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Writing: Argument — How-to example

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- [Instructor] Preaching to the Choir: the Health Benefits of Singing. This is gonna be interesting. I like to sing. All right. So in 2013, and just as a reminder, when they put these numbers in brackets here, they're numbering the sentences in this paragraph. That's different than when they put the numbers in these gray boxes. That's when they're gonna refer to actual questions. And in general, when they start putting, they don't do these for all of the sentences in these passages, but when they do do these, they tend to do them for the sentences in a paragraph. And they'll probably ask us some question about whether a sentence is appropriate in a certain place or should it be moved around somehow. So let's put ourselves in that frame of mind, especially for this first paragraph that ends with this kind of question one. So question one is probably going to refer to the sentence structure or order in this paragraph. So let's read it. In 2013, 32.5 million adults in the United States, roughly 10% of the population, sang in choirs, and England is home to more than 3,000 active choral groups. All right, a lot of people in the United States and England sing in choirs. Choir singing is a popular pastime. Well, they've already established that choir, I mean, this data right here is kind of telling us that choir singing is a popular pastime. I almost feel like this sentence maybe should go before. You know, if you said, choir singing is a popular pastime, and then you give the evidence. In 2013, 32.5 million adults in the United States, roughly 10% of the population, sang in choirs, and England is home to more than 3,000 active choral groups. Makes sense to me that sentence two should actually go first. These singers often report an increased sense of well-being and camaraderie, but does this hobby actually result in better health? According to multiple scientific studies, singing, especially with others, provides concrete benefits to the heart and brain, which I happen to believe as well. So let's see. I'm guessing, not even looking, I'm avoiding looking at this (laughs) just yet, that they're gonna ask us about sentence two, because it feels like it has to go first. To make the paragraph most logical, sentence two, I was right. And I'm serious, I didn't look at this beforehand. I like to do this real-time so that I can empathize. Sentence two should be placed at the beginning of the paragraph, for sure. That establishes that choir singing is a popular pastime, then they give evidence that it's a popular pastime. And then, you know, here we're talking about the number of singers, and then they reference these singers. So it makes sense that two goes first, then one, then three. On to the second paragraph and the second question. A 2013 study at Sweden's University of Gothenburg examined the heart rates of 18 young people as they sang and hummed for unison. All right, for just sounds strange. You don't do things for unison, you do things unison. And so let's see, question two. Well, that's going to be in unison. And this just is a standard convention. If you're talking about doing something, you won't say for unison or on unison or at unison, you say, hey, we're going to do this in unison. So that for sure is going to be in. Let's actually keep going. I think we can do question three in this video too. Heart rate variability, HRV, the increase and decrease in heart rate, occurred simultaneously with subjects' slowed breathing while singing. This combination of fluctuating heart rate and slowed breathing are called respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease a prior finding independent of the 2013 study. All right, so this are is off, because they're talking about, what's the subject of this sentence? It's this combination of fluctuating heart rate and slowed breathing, they're talking about what this combination is about. But the subject is this combination, and that's singular. We're talking about this combination, there's a combination here. And so if it's singular, if we say this combination are respiratory sinus arrhythmia, no, you would say this combination is called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. So this is going to be is right over here. So is called, because it's a singular. This combination is called respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study. So the way it's written right now is really, there's no pause here. I like to just kind of pause after it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, and then maybe adding some context, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study. So let's see what they have here. So no change, no, I don't like that. This one, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study. That might be fine. It's a parenthetical, it's giving us a little bit of extra information, but we don't need it, so I like that. Putting a semicolon there, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study, you're adding another kind of clause there. It feels like it's just hanging at the end. No, I wouldn't do that. And then, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study with a colon. Colon, I view that as giving more clarification or enumeration, and this is kind of giving more clarification. But I definitely like the parentheses right over here, 'cause it's making it clear that this last part, that it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, and they're just giving us in a parenthetical, a prior finding independent of the 2013 study. We're now on question five. People feel a keen sense of bonding when they sing together. All right, so that sentence seems like it's grammatically correct. Let's see what the question says. Which choice most effectively establishes the main topic of the paragraph? Okay, I see. They either want us to say, okay, we could have no change and say this sentence is what we would keep as our topic sentence, or maybe would we replace it with one of these other options? Well, to figure out how we can establish the main topic of the paragraph, I guess we're gonna have to read the paragraph. So I would actually probably come back to question five after going all the way through question nine. So let's see if we can do that in this video. Singing stimulates the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins. Endorphins blunt pain and engender feelings of pleasure. So this right over here, so for number six, to just kind of do a period and then do another sentence, it's not grammatically incorrect. I mean, it's fine to say that singing stimulates the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, that's a sentence, and then to say endorphins blunt pain and engender feelings of pleasure. But these two sentences are very connected. In fact, the second sentence right over here is giving us clarity on what endorphins are. So I would think about connecting them a little bit better. So let's see what the choices are here. So the first one is, well, they actually didn't put no change here. So they definitely want us to change it, I guess the way this is written. The first choice is, singing stimulates the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, which end up blunting and engender feelings of pleasure. No, that's not right. I mean, just even looking, saying end up blunting and engender, those two verbs aren't even in the same tense. Blunting, yeah, blunting and engender, nope, it's breaking your parallel of construction, so to speak. Endorphins, which blunt. Let's see. Singing stimulates the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, which blunt pain and engender feelings of pleasure. Yeah, that one could work, and it connects 'em better. Let's see, C. Endorphins, but they blunt. No, you don't wanna contradict it. We're just explaining what endorphins do. And this last choice, endorphins, and they blunt. No, I think this is very clear. When you say which blunt, you're clarifying what endorphins do. So I like B there. All right, let's keep going. So now we can go to question seven. Cortisol, a hormonal reaction to stress and the secretion of which the brain controls, decreases after choir singing. All right, so cortisol's a stress hormone and it decreases after choir singing. Meanwhile, oxytocin, which the brain interprets as a feeling of emotion bonding, is increased. So these are all describing ways it makes people feel better. And I wanna read this entire paragraph, 'cause at the end I wanna go back to question five and think about the topic sentence. So all of these good things are happening. In a study at Oxford Brookes University, researchers surveyed 375 people who either sang alone, sang in a choir, or participated in organized sports. Those who sang in a choir reported the highest levels of happiness. So everything we're talking about is, wow, this choir singing really can make people happier. And they're kind of citing even, we can point to chemical things happening in the brain that are actually associated with more happiness and less stress. Due to its positive side effects, therapists have used choir singing as an element for those dealing with depression and chronic pain. So I kind of like the due to its positive side effects, because that is the reason why therapists would use it. But let's just look at the other choices. So I like due to, that's my default. So despite its positive side effects, therapists have used choir singing? No, they're using it because of the positive side effects, due to the positive side effects. This isn't a contradiction to the fact that it has positive side effects. It's not, you know, if it was despite the fact that it's bad for people, therapists are using it, that would be a reason to use the word despite. But no, that doesn't make sense. In addition to its positive side effects, therapists have used choir singing as an element for those dealing with depression and chronic pain. Well, and it's not in addition. It's giving the causality. Because, due to its positive side effects, this is why therapists are thinking about using it as a way to deal with depression and chronic pain. And then besides, once again, it's not a besides. The therapists have used choir singing, that's because, due to the positive side effects. It isn't on top of or another thing that's seemingly unrelated. So I definitely would go with no change. And let's go to question eight. And once again, I'm using a prototype version where it says six out of five, (laughs) seven out of five. It obviously should not be out of five, because there's more than five questions here. But let's go to question eight. So due to its positive side effects, therapists have used choir singing as an element for those dealing with depression and chronic pain. An element feels a little weird. An element of what? Let's see what the other options are. An accessory for those dealing with depression and chronic pain. An accessory, I imagine more of a bit of a, it wouldn't be a process like choir singing, it wouldn't be an activity. I wouldn't call an activity an accessory. Or a piece, I mean... Yeah, accessory doesn't feel right there. Let's see, choir singing as a supplement for those dealing with depression and chronic pain. A supplement could be good, because, you know, you wouldn't make this the primary treatment if someone has severe depression or chronic pain. You wouldn't just say, hey, why don't you go start singing in a choir. There's other things that the therapists would probably do to help alleviate or deal with the depression and chronic pain, but it would be a supplement, above and beyond what the more traditional methods might be. This could be something to do on top of that. Now, an addendum. An addendum, once again, this is like something that you add onto other things, and so it kind of is like a supplement. But you know, I view an addendum to kind of a presentation or to a position paper or something, something I add onto the back of something like that, like a proposal. I wouldn't use that word if I'm talking about treatment or dealing with something. And that's kind of how I feel about accessory. Accessory is something that kind of adds on, but I think of an accessory as more of a watch or a purse or something, not as much an element to go above and beyond the existing treatment. I like the word supplement here. But let's keep going. A study from an arts and health research center in Canterbury, England followed the progress of patients diagnosed with depression for a year after they joined a choir. 60% of patients reported improved mental health at the end of the year, and some were no longer experiencing suffering from clinical depression. So experiencing suffering, (laughs) that sounds weird. I would say, were no longer suffering from clinical depression, maybe, or no longer experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, but I wouldn't have experiencing and suffering there. I would get rid of one of them. But let's see what our options are. So, and some were no longer reporting that they were suffering from clinical depression. I mean, that reads well. And some were no longer reporting that they were suffering from clinical depression. But still feels a little bit heavy. You know, reporting that they were suffering, is that necessary? You could just say, some were no longer suffering. Let's see this next one. And some were no longer suffering from clinical depression by the end of the year. Well, this one is tempting, but we already said at the end of the year, at the end of that year, and then to say by the end of that year again? 60% of patients reported mental health at the end of that year, and some were no longer suffering clinical depression by the end of that year. You're saying by the end of that year twice. That's redundant. If it just said suffering from clinical depression, I actually wouldn't mind this choice. Let's see, I hope D works out well. (laughs) 60% of patients reported improved mental health at the end of that year, and some were no longer clinically depressed. Yeah, that feels good. Nice and clean, gets the point across. All right, so we've answered through nine, but we gotta remember, we skipped five, 'cause five is about what's a good topic sentence for that entire paragraph? So everything they've talked about, up here they're just talking about, hey, look, it makes people feel feelings of pleasure, and they even see it in the endorphins. You feel less stressed, the stress hormone decreases, you feel, feeling of emotional bonding goes up. And then to give even more evidence, they say that researchers have even used it to help alleviate, to deal with depression and chronic pain. So let's see, these choices. Singing in a choir can help prevent depression. Well, the second half of the paragraph does talk about that, but that's not the whole paragraph. The whole paragraph isn't just about depression. They are using depression as an example of how singing in a choir can make you feel better. So I wouldn't say that this is the topic. If this was the topic sentence, I don't know whether I would go as heavily on all of this other stuff here. I'd probably just start right over here. Let's see, the brain tends to respond favorably to group singing. Yeah, I think this is good. The brain tends to respond favorably to group singing. Let's see how that reads. The brain tends to respond favorably to group singing. Singing stimulates the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins. Yeah, we go straight into talking about the brain. Endorphins blunt pain and engender feelings of pleasure. So we're talking about all these ways that the brain reacts. And even when we're talking about depression, we're talking about how it helps the brain deal with these things. So yeah, I like choice C there. So yeah, we've done all the way through question nine. In the next video we can do the last few questions. So we're now on question 10. And in question 10, they just have a box here without any of the underlining, so they're not gonna ask us to actually change something. They're probably gonna ask us something more generally about the paragraph. Let's see what they ask us. At this point, so they are asking us something more general about the paragraph. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence. So this would be a sentence that would go right at the beginning of this paragraph. Scientists do not yet know all the benefits of singing, but the communal process that singing in a choir provides has many positive side effects. Should the writer make this addition here? So let me finish reading this paragraph. But it doesn't seem an unreasonable thing. This is the concluding paragraph, you kinda want to tie everything together. And so this is really what the passage is about. Scientists do not yet know all the benefits of singing, but the communal process that singing in a choir provides has many positive side effects. The second part, the communal process that singing in a choir provides has many positive side effects, seems to be what the passage is about, but let's see how they close out the paragraph. So if we went with this, so has many positive side effects. From the changes in heartbeat and breathing that result in a healthier heart to the reduction of cortisol and the production of endorphins that lower stress and increase happiness, so it does look like it's listing the many positive side effects. So I'm feeling pretty good about this. And then, well, this actually over here isn't a complete sentence. They're saying, from the changes in heartbeat and breathing that result in a healthier heart to the reduction of cortisol and production of endorphins that lower stress and increase happiness, and then we go into question 11. This should be a comma here to kind of complete this. We're saying from this to that to this, and then we need to make our statement. So it should be a comma, choir singing fulfills humans by letting them create art while being part of a group. So let's just go straight to question 11, put that comma in there. Yeah, (laughs) luckily there is a choice that has a comma here. 'Cause it's really just completing it. We're starting it, we're saying from this to that to that, now let's make our statement. Comma, let's make our statement. You need a complete... This, just the from part right over here, this is not a complete sentence. So with that out of the way, that we wanna put a comma here and not start a new sentence, let's go back to question 10. So the choices are, yes, we could put this first thing because it reinforces the primary claim of the passage. Yeah, it doesn't seem crazy. Let's read that again. Let's start with this. Scientists do not yet know all the benefits of singing, but the communal process that singing in a choir provides has many positive side effects. From the changes in heartbeat and breathing that result in a healthier heart to the reduction of cortisol and production of endorphins that lower stress and increase happiness, comma, lowercase c, choir singing fulfills humans by letting them create art while being part of a group. Yeah, everything right here is actually gonna be one sentence, 'cause we're gonna put the comma here. And so to start with this, that we don't know all the benefits but it has many positive side effects, and then we list 'em all here, and then we say, choir fulfills humans by letting them create art while being part of a group. Yeah, I like this. Let's see, yes because it offers additional information that supports the claim of the passage. No, this doesn't give us any new information. It's just tying things together. So I wouldn't pick B. No, because it provides information unrelated to the passage? Well, first of all, it is related to the passage, but it's not providing new information, so (laughs) choice C is definitely not the case. No, because it distracts from the focus of the previous paragraph. No, if anything it's a nice tie-in from the previous paragraph, 'cause the previous paragraphs were saying, hey, all these clues we have about the different ways choir singing might help the brain, but you know, these were just clues. We don't know exactly how the brain works, we don't know exactly the mechanism by which choir singing makes our brain do all of these positive things. So it's nice that they said, we don't know all of the answers yet. But, and then it restates, but it does have many positive side effects, and then we list those side effects and then we kind of close it all up together. Yeah, so I feel good about A for question 10, and then B for 11, where we definitely don't want, this thing right over here wasn't a complete sentence. And once again, I'm using a prototype version of this, so this is a little bit of a bug. It should say question 11 out of 11. Anyway, you get the point.