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Guidelines for Writing Good Descriptions


OVERVIEW. Begin with a brief overview that reveals the object's (a) overall framework, arrangement, or shape, and (b) purpose or function. PARTS. Divide the object into parts and describe each part (a) in enough detail to use, make, or draw it, and (b) in a way that reveals its role, its relation to other parts. ORDER. Organize the part descriptions to help your reader: (a) spatial order (top to bottom, outside to inside), or (b) priority order (most to least important), or (c) chronological order (order of [dis]assembly).


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SPECIFICS. o Include relevant specific features (such as size, shape, color, material, technical names). o Omit irrelevant background, confusing details, and needless words. COMPARISON. Compare features or parts with other things already familiar. CONTRAST. Contrast properties with different ones to reveal their significance.

Signals for Your Reader

FORMAT. Clarify your text with: o Heads. Identify topics with clear, nested section headings. o Lists. Itemize related features with indenting and marks. o Figures. Integrate figures and text with labels and references. VERBAL CUES. Guide your reader's expectations with: o Parallelism. Use parallel words and phrases for parallel ideas. o Proleptics. Use verbal links (also, but, however, etc.) to signal how your description fits together.

Exercise 1: Paper Clip Description Case 1: Description A "Gem-style" paper clip is a length of stiff steel wire bent into three flat. The wire is a 1-mm-diameter steel cylinder that is 10 cm long. nested loops (Fig. The wire in each inner loop touches and runs parallel to the outer loop that wraps around it. It is bendable in the fingers but stiff. The first loop (a) is a smooth. The third loop (c) is another U-shaped turn to the right that starts 2 cm beyond (b) and has a diameter just small enough to fit snugly within the second loop (as well as the first). 1) to hold sheets of paper together when they are inserted between the loops. The second loop (b) is a U-shaped turn to the left that starts 3 cm farther along the wire and has a diameter just small enough to fit snugly within the first loop. U-shaped turn to the right that starts 2 cm from the outermost end of the wire. FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: Paper Clip FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: . All three loops lie in the same plane. and pushing them out of that plane just enough to slide several sheets of paper between them makes the paper clip act like a spring and squeeze the sheets together.

1). the other two strips fit over the post through a circular hole in each that lets them move freely along its length. applying high force (at the bend) to the middle of the strip below it. with its fulcrum at the post (F in Fig.Exercise 2: Nail Clippers Description Case 2: Description Nail clippers combine two steel levers to make a strong. Gentle force moves the long end through a long distance. A steel post (3 mm in diameter and 1 cm long) connects all these strips (Fig. it has a short vertical section (bent toward the lower strip). stable tool that clips off the end of a finger nail with little applied force and much control. At the other end. It is welded at that end to the bottom strip (below it). The middle strip gently bends upward about 10 degrees near the end away from the post. against which the the handle's short end pivots. 5 cm long. and 1 mm thick. also with a beveled cutting edge. The bottom strip is riveted to the post at right angles. with a short 90-degree bend and beveled cutting edge on the end nearest the post. The middle strip forms a FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: Nail Clippers Analysis FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE: WHY: FEATURE(S): . The bottom strip is straight. The handle (top strip) forms a second-class lever. which is free to move. It bends upward at a 45-degree angle about one fifth of the way from the end that passes over the post. Clippers consist of three steel strips about 1 cm wide. The top strip forms the handle of the clippers. 2).

WHY: . High force applied to its middle by the handle bend (above it) moves the cutting edge gently through enough distance to meet the facing edge below it.third-class lever. with its fulcrum (F) at the welded end. carefully cutting any finger nail inserted between the beveled edges.

because individuals differ in the pattern of repeats of the basic sequence. This simple finding turned out to have far-reaching consequences. containing four. and two repeats. three. when they discovered that this fragment contained a sequence of bases repeated several times. They are widely used in forensic laboratories to identify individuals who have left blood or other DNA. but not inside. again repeated several times. α-globin. Thus. In this case. Such DNA typing has its roots in a discovery by Alec Jeffreys and his colleagues in 1985. A DNA fingerprint is actually a southern blot. Read the following passage to see how the information can be useful. respectively (some regions containing unrelated DNA sequences). Jeffreys chose this enzyme because the sequence he had found did not contain a HaeIII recognition site.The information in DNA can be used for many purposes. To make one. they found similar minisatellite sequences in other places in the human genome. investigators first cut out the DNA under study with a restriction enzyme such as HaeIII. More interestingly. In fact. two individuals have only a remote chance of having exactly the same pattern.containing tissues at the scenes of crimes. This kind of repeated DNA is called minisatellite. indeed they are called DNA fingerprints. three different – size fragments bearing these repeated regions . That means that these patterns are like fingerprints. DNA fingerprinting and DNA typing Southern Blots are not just a research tool. These workers were investigating a DNA fragment from a gene of a human blood protein. the DNA has three sets of repeated regions. That means HeaIII will cut on either side of the minisatellite regions.

and blotted. denatured. and the labeled bands are detected with X – ray film. This complexity makes DNA fingerprinting a very powerful identification technique. so they will have many more than three fragments that contain a minisatellite sequence that will react with the probe. True False 6 A restriction enzyme such as HaeIII will cut on inside the minisatellite regions. True False 5 Police can identify a criminal from his identical twin using DNA fingerprinting. As we have already mentioned. Next. The blot is then probed with a labeled minisatellite DNA. True False . this is such a complex pattern of fragments that the patterns for two individuals are extremely unlikely to be identical. the fragments are electrophoresed. False True 3 Generally. Real animals have more complex genome than the simple piece of DNA in this example. three labeled bands occur. or by phosphor imaging. In this case. DNA fingerprinting and DNA typing True and false statements 1 Southern blot is an identification technique in the police work. True False 2 Alec Jeffreys and his colleagues in 1985 discovered Southern blots. individuals differ in the pattern of repeats of the basic sequences in DNA False True 4 DNA fingerprinting is the most widely used identification technique for criminal identification. so three dark bands will appear on the film. unless they come from monozygotic twins.will be produced.

. basic unique repeated sequential 3 DNA fingerprinting is a very powerful identification technique because the patterns of fragments are…………………… repeated identical complicated divided in 3 parts Table completion *Three dark bands appear on the film. *The DNA has three sets of repeated regions. . *Three different size fragment bearing repeated regions are produced. globin minisatellite genome bands 2 DNA fingerprints are similar to ordinary fingerprints in that they are …………………. denatured and blotted.. *Electrophoresed. *The sequence chosen does not contain a Hae III recognition site. *The blot is probed with a labeled minisatellite DNA.Multiple-choice questions 1 Repeated DNA in a gene fragment is called …………. *Detected by X-ray film or by phosphor imaging.

. A group of cells making animal or plant body parts or organs is called ………………… A ……………………. scientists.divides DNA molecules at specific sequences of nucleotides.1 2 3 4 Vocabulary If the molecules are moved through a liquid or gel under the influence of an electric field. The complete set of genes present in a cell is called ……………… Detection of crime by DNA fingerprinting is done by ……………………. then the molecules are ……………………. ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? .

twins. finding can be widely applicable and carries many consequences. A ……………………. ??? ??? ??? .. Twins from a single ovum are called …………………..Changing the properties of a molecule by disruption of its conformation is called …………………….