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SMARTHINKING's E-structor Response Form

(Your marked-up essay is below this form.)

HOW THIS WORKS: Your e-structor has written overview comments about your
essay in the form below. Your e-structor has also embedded comments [in bold and
in brackets] throughout your essay. Thank you for choosing SMARTHINKING's OWL;
best wishes with revising your paper!
Hi Valerie! My name is Aimee M., and it’s my pleasure to work with you today.
*Strengths of the essay:
I think your paper has a lot of potential, Valerie. You make some really good points about the
dangers of urban sprawl, and this was very interesting to read. Good work!
While we don’t edit papers for students, we’re happy to share some ideas about how you can
strengthen your essay before submitting it for a grade. 
Main Idea/Thesis:
In an argumentative or persuasive essay, you’ll want to make sure that the introduction
paragraph ends with a thesis statement that tells the reader your main idea, or main point,
about your topic. This will be your argument.

A strong thesis statement will do two things:

1. Tell the reader your main idea about your topic
2. Explain the main reasons why this thesis is true
Here is an example of this type of thesis:
The designated hitter is beneficial to baseball because it makes the game more
interesting, makes pitching more compelling, adds drama to the rivalry between the
teams ,and extends the careers of many players.
As you can see, this explains my main point (the designated hitter is beneficial to baseball)
and explains the main reasons why this is true.
If you can make sure that your thesis statement states your main idea about gay marriage
and the three reasons why your thesis is valid, or true, then I think you’ll have a really strong
Here’s an example of how you might structure this:
Urban sprawl should be _____________ because it is ____________, ____________,
____________, and ___________________.
If you follow this type of model for your thesis, you can also use it to make sure that you have
a well-organized paper that proves your thesis (more on this below). This is only a model, so
don’t feel like the structure of your thesis has to be identical to it, but this gives you an idea of
the kinds of things that you would need to include a strong thesis.
You might also check out this resource, which will be helpful as you work on developing a
thesis: Thesis Development (Chapter 3: Lesson 6)
As I mentioned above, you can use the thesis to help you organize the paper. If each body
section (1 section = 1-4 paragraphs) discusses one of the reasons why your argument is
valid or true, then it will be much easier to write a paper that proves your argument.
Here is an example of how you might structure this type of paper:
I. Introduction (ends with thesis)
II. Body section: First reason why urban sprawl is damaging
III. Body section: Second reason why urban sprawl is damaging

IV. Body section: Third reason why urban sprawl is damaging

V. Body section: Fourth reason why urban sprawl is damaging

VI. Conclusion
If you follow this type of organization model, then you’re using the paper to prove the
argument, and this almost always results in a much stronger paper. As I mentioned above, I
think you have some great information in your paper, so if you make sure that you organize
the paper carefully, I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
Right now, I don’t think your introduction paragraph is quite as focusedas it needs to be.
There’s some good information in there but it’s a little bit hard to follow. Adding a thesis
statement will help a lot with focusing the introduction, and I would also recommend thinking
carefully about the structure.
This model/formula is very helpful when writing an introduction:
1. What is the most interesting fact, idea, or point, about this topic? This will help you to
“grab” your reader’s attention.
2. Are there any background points, definitions or history that the reader needs to
understand your paper? This will ensure that the reader has enough information to follow
the essay.
3. What is your specific main idea or main pointabout this topic? This will be the thesis,
which we discussed above.
If you can address each above point in a sentence or two (or three), you’ll have a strong
introduction to the paper. Try to keep the paragraph to about ½ a page, because longer
introductions can be difficult for a reader to understand.
For more on this, see Writing Introductions and Conclusions (Chapter 3, Lesson 19)
Content Development:
In general, you’ll want to avoid just pasting entire transcripts of interviewsinto a research
paper. Instead, treat the interview as you would any other source. For instance, if you read an
article about urban sprawl you wouldn’t just copy and paste the entire article into the paper;
instead, you’d use the relevant points from the article to help support and explain your thesis
For example, since your friend mentioned how sprawl is affecting her financially, you could
include some discussion of her experience (but not the transcript of the actual interview) in
the section of the paper that argues that sprawl is financially damaging or devastating to some
communities. You could indicate that sprawl causes house values to plummet in certain areas,
and explain other financial consequences. Instead of just repeating what she said, you’d be
using the information from the interview to support your argument.
*Valerie 1943959 has requested that you respond to the Grammar & Mechanics:
Unless they’re separating items in a list, semicolons separate two closely related independent
clauses (groups of words that can stand alone as complete sentences). Here’s an example:
I woke up two hours before my alarm; however, it was a beautiful sunrise and I got
up to watch it.
Just make sure that you have two independent clauses, and if not, revise the sentence or
revise the punctuation. Here’s one of the sentences from your paper that needs some
attention to this issue:
The real meaning of development is; the unrestrained increase of urban development.
Right now, neither clause is independent. You’ll either want to revise so that both parts of the
sentence are independent, or just remove the semicolon altogether.

Smarthinking’s great resource on Punctuation (Chapter 5, Lesson 8) will also be helpful to


Hanging quotations occur when entire sentences of quoted text are not “attached” to one of
your sentences. It’s a good idea to avoid these, because quotations need to be part of your
prose, and part of your sentences. Here’s an example of a hanging quotations from your

“But to others, so-called suburban sprawl and its tidy subdivisions are rapidly chewing
up one of America's most cherished assets open space” (Cooper).

First, you can easily add a signal phrase to the sentence, like this:
According to Ortiz and Ramirez (2008), “the power hitters are the foundations of a
strong batting order” (p. 55).
You can also introduce it with another sentence, but instead of using a period at the end of the
“introducing” sentence, you’ll use a colon. Here’s an example:

I often wondered about who sits in the expensive box seats behind home plate:
“These are generally sold to private companies and other corporate clients who want
to reward employees and impress potential customers” (Henry, 2008, p. 43).

Whatever you choose, just make sure that all quotations are “attached” to your sentences. 
*Valerie 1943959 has requested that you respond to the Transitions:
I didn’t see problems or issues with the transitions at this stage, so I don’t have any
suggestions for revision at this time.
Summary of Next Steps:
Here’s a reminder the revisions we discussed today:

 Develop a thesis statement for your paper.

 Organize the paper to support your thesis.

 Work on focusing the introduction paragraph.

 Avoid including the entire transcript of an interview in the paper.

 Attach hanging quotations to your sentences

 Make sure semicolons separate two independent clauses.

While this isn’t everything that you’ll need to address, this should help you to make a lot of
progress on your draft. You are more than welcome to submit your revised draft for more
feedback. We’re here to help and we look forward to working with you again soon! Good luck
on your assignment, and thank you for using Smarthinking.
Find additional resources in SMARTHINKING's online library:
You can find more information about writing, grammar, and usage in
SMARTHINKING's student handbooks. You can visit the SMARTHINKING Writer's
Handbook or the SMARTHINKING ESOL (English for speakers of other languages)
Writer's Handbook.
Please look for more comments in your essay below. Thank you for visiting
SMARTHINKING. We encourage you to submit future essays.

Valerie Vinay

English 102 Course # 49543

June Olson

10 December 2008

The Tragic Outcome of Urban Sprawl

Often people wonder what their lives will be like down the road. Are they going

to have a successful life with no flaws or is it going to go downhill at some point? Many

people do not think about certain topics such as development. It may not be affecting

them, but to many others development could be destroying them. Development has many

different meanings. It could mean that new shopping malls, highways, houses, etc are

being built. The real meaning of development is; the unrestrained increase of urban

development. Development has its ups and downs. Just like many other topics there are

advantages and disadvantages. This is just the beginning of urban sprawl! Have you ever

wondered what was once in the place where you are standing right now? Maybe it was

nothing at all. Maybe developers wanted to spice things up. The advantage of urban

sprawl is that the community gets to experience new things. It is like the saying, “out

with the old in with the new”, but with every advantage there are many disadvantages

that go along with it. A huge disadvantage could be that new shopping mall everyone’s

raving about, is going right on top of your precious home. It is not so great when you are
forced out of your home. What is funny is that does not really matter to anyone else.

Their not being affected so who cares, right? No, not who cares, people buy these homes

to live comfortably, not to be bombarded out of them. I decided to interview someone

who is experiencing something similar. This is exactly how the paper and interview went;

[Valerie, I have some ideas about the thesis statement and introduction. Please see

my comments above.]

Rant and Rave

This is not an ordinary paper. [Try not to refer to the paper in the paper.] I

guess you can call it a real life situation. Everyone goes through hard times, right? It

seems as if the state of Arizona is giving more than enough problems to Arizona

residents. I mean it’s not just Arizona. What I am talking about is development/urban

sprawl! What kind of development? All kinds of development are destroying homes,

animals, people and history. The beauty in wildlife and the forest are being taken down in

a blink of an eye. Developers are building highways that are destroying people’s homes.

They are building homes that are destroying beautiful forests, for what? For people to

live on is why it’s being destroyed? What people do not understand is that pretty soon the

United States is going to be full of houses, shopping malls, etc. History and beauty will

be destroyed for development. What’s even crazier is that I know someone who is

experiencing this now. She lives in a ritzy area where she never thought development

would take over. Her problem is that a highway is being built right where her beautiful

home stands. I recorded an interview with a close family friend of mine. This is exactly

how it went:

Me: Hi, Ann! How are you doing today?

Ann: You know just living my life!

Me: That’s good! So, I have a couple questions and I know you would be the best person

for it!

Ann: Awesome! What kind of questions are they?

Me: Well in my English class I had to do some sort of project on my research topic,

which is development.

Ann: You knew I was perfect for this didn’t you?

Me: Most definitely! First off, how is development affecting where you live and your

life? I mean that has got to be hard!

Ann: The development where I live has affected me so much. It really doesn’t seem like

it should be too big of a deal. I have had to find new resources to get to work. You

wouldn’t believe how much it does affect a person. I have not had enough time to figure

out where the hell I’m supposed to go. The economy has gone to you know what! I am

going to get minimum pay for my house. I was so mad because now I basically lost assets

on my house. My profit value of the house is definitely not going to be paid in full.

Me: Wow that really takes a toll on a person. Have you ever argued against your house

being taken away from you?

Ann: Of course I have argued against my house being taken from me, who wouldn’t? My

kid’s home, where they grew up, is being taken away from me. I am not the only one who

is upset about this. My neighbors are being affected also. Many of them got lawyers, but I

took my way to fight against this. I have gone to several county meetings and argued

straight to the enemy’s face about what they are doing. They have heard my peace and all

they care about is their stupid property. They do not take into realization that, hello, their

affecting several people’s lives.

Me: So, what actions are you going take now?

Ann: What can we do is the question you should be asking. This plan for this highway

has been in affect for several years and hasn’t been released to the public until recently.

Developers were even building houses where the highway would go because no one had

any idea. The steps we have already taken have done nothing. No one wants to hear about

the people, the ones who live in these houses! The only thing they care about is

improving transportation for the rich.

Me: You have good insight on this topic. This is such good information. How much

warning were you given ahead of time?

Ann: Apparently not enough! If they would’ve warned us five years ago when the plan

came up in discussion, I would’ve never kept investing. I would have put my money

away and relocated under different circumstances.

Me: It’s funny how the government can just do this to people. Has this caused problems

personally in your life?

Ann: Like I said in the beginning, I have lived in this same house for 10 years; my kids

basically grew up in this house. I built this house here for a reason; it wasn’t a popular

place and I wanted to get away from possible development where my last house was. It

affects me money wise; there is history in this house and my whole life. [Please see my

comments above on referring to an interview in the body of a research paper.]

Ann had great insight. She is really affected by development. In a blink of an eye,

your house could be taken. It’s funny because no matter what you say or do you really

cannot stop development. The world is a crazy place and it is hard to stop destruction.

Urban sprawl has become an issue that has affected many lives. It may have great

assets, but with every great asset there is a disadvantage. The cost of development can

shoot through the roof, which causes many cities such as phoenix to suffer. [Remember
to capitalize the titles or proper nouns, such as place names like Phoenix.] Not only is

it expensive, but it is causing people more money to help its development and to keep it

active. By building more the city is losing more. History is being taken away from

because of new fancy high tech buildings. These new developments are putting the

homes of people at risk, which causes them to have to pick up and leave. With new

development comes run down buildings because of the financial state of Arizona. The

sprawl of this can affect not only people, but the history and animals around it. Today’s

development has upset the equilibrium in finance, environment and human lives. [These

are good points! Keep them in mind as you work on the thesis. ]

Development is rapidly overpowering the homes of animals, wildlife, and people.

Just like people, animals need homes, but with the rapid growth of development animals

and wildlife are slowly diminishing. “But to others, so-called suburban sprawl and its tidy

subdivisions are rapidly chewing up one of America's most cherished assets open space”

(Cooper). The exquisiteness of open space is that any single person can go and cherish

the amazing land that has produced such tremendous beauty. Most people see wildlife

roaming the plains of forests, country land, or just big open spaces. People often go to

visit these places to escape the world they live in. These utopian places will diminish as

time unveils. Development will soon destroy what was once someone else’s home

(wildlife). There are people out there who are willing to fight against open spaces being

taken away. It makes survival of certain wildlife species difficult. It is difficult because

they are trying to find breeding ponds, hibernation sites, feeding locations, or finding a

nesting area. That is not possible when they are being killed or pushed away from their

These new developments are putting the homes of people at risk, which causes

them to have to pick up and leave. In the novel Deliverance by James Dickey, the main

character wants to experience the wilderness before it is too late. As he experiences it he

realizes that different areas are sometimes meant for the people that live there at that

point in time and not to be touched. These issues should be looked over when developers

try to take over land that should not be touched for various reasons. ”Property-rights

advocates and other critics say the government should not force home and business

owners to turn over their property to other private parties” (Jost). People have to face the

horrendous news each day; their homes are being taken away. [You use the semicolon

perfectly here!] Farmers who not only live on their land, but work on their land are not

only losing their home, but their jobs also. That puts a lot of risk on everybody and the

unemployment rate could increase around the farm lands. In Ahwatukee, Arizona many

fear for the new highway being built. The highway being built means many have to get

rid of their homes and find somewhere else to live. Not only do they have to move out,

butthe highway is going right on top of their once owned houses. Many wonder why a

random highway is being built? The highway is being built so people do not have to drive

farther around South Mountain. They can drive right on through and get to their

destination quickly. Although it may save time on getting to work or school or anywhere

for that matter, it is affecting the people who live right there. This is not fair to people

who have worked hard to make a living and to establish where they are living. There is

not much they can do about it, but to keep fighting for their rights. Anyone put in that

situation takes a toll not only emotionally, but physically.

When developing, the government is spending money on creating new roads,

highways, houses, etc for expanding developments instead of maintaining the existing.
The more development the government plans to create the more in debt they are going to

become. Homes and businesses start to spread farther apart and the government is meant

to provide for spaced services. With every problem the government has a solution.

“Owners of these dispersed developments seldom pay the full government costs of

serving them, forcing the rest of us to subsidize them with higher taxes at the local, state

and federal level”( ). [This is another example of a hanging quotation. Be sure to

attach it to one of your sentences. ] It is not fair to higher taxes because the

government feels there needs to be new infrastructures. Money is a huge factor in any

case of development. By creating new development it is attracting more people to these

places, which is not good. It causes job opportunities to spread over a great area and also

forces governments to direct more funds towards new development instead of focusing

on existing problems. “And a lot of times commercial uses such as shopping centers yield

higher taxes than residential uses, which consume more city services” (Cooper). No one

realizes the long term personal costs and risks of maintaining remote properties. Property

taxes start to rise because they have to cover service costs and fuel costs. Transportation

costs for children are much higher as well. The economy at this point in time has gone

into recession. With all the extra costs and taxes the government is going to run the

people down and there is going to be no more money. People are not going to be able to

pay their bills, let alone their taxes. Without the money from the taxes the development

that is in process or is already up and running will soon diminish to nothing. Even when

the economy is at its all time low, it does not seem to matter.

Sprawl is created to attract more people to bring in more money. On the real side

though, it is creating more money problems and health problems. Sprawl increases more

traffic, which leads to major increase in air pollution and smog. It is not only a threat to
public health, but wildlife health as well. By creating more air pollution it becomes water

pollution. These very things are creating water pollution; construction site erosion, fuel

spills, oil leaks, paint spills, lawn chemicals, pet wastes, etc. “More than 60 urban areas

are not within the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines for carbon

dioxide or round level ozone” ( ). The pollution is getting worse as time releases and

has affected smaller communities outside these higher density pollution metropolitan

areas. People are suffering from the pollution that the development is bringing. By

building more, it attracts more tourism and people to live in these areas. By doing so it is

increasing the air pollution, which has risks to the human body. “As a by-product of

increased air pollution, the number of people suffering from chronic respiratory illnesses

has increased to about 20,000 to 40,000 cases annually with the number of premature

deaths from “cardiopulmonary causes linked to particulate air pollution” at around 64,000

per year”( ). It really tares down the respiratory system. If the government keeps

building and keeps attracting more people to the new developed areas, soon everyone

could die off because of the harmful affects.

In conclusion, urban sprawl has a major impact on not only the people, but the

wildlife as well in many factors. It is diminishing the natural habitats of wildlife. It also

destroys a large amount of our natural resources. The financial status of sprawl greatly

affects everyone around and can cause people great stress. [You have strong and clear

reasons here! Remember these as you develop your thesis.] There are ways that

everyone can come together to help though. Sprawl can be managed. There needs to be

cooperation between state and local governments, planning commissions, developers,

environmentalists, and citizens can bring change in land use and development.

Communities can grow proficiently by building away from natural wildlife resources and
by using existing infrastructure. If cities can come to realization of good transportation

planning, it can have a great impact. If the city wants successful revival it involves

keeping financial resources in a lively city and investing in downtown and inner suburb

areas. It is very important that we help stop unnecessary development because our

economy cannot afford to build new things that are not needed. Although new buildings

etc sound nice we have to think about the cost effect and what it could be doing to the

people and buildings around it. People need to be more educated about development

because then they may then want a voice in development. It takes time and consideration,

but with the help of everyone the residential and commercial areas can turn out to be safe

and healthy.
Work Cited

Fritts, Josh. "Urban Sprawl." 11 Dec. 2008


"Urban Sprawl Changes Landscape." 2000. 1 Dec. 2008


Jost, Kenneth. "Property Rights." 2005. The CQ Researcher. 1 Mar. 20