Bridging through Reference
Writing Better Essays - A Rhetorical Guide to Writing and Revision (Second International Edition) - David L. Rogers
David L. Rogers [+]
Kingston University, London
Chapter 5 concentrates on two key bridging devises that are often misused. The first involves the common pronoun, which, as a form of slant repetition or reference, refers directly to a previous noun and so includes the pronouns it/its, he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them, we/us/our. Of these pronouns only its, when confused with the appositive it’s for it is, typically presents a problem for inexperienced writers, and the chapter both explains the differences between the two uses and illustrates them. It then locates and identifies the type of individual bridging devices that appear in professionally written paragraphs before asking students to complete a related exercise. The second reference style bridging device that the chapter identifies involves this when used as a demonstrative pronoun the reference for which thus remains vague. To help students to avoid this common but almost always confusing mistake, the chapter strongly recommends that they always check their drafts for signs of it and transform its demonstrative pronoun this into a demonstrative adjective, which they must do by adding a word or phrase that clarifies the idea to which they had assumed their demonstrative pronoun referred. The chapter then explains and analyses four examples, two each of bad and good practice, before illustrating the advantages of always adding clarifying phrases to their vague pronouns by documenting the positive effect of a similar transformation made by a professional writer when revising a draft for publication. An exercise asks students to transform a vague referent in a sample paragraph before reading twenty examples of good practice by professionals. The chapter’s final exercise has them identify any instance when they have used this as a demonstrative pronoun in their developing draft or a previous essay and to transform the pronoun into an adjective by adding a clarifying phrase.