Why Most of What We Have Been Taught
about How to Write Paragraphs
Just Won’t Do

George D. Gopen
Duke University

           

A.  Beginnings

1a.        Much has happened since the Apollo program and the Mercury and Gemini missions that paved the way for it in the early 1960's.  Numerous scientific and communications satellites have been launched into Earth orbit.  Unmanned deep-space probes have been sent to the sun, the moon, and the planets, where they gathered a wealth of information about our solar system.  Skylab demonstrated that American astronauts could live and work in space for months at a time.  And a dramatically different launch vehicle entered service: the space shuttle.  The winged reusable craft was supposed to make space flight routine and cheap.

1b.         Numerous scientific and communications satellites have been launched into Earth orbit.  Unmanned deep-space probes have been sent to the sun, the moon, and the planets, where they gathered a wealth of information about our solar system.  Skylab demonstrated that American astronauts could live and work in space for months at a time.  And a dramatically different launch vehicle entered service: the space shuttle.  The winged reusable craft was supposed to make space flight routine and cheap.  Much has happened since the Apollo program and the Mercury and Gemini missions that paved the way for it in the early 1960's. 

B.  Ends

2a.         The summer I was 16, I took a train from New York to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where I was going to be assistant horse wrangler at a camp.  The trip took three days, and since I was much too shy to talk to strangers, I had quite a lot of time for reading.  I read all of Gone with the Wind.  I read all the interesting articles in a couple of magazines I had, and then I went back and read all the dull stuff.  I also took all the quizzes, a thing of which magazines were even fuller than now.

2b.         The summer I was 16, I took a train from New York to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where I was going to be assistant horse wrangler at a camp.  The trip took three days, and since I was much too shy to talk to strangers, I had quite a lot of time for reading.  I read all the interesting articles in a couple of magazines I had, and then I went back and read all the dull stuff.  I also took all the quizzes, a thing of which magazines were even fuller than now.  I read all of Gone with the Wind.           

2c.         The summer I was 16, I took a train from New York to Steamboat Springs, Colo.  The trip took three days, and since I was much too shy to talk to strangers, I had quite a lot of time for reading.  I read all of Gone with the Wind.  I read all the interesting articles in a couple of magazines I had, and then I went back and read all the dull stuff.  I also took all the quizzes, a thing of which magazines were even fuller than now.  I was going to be assistant horse wrangler at a camp. 

2d.         The summer I was 16, I took a train from New York to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where I was going to be assistant horse wrangler at a camp.  Since the trip took three days, I had quite a lot of time for reading.  I read all of Gone with the Wind.  I read all the interesting articles in a couple of magazines I had, and then I went back and read all the dull stuff.  I also took all the quizzes, a thing of which magazines were even fuller than now.  I was much too shy to talk to strangers.

C.  What’s the Point?

3a.         Several other authors have recently reported clinical studies evaluating the use of moxalactam for the treatment of bacterial infections.  Livingston and coworkers treated 50 patients with a variety of infections, obtaining a cure in 45 of the 47 evaluable cases.  Lentino et al successfully treated 40 patients who had lower respiratory tract bacterial infections with moxalactam.  Tofte et al obtained cures in 42 of 45 bacterial infections treated with moxalactam.  Side effects in all studies have generally included minor abnormalities in renal and liver functions, eosinophilia, mild anemia, anorexia, and drug fever.  One patient in each of two studies had diarrhea requiring cessation of antibiotic therapy.

3b.         Several other authors have recently reported clinical studies evaluating the use of moxalactam for the treatment of bacterial infections.  In all studies, moxalactam had sides effects.  Livingston and coworkers treated 50 patients with a variety of infections, obtaining a cure in 45 of the 47 evaluable cases.  Lentino et al successfully treated 40 patients who had lower respiratory tract bacterial infections with moxalactam.  Tofte et al obtained cures in 42 of 45 bacterial infections treated with moxalactam.  In each of two studies, one patient had diarrhea requiring cessation of antibiotic therapy.  Side effects have generally included minor abnormalities in renal and liver functions, eosinophilia, mild anemia, anorexia, and drug fever. 

3c.         Several other authors have recently reported clinical studies evaluating the use of moxalactam for the treatment of bacterial infections.  Livingston and coworkers treated 50 patients with a variety of infections; in 45 of the 47 evaluable cases, they obtained a cure.  Lentino et al used moxalactam to treat lower respiratory tract bacterial infections in each of 40 cases successfully.  Tofte et al treated bacterial infections with moxalactam, obtaining cures in 42 of 45 cases.  In all studies, side effects were generally minor: mild anemia, eosinophilia, anorexia, drug fever, and minor abnormalities in renal and liver functions; only two patients of the approximately 150 treated had diarrhea severe enough to require cessation of antibiotic therapy.  Moxalactam clearly show great promise.

4.       Dear Mr. President,

    As a concerned citizen of the United States, I am writing to you to express my disapproval of the current state of affairs in South Africa.  Certainly you are aware of the system of apartheid, which has been in effect for some three hundred years.  Apartheid is a system of racial segregation in housing, education, and commerce throughout the various provinces of South Africa.  It is propagated by the government of South Africa, which is composed entirely of whites, in a nation with a large black majority.  The government keeps the black majority in a state of disenfranchisement and denies all means of self determination to the country's majority.

    Mr. President, this flagrant disregard for human rights and democratic principles flies in the face of all accepted principles of democracy and morality.  Seeds of rebellion are being sewn by black opposition leaders in South Africa.  A liberated black majority in South Africa is a nation whose time has come.  There will be no turning back.  Considering the geopolitical position which South Africa maintains, I urge you not to alienate the emerging black revolutionary forces which will inevitably claim power in South Africa.  Please pledge the complete support of the United States to ending apartheid in South Africa and ensuring a healthy relationship with the new government that is to come.

          Yours sincerely,

          Duke Freshman              

5.            The essential element of the structure is the manner in which the two chains are held together by hydrogen bonds between the bases.  The bases are perpendicular to the fiber axis and joined together in pairs.  The pairing arrangement is very specific, and only certain pairs of bases will fit into the structure.  The basic reason for this is that we have assumed that the backbone of each polynucleotide chain is in the form of a regular helix.  Thus, irrespective of which bases are present, the glucosidic bonds (which join sugar and base) are arranged in a regular manner in space.  In particular, any two glucosidic bonds (one from each chain) which are attached to a bonded pair of bases, must always occur at a fixed distance apart due to the regularity of the two backbones to which they are joined.  The result is that one member of a pair of bases must always be a purine, and the other a pyrimidine, in order to bridge between the two chains. If a pair consisted of two purines, for example, there would not be room for it; if of two pyrimidines, they would be too far apart to form hydrogen bonds.                    

D.  Argumentation vs. “My Day at the Library”

6.                Without question, Pete Rose should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He should not be judged on his personal failures, rather, on his achievement in the field of baseball.  He has already given up considerable admiration; nevertheless, he will always have 4,256 career hits, and you can't take that away from him.  He has already been punished for his gambling and tax evasion, and this stigma will last forever.  He is a man who has lost face.  Pete Rose is a man who has been stripped of his dignity.

7.                In this suit Section 1823(e) would be applied to circumstances which occurred prior to the amendment of the FDI Act in August 1989 (FIRREA).  Application of 1823(e) has arisen predominantly in cases where the FDIC has taken a plaintiff's position.  In this case 1823(e) would be used defensively and applied to a Receivership situation.  Moreover, in this instance it appears that some of the requirements of 1823(e) have been met.  Consequently, in asserting 1823(e) here three significant hurdles must be overcome:  first, whether it can be applied retroactively; second, whether 1823(e) can be applied in a defensively litigated matter; and third, where some of the conditions of 1823(e) have been met.  This uncertainty makes it less than desirable to test the applicability of 1823(e) under the facts presented.

E.  Purpose

8.                We regret to inform you that Oilco must terminate its current franchise agreement and franchise relationship with you effective October 30, 1989.  This decision is based on your continued violation, despite numerous warnings, of Article IV (D) (1) of the PMPA Motor Fuels Franchise Agreement, which requires you to devote your major efforts and business expertise to the management of the service station.  It requires you to be at your station no less than thirty-five (35) hours per week, with at least four (4) hours spent at the station between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., five (5) days a week.  Our termination is also based on your violation of Articles I, II, and IV of the Franchise Agreement which require you to maintain an inventory of Oilco products sufficient to serve customers and your failure to use your best efforts to maximize the sale of Oilco's motor fuel products at your service station.  These provisions are both reasonable and of material significance to our franchise relationship.

F.  The Coda

9.                But anyone who writes about rules and not facts is going to have a difficult time composing an appealing piece.  What intrigues most readers are stories about people; a story is usually the development of a character.  For example, what would make the story in Erie v. Tompkins interesting to the typical reader is what happened to Tompkins, not what happened to the doctrine of Swift v. Tyson.  But the legal writer must ignore the attractive part of a story and be content instead to discuss the application of rules in a way that tells lawyers what doctrines they should follow.  Even Joan Didion would have trouble doing much within those constraints.