English FAQs

The following are questions frequently asked by Developmental Language Arts (DLA) English students. After scrolling through the following questions, if you have additional questions, please contact the English Area Coordinator,  crystal.echols@sinclair.edu

When will I be ready for a unit or chapter test? 
When you have completed all of the work in a particular grammar unit or chapter, you may ask your instructor for a practice test if your instructor supplies such a test. Otherwise, you may take your actual test once you have confirmed your work completion with your instructor. Each instructor may also have his/her own special requirements for taking tests. These requirements should be listed in your syllabus, or you can check with your instructor.

 

Why can't I just skip the units/chapters and take the final exam? 
To receive credit for the course, you are required to show an established level of profiency on all units/chapters tests and quizzes listed in the course syllabus. In addition, you are required to show the same level of proficiency on a comprehensive final exam. Your instructor may also have additional requirements which should be listed in the course syllabus.

 

Why do I have to attend class? 
You are expected to attend all class sessions. Participation with your fellow students is important, and there is great value in the many group activities planned in the course. Also, consistent interaction with your instructor is necessary; excessive absences and work not completed may affect your ability to complete the course. Attendance may also effect your financial aid and/or VA benefits. Attendance in classes is kept according to federal guidelines.

 

Why can't I just come to class when I'm ready for a test? 
You are expected to attend all class sessions. Participation with your fellow students is important, and there is great value in the many group activities planned in the course. Also, consistent interaction with your instructor is necessary; excessive absences and work not completed may affect your ability to complete the course. Attendance may also effect your financial aid and/or VA benefits. Attendance in classes is kept according to federal guidelines.

 

Why do I have to revise my paragraphs or essays until they earn a pass? 
The primary goal of Developmental Language Arts (DLA) writing classes is to help students become effective writers. Learning how to revise is a key step in the writing process. Also, producing quality writing should be each student's goal. Earning a pass on a paper is a measure of quality.

Why do I have to do an in-class final writing? 
Being able to write in class, under pressure, is an important college-survival skill. Many courses require in-class essay exams or other types of in-class writing. In-class writing also shows the instructor what you can do without outside help or unlimited time. It is the best way for you to prove that you have truly learned the fundamentals of paragraph or essay writing.

What is the difference between summarizing someone else's thoughts and plagiarism? Plagiarism means passing off what someone else has written as your own work. If you use the ideas of the author, then you must provide credit for that source of information. Even if you summarize the author's ideas in your own words, you must still list a reference, and, of course, if you use the writer's exact or direct words, you must cite a reference. If you do not provide these references, you have committed plagiarism.

 

What is meant by a well developed essay? How long does an essay have to be to qualify as well developed? Generally speaking, an essay is well developed when it provides a complete discussion based upon the main idea (thesis statement) of that essay. Specifically, an essay contains three basic parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.                              

 

The introduction contains the following components:

 

lead (attention getter) - arouses the readers' interest in the subject - leads into thesis or main idea of essay.
                           
thesis - main or controlling idea of essay voiced as the writer's opinion about a particular topic.
                        
map - lists the sub points which will develop the thesis statement. The map may be a part of the thesis.
               
The body paragraphs do the following: develop the sub (map 1) points listed in the introduction. Each body paragraph fully discuss one particular sub-point in depth.
                      
The conclusion provides the following: input, closure to the essay, and completes or wraps up the discussion. 
                
The length of an essay is determined one of two ways. 
Sometimes an instructor provides guidelines such as the essay must be 500-700 words. More importantly, the essay must be long enough to address each of the sub-points completely with adequate examples so that the reader understands the overall idea (theme) of the essay.

                                                      

What are transitions? Transitions are words or phrases which connect ideas. They serve as bridges between sentences and paragraphs. 
                                                                                 

 

 

  Examples of transitions are as follows:
  for example          
      formerly
  for that reason
  to illustrate
  likewise
  in conclusion
                                  

 

Why do I need to study grammar rules? 
My computer does a grammar check. Grammar rules include more than knowing where the commas go. 

                          These concepts include the following: 
  providing sentence variety
      using the correct mix of compound/complex sentences
  using the correct person (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
  knowing how to recognize errors in sentence structure (fragments/run-ons) and correcting them.

 

While the computer can provide some correction, the writer who can find his/her own errors has certain advantages. Most computers do not offer advice on style, so person, sentence variety issues, transitions, and word choices are not always dealt with. In addition, not all editing can be done on a computer. If you are writing a job application in an office and the application requires a paragraph on why you want the job, the applicant may not have access to a computer with spell-check or grammar check. In addition, knowing how to write correctly allows the writer to perhaps write the paper correctly in the first draft, thus saving time in proofing a tremendous number of corrections via the computer.