Analyze Information and Style


While encyclopedia articles are generally written in an impersonal style, many popular books about nonfiction topics are written in a more literary, creative style.  In this assignment, you will read for two facets of writing: information and style.

A. Write a proper bibliographic entry: Author. Title. City: Publisher, copyright date.

B. Record elements of literary style, using quotation marks to indicate any phrases or sentences you copy.  Make sure to include page numbers, so you can later prove your evidence.

1. Alliteration (Two or more adjoining words that start with the same letter):

2. Appositives (Phrases or words, inserted in commas or dashes, to add details or clarification):

3. Consonance (Repeating consonants, especially at the ends of words; e.g. last and best):

4. Emotive words (Words that add emotion; e.g. friendly; demand):

5. Irony (Saying the opposite of what is meant):

6. Litotes (Understatement; e.g. not a bad idea):

7. Metaphors (Saying something is something else):

8. Parallel structure (Starting or ending adjoining phrases or sentences with the same set of words in order to create rhythm):

9. Personification (Giving human-like qualities to nonhumans):

10. Powerful adjectives (e.g. ‘pounding rain’ rather than ‘falling rain’):

11. Powerful nouns (e.g. ‘mansion’ rather than ‘house’):

12. Powerful verbs (e.g. ‘sauntered’ rather than ‘walked’):        

13. Repetition for effect (Repeating the same word or phrase to create emphasis):

14. Short sentences used for emphasis:

15. Similes (Saying something is like something else):

16. Words added for emphasis (e.g. truly, certainly):

C. Make a list of important facts mentioned in this book. Include the page numbers.

D. Summarize: Write one powerful sentence telling what is important to remember about the topic and why it is important.

 [This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided:
©2012 Sophie Rosen.]


Farrell, Jeanette. Invisible Allies: Microbes that Shape our Lives. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005.

Hatkoff, Amy. The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Capacities.  New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009.


Microbes Are Us: An Analysis of an Excerpt from a Book
by Agnes    Oct 30, 2012
Paragraph One
Powerful verbs: saturated, crawling
Figure of speech: metaphor; fun-house ride simile; as the cheese
Parallel structure: as…. as…. as….
Information: 90%of our body is made out of microbes.
Paragraph Two
Powerful verbs: swim, venturing, yawning
Figure of speech: personification; moving in, raise their kids
Alliteration: microbes move, travel toward, which we
Information: microbe free when born, our large intestine has most.
Paragraph Three
Adjectives: cheese-sandwich-and- chocolate-bar, good number of, a few more, five-foot long
Figure of speech: action, wasteland
Appositive: transformed into an unattractive remnant of itself
Information: stomach has few, small intestine has some, mouth has good number and large intestine has the most microbes.
Paragraph Four
Powerful verbs: refuse, tolerate, roam free, wishing, explore
Powerful nouns: inhabitants, variety, coddled, wilderness
Information: only few can survive outside the bowls.
Paragraph Five
What words and phrases does the author use to make bacteria seem almost human? creature, settled neighborhood, families, lifestyle, individual
Information: twenty minutes before it splits into two.
Paragraph Six and Seven
Information: the stainless steel box in which the microbe free rat lived, his food and his water had to be heated under high pressure in order to kill any microbe life that might be lurking with in.
Paragraph Eight to Eleven
Topic sentence for section: Very quickly it became clear that the creatures living within us make a difference; Another surprising thing was that although these germ-free animals could grow bigger than ordinary animals, they needed a lot more food to do so; And germ-free creatures needed to be given all of their vitamin K; And, strangely, the gut itself of the germ-free animals was different
Information: animals that are raised in germ-free environment grew twice bigger and need 30% more calories.
Paragraph Twelve to Thirteen
Powerful words: contribution, superficial, development, amazing
Information: we still had no idea even what most of the microbes in the guts were. To understand that would take the development of a whole new set of tools that allowed scientist to examine.
Paragraph Fourteen to Seventeen
What makes microbes so valuable? instead of taking food from us, the microbes actually make indigestible bits of food digestible. Although we can digest a wide array of things, we don’t do so well on the tough, complex material making up the cell walls of plants. Microbes, however, are good at breaking this down.
Paragraph Eighteen
What words make bacteria sound friendly? we have always lived with them, we have become interdependent
Information: microbes have been on the planet since long before humans.
Paragraph Nineteen
What extra words are used to make the information sound interesting? truly, strangely, discover, certainly
Information: we are gaining a new appearance for these creatures to which we owe our lives.

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