The Given New Principle

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Published on December 14, 2007

Author: Roxie

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“The Given-New Principle”:  “The Given-New Principle” Connecting Old Ideas to New Ideas in Your Writing References Old Ideas New Ideas © 2001 by Ruth Luman Introduction:  Look at the paragraphs below. Which one is easier to read? Click on the answer. Introduction What is coherence? My father’s house had four bedrooms and two sitting rooms. My father had planted a lot of flowers in the garden. There was a large oak tree in the front yard. My father’s house had four bedrooms and two sitting rooms. In front of the house was a large garden. In the garden my father had planted a lot of flowers. Most of these flowers were roses and tulips. The Given-New Principle:  given idea  new idea The Given-New Principle One of the ways that you can make sure that your sentences and paragraphs have coherence is to use the “Given-New Principle.” With the Given-New Principle, you use something “given” (an old piece of information) from a previous sentence, and add something “new.” Using something “given” from the previous sentence is the connecting idea between the old and new ideas. given idea Example:  “One important value in Brazilian culture is hospitality. Hospitality to a Brazilian means essentially that your ‘door’ is always open to friends, relatives, and guests.” Example In the second of the following two sentences, find the “given” information that is being picked up from the first sentence, as well as the “new” information that has been added. Click on “See Answer” when you are finished. (Bates, 1997, p. 123). See Answer Surface Signals:  Surface Signals To help connect ideas between sentences and paragraphs, We can use “surface signals.” Surface signals are words that help tell the reader the logical connection between ideas. Look at some examples of surface signals on the following pages. (Bates, 1997, p. 124). Idea Surface Signals Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #1: One of the values of Saudi Arabian culture is modesty in women. Women show their modesty by covering themselves with a veil. Repetition of Key Words Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #2: Repetition of Key Words Our next task was to look for those elusive particles. Such particles are difficult to detect without a microscope. Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #3: Repetition of Key Words Gold, a precious metal, is prized for two important characteristics. First of all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion. Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #1: Women show their modesty by covering themselves with a veil. This covers the woman’s head and often much of her face. Demonstrative Adjectives (this, that, these, those) Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #2: Demonstrative Adjectives (this, that, these, those) An important custom in Ethiopian culture is the coffee ceremony. This ceremony is often practiced every Sunday. Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #3: Demonstrative Adjectives (this, that, these, those) Cambodian parents try to raise their children to have respect for elders, patience in trying situations, and gentleness toward others. These values are highly prized in Cambodian culture. Surface Signals:  This veil covers the woman’s head and often much of her face. She may also choose to wear a mask that shows only her eyes. Surface Signals Example #1: Pronouns (he, she, it, they, you) Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #2: Pronouns (he, she, it, they, you) Many Japanese believe in the importance of teamwork. They teach their children to think of the group first. Surface Signals:  Surface Signals Example #3: Pronouns (he, she, it, they, you) When a father is very sick, he knows that his family will take care of him. Practice Exercise:  Practice Exercise Now, you are ready to practice what you’ve learned. Click on the button below to go back to Unit D. Print and complete the worksheet for Practice Exercise One. Revision Checklist:  Revision Checklist After you have checked your essay for coherence problems, read your essay draft aloud to your tutor. As you read it, ask your tutor to listen to make sure there are no breaks in coherence. Look at your essay. Circle all the main ideas in your sentences. Check to make sure that all your sentences and paragraphs logically follow each other. If you notice some problems: Use the “Given-New Principle.” Use surface signals to link your ideas. Answer:  “One important value in Brazilian culture is hospitality. Hospitality to a Brazilian means essentially that your ‘door’ is always open to friends, relatives, and guests.” Answer old ideas new ideas Back Next I’m Sorry:  I’m Sorry This paragraph is not very easy to read. It doesn’t have coherence. Coherence means that one idea follows from a previous idea and connects smoothly to the next idea. house garden tree My father’s house had four bedrooms and two sitting rooms. My father had planted a lot of flowers in the garden. There was a large oak tree in the front yard. Correct!:  Correct! My father’s house had four bedrooms and two sitting rooms. In front of the house was a large garden. In the garden my father had planted a lot of flowers. Most of these flowers were roses and tulips. This paragraph shows coherence because the ideas follow logically from one sentence to another. house garden flowers roses and tulips Back Next References:  References Bates, L. (1997). Transitions: An interactive reading, writing, and grammar text. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Rutherford, W.E. (1987). Second Language Grammar: Learning and teaching. London: Longman. Presentation by Ruth Luman: Modesto Junior College. This project incorporates portions of copyrighted works. These items are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the educational fair use guidelines. They are restricted from further use. Coherence: Definition:  Coherence: Definition Logical connections between ideas in writing.

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