Topic and Stress Variations


Topic and Stress
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 15 minutes

Distribute the worksheet below. Ask students to fill it out (alone or with a partner). Then tally the class' results (this works much better than calling on individual students; the majority of the class is likely to get the question right, but you take your chances with individual students).

Go through the first three pairs, then ask if students are noticing a pattern: they put more stock in the information that comes at the end of a sentence. Then do the final two pairs. The fifth is probably the most applicable to student writing: the focus of the paper should come at the end of the sentence.

Scroll down for the worksheet and answer key.
_________________________________________________________________________

1. Which sentence would you rather hear to describe your new roommate?

a. He's rather strange, but people like him.

b. People like him, but he's rather strange.
 
2. Which sentence would you rather hear from your boss?

a. You deserve a raise, but times are hard.

b. Times are hard, but you deserve a raise.
 
3. Which sentence is more likely to sell you lawn fertilizer?

a. Although the blades of grass will brown and die, the roots will remain alive and capable of regenerating the plant when moisture returns.

b. The roots will remain alive and capable of regenerating the plant when moisture returns, although the blades of grass will brown and die.
 
4. Which sentence is the more riveting start to a murder mystery?

a. When Max returned from the store, he found the body slumped over the kitchen table.

b. Max found the body slumped over the kitchen table when he returned from the store.
 
5. Which sentence is a more effective way to begin a paper about Dr. Seuss' political cartoons?

a. Though Dr. Seuss' political cartoons are quite radical and not very well known; most people are more familiar with his children's books.

b. Most people are familiar with Dr. Seuss' children's books; his political cartoons, though, are quite radical and not very well known.
_________________________________________________________________________

Answer key:
1 a
2 b
3 a
4 a
5 b