who is your audience

    In political writing, you must consider whether your audience will inherently agree with your points or not. Your word choice will affect your audience's tendency to agree with you. For example, if you are writing to an audience of Obama supporters, you will want to write cautiously and objectively when bringing up anything negative about his presidency ("...problems now encountered in the US" is a negative subject.) If your audience is made up of Republicans or anyone who did not vote for Obama, you have a lot more room to use harsh diction because this group is already likely to agree that Obama has made several mistakes.

I typically encourage students to use the following sentence structure when framing an argument:

  • Topic Sentence (include the main who/what and the point).
  • Supporting details (include facts as quotes or paraphrased information).
  • Elaboration (explain how your facts prove your topic).

The three sentences in the example above do not contain any facts. They are mostly made up of explanation, but without any concrete details, simply come across as opinions that remain unfounded. Using only what you have written above, the paragraph still comes across as weak (in argument), but here is an example of a re-write that might help get you started:

According to Pilger, Barack Obama's elected staff is ultimately responsible for the many problems now encountered in the US. Pilger questions and criticizes those Obama has chosen to run the country. He suggests through identified actions of Obama's staff that this group is a contradiction of the term "A Team."

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