More Stuff

the MLA Handbook is Useful

What We Read This Year

All Classes


MAUS I, MAUS II (Art Spiegelman)
Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner)
Turn of the Screw (Henry James)
1984 (George Orwell)
Your non-fiction book


"Letter from Birmingham Jail" (Martin Luther King Jr.)
"The Singer Solution to World Poverty" (Peter Singer)
"The Pursuit of Truth" (Mortimer Adler)
"Fail" (Chuck Klosterman)
"Consider the Lobster" (David Foster Wallace)
"The Holocaust" (Bruno Bettelheim)
"Marrying Absurd" (Joan Didion)
"Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa" (David Sedaris)
"A Modest Proposal" (Jonathan Swift)
"Anger" (George Lakoff)
"Thinking in Pictures" (Temple Grandin)
"The Rhetoric of Advertising" (Stuart Hirschberg)
"Politics and the English Language" (George Orwell)
"Why I Write" (George Orwell)


"How Many Rhetorics?", chapter 1 from The Rhetoric of Rhetoric (Wayne C. Booth)
excerpt from //De Oratore// (Cicero) [in the packet with "The Rhetoric of Rhetoric"]
Rhetoric (Aristotle) book 1, chapter 2
The Little Book of Plagiarism, chapter 4 (Richard A. Posner)
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television excerpt (Jerry Mander)
"The Rattler" (excerpt from The Road of a Naturalist) (Donald Culross Peattie)


(use your group's assigned speech)
"Give Liberty or Give Me Death" (Henry)
"The Gettysburg Address" (Lincoln)
"Checkers"/"The Fund Speech" (Nixon)
"Inauguration Address" (Kennedy)
"I Have a Dream" (King)
"Address to the American People on the Challenger Tragedy" (Reagan)


"Patriot Game" from "U.S.A. Patriot Pledge" a satirical brochure written by the Yes Men; distributed in 2004 rpt. inHarper's "Readings" section, February 2005
"Roommate Watch" by Slawomir Mrozek from "Reports" in the February issue of Index on Censorship rpt. in Harper's"Readings" section, July 1985
"Camera Obscura" from guidelines issue by the publisher Steck-Vaughn rpt. in Harper's "Readings" section, May 2004
excerpt from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, rpt. in Reflections on Language, Edited by Stuart and Terry Hirschberg
"How to Lay Off Your Kids" by Carina Chocano in Disquiet, Please!: More Humor Writing from The New Yorker, Edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder.


The Thin Blue Line (Erroll Morris)
also see the booklet on AP Central Using Documentary Film as an Introduction to Rhetoric, which includes a discussion on how to use a documentary to examine visual rhetoric, means of persuasion (logos, ethos, pathos), and find examples of fallacies.


Florence Kelley speech (from first rhetorical analysis)
some classes: Marian Evan Lewes letter (from 2nd rhetorical analysis)
some classes: William Hazlitt essay "On the Want of Money" (from 2nd rhetorical analysis)

Joan Didion essay on the Santa Ana winds
Nancy Mairs excerpt "On Being a Cripple" (from mock exam rhetorical analysis)

Booklets on AP Central

Reading and Writing Analytically
  • includes strategies and terms for the multiple choice portion
  • discusses specific sample rhetorical analysis essays (especially what differentiates low from high scoring essays)
  • outlines rhetorical analysis and give specific tips
Using Sources
  • includes synthesis activities such as "create your own synthesis question" activity (resulting in question on "Truth in Memoir")
  • discusses how to do multiple choice questions that ask about footnotes and sources
  • gives specific advice for analyzing visual rhetoric
  • explains link between the synthesis question and doing research
Writing Persuasively
  • Toulmin Model and examples: page 23
  • advice for writing the argument essay

Some classes

(ask Ms. Cohen if you want a copy of something another class read)
Understanding Comics, chapter 2, "The Vocabulary of Comics" (Scott McCloud)
"The Death of Benny Paret" (Norman Mailer)

Figurative Language Terms

*Also see visual examples, mostly from block 6

The 3 Most Common Uses of Irony
Useful packet of rhetorical terms defined
Glossary of Literary Terms from Gale
A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices from VirtualSalt

Register in general

Formality spectrum
Language Registers: Static, Formal, Consultative, Casual, Intimate
More on Language Registers and these 5 types
from Register_sociolinguistics
Levels of Formality from the OWL at Purdue
Formal and informal language and style
Diction: Avoiding slang, jargon, and cliche

Controversy! African American English is Not Slang
On dialect, slang, standard, and variety



(see the websites)
informal and formal
from The Guide: SUNY Geneseo's Writing Guide, "Formal and Informal Writing"
"Formal Style" at Grammar at and Informal Style
slang: from Vocabulogic


from Using English Glossary
colloquial Colloquial language is informal language that is not rude, but would not be used in formal situations. It is less unacceptable than Slang & Swear Words. A colloquialism is an informal expression, that is, an expression not used in formal speech or writing.

jargon Jargon is the language used by people who work in a particular area or who have a common interest: lawyers, computer programmers, criminals, etc. All have specialised terms and expressions that they use, many of which may not be comprehensible to the outsider. They may also use familiar words with different meanings as well as abbreviations, acronyms etc.

from Literary Terms and Definitions at Dr. Wheeler's website:
slang Informal diction or the use of vocabulary considered inconsistent with the preferred formal wording common among the educated or elite in a culture. For instance, formal wording might require a message such as this one: "Greetings. How are my people doing?" The slang version might be as follows: "Yo. Whassup with my peeps?"

jargon Potentially confusing words and phrases used in an occupation, trade, or field of study. We might speak of medical jargon, sports jargon, pedagogic jargon, police jargon, or military jargon, for instance.

colloquialism A word or phrase used everyday in plain and relaxed speech, but rarely found in formal writing. (Compare with cliché, jargon and slang.)

taboo (also spelled tabu):
(1) In anthropology, a taboo is a socially prohibited activity. For instance, in classical Greek culture, it was forbidden for a murderer or menstruating woman to enter the sacred space of a temple or the central agora of a city beyond a temenos boundary lest that action spread contagious miasma.
(2) A linguistic taboo is a social prohibition that forbids mentioning a word or subject. Commonly, various cultures might have taboos against mentioning bodily fluids, defecation, certain sexual activities, or certain religious terms. These terms often suffer linguistic pejoration and become "curse-words." For instance, in Britain, the adjective bloody is considered taboo or impolite to speak aloud as a curse word because of its older religious connotations as a medieval curse about the blood of Christ's wounds. In American English, words describing specific sexual activities or bodily functions usually are taboo for polite conversation, and so on.

from Macmillan Dictionary/Thesaurus "Words Used to Describe Writing or Speech Style
conversational a conversational style of writing or speaking is informal, like a private conversation

(1) involving books or the activity of writing, reading, or studying books
(2) relating to the kind of words that are used only in stories or poems, and not in normal writing or speech

informal used about language or behaviour that is suitable for using with friends but not in formal situations

formal correct or conservative in style, and suitable for official or serious situations or occasions

old-fashioned List of synonyms for "old-fashioned"
see also archaism

More Links

Glossary of rhetorical terms from Wikipedia
Figures, Tropes, and Other Rhetorical Terms
Glossary of English Grammar Terms
*please note: some of these resources are from England, i.e. there are British, not American, spellings of words.

Visual Examples

from block 6 (see more in their discussion thread)



Loose Sentence