Take This Test and Learn How to Make Your Writing More Interesting

Student Project: Junk Food Junkies

Pepperoni pizza with ingredients
Aleksandr Kuzmin / Getty Images

One way to make our writing more vivid and interesting is to add examples that support the main point. The following student paragraph is clearly organized and effectively developed with specific examples. The one thing the paragraph lacks is a satisfactory concluding sentence. Respond to the questions that follow "Junk Food Junkie" and see if you can come up with a good ending for the paragraph.

Junk Food Junkie

I confess: I am the worst junk food junkie in this great gluttonous galaxy of sugar, salt, and fat. You can keep your lentils, granola, and prunes. I want calories and carbohydrates, burgers and fries. Within minutes after waking up grouchy and puffy-eyed in the morning, I stumble to the kitchen and pour myself a tall glass of ice-cold Pepsi. Ahh! My tongue tingles and my eyes pop open. I then have the energy to eat. I rummage through the refrigerator, push aside the yogurt and apples, and there it is: a slice of congealed pepperoni pizza. That's enough to get me off to school and through my first class. Of course, I then head to the store on my first break for a Snickers bar and a Diet Mountain Dew. The "lite" soft drink, you see, compensates for the calories in the candy. An hour or two later, for lunch, I gobble down a row of Golden Double Stuf Oreos and a peanut butter sandwich, all sloshed down with a pint of chocolate milk. Later in the afternoon, I stop at Five Guys to devour a double bacon cheeseburger and a monster order of sodium-loaded fries. Finally, before going to bed, I knock off a bag of Philly Cheese Steak Rippled Potato Chips—dripping with onion dip.

Study Questions

  1. The writer uses a chronological order to organize her examples. List the time transitions that you find in the paragraph.
  2. Identify the short sentences used by the writer to guide us from the Pepsi example to the pizza example.
  3. What sentence does the writer use to guide us from the pizza example to the next example?
  4. Create a sentence that you think would conclude this sentence effectively.

Sample Responses

Here are examples of one student's response to the four study questions:

(1) The time transitions in this paragraph include "Within minutes after waking," "then," "An hour or two later," "Later," and "Finally."

(2) and (3) These sentences should be easy to spot:
- "Ahh! My tongue tingles and my eyes pop open. I then have the energy to eat."
- "That's enough to get me off to school and through my first class."

(4) Various answers are possible. Here's the concluding sentence that appeared in the student's original paragraph: "Only then do I drift off to sleep, counting onion rings in the deep fry and hot dogs on the grill."

Note that complete sentences, as well as individual words and phrases, can be used to make smooth transitions in a paragraph.