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  Brad's Teacher Writing (Current Sample)

The paragraphs below were written to show how to use indirect characterization in writing a description of a person. Note how a descriptive adjective is only used in the topic and concluding sentences.

The body paragraphs here would be suitable for a standard, 300-word,  essay.

Body Paragraph 1 (two versions):

My friend John had quite a good sense of humour. Once, during a family dinner, one of the children received a small plastic basketball hoop with a suction cup attached. It was meant to be used on the wall, of course, but John stuck it to his forehead instead and invited everyone to take a shot. He was also famous for telling jokes. Although I could never remember the details, I do remember that he always made me laugh. John was indeed a funny guy! (85 words; first draft)

My friend John had quite a good sense of humour. Once, John stuck a small plastic basketball hoop onto his head and invited the children to take a shot. Unfortunately, he had a suction cup mark on his forehead for weeks after! John also loved to tell jokes. Although they were not always in good taste, he never failed to have us all in stitches. One joke concerned outrunning a bear. He said that he couldn’t outrun a bear; he could, however, outrun me! John was indeed a funny guy. (90 words; first revision)

Body Paragraph 2:

It wasn’t all fun and games, however, since my friend John was truly helpful. When I was looking for work in the early 80s John kept trying to help me find a job. He would call during the day and ask me how I was doing, making sure that I wasn’t too depressed from my difficult search. Another close friend of his came from Quebec without much English. Eventually, with John’s help, she began working at the Workers’ Compensation Board. A more helpful man than John would be hard to find. (91 words; first draft)

Note how an idea from body paragraph one is used as a “paragraph hook” to make the transition from body paragraph 1 to 2.

Body Paragraph 3:

Not that John was perfect, however, as he was famously impatient, too. Whenever he visited me from his home in Victoria, I saw his impatient nature frequently. Before leaving for any activity, John would race around telling everyone to “Hurry up! Let’s go!” Often, he would be in the car with the engine running while his wife was still sitting at our kitchen table having a cup of tea! Even his phone calls would end suddenly with a “Gotta go.” John’s impatience was well known to all his friends.



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