English 091

I. English 091: Fundamentals of Grammar and Writing


II. Course Description

The course offers instruction in the fluent writing of sentences, paragraphs and short essays and in rules of punctuation, mechanics, grammar and sentence structure. Students will apply these principles by writing accurate and concise sentences, paragraphs, and short essays. This course is required of some students on the basis of a placement examination and open to other students who want a basic review course. Students receiving an A in ENG 091 can take ENG 101.

III. Course Objectives and DCC Academic Objectives

Course Objectives:

   The students should learn how to:

  • Construct sentences in a variety of types and patterns;
  • Expand vocabulary through reading and the use of a dictionary;
  • Use language clearly, precisely, and with a level of formality appropriate to academic writing;
  • Punctuate sentences correctly;
  • Use appropriate verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, and pronoun-antecedent agreement;
  • Use textbook chapters, dictionaries, and computer spell-check functions to spell correctly;
  • Complete writing assignments using the word processor function of the computer.

DCC Academic Objectives:

Develop Essential Competencies in the following areas:

  1. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  2. Reading and Writing
  3. Computers and Technology

IV. Student Learning Outcomes            

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Write correct sentences (DCC Academic Objectives 1 and 2);
  • Use the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing (DCC Academic Objectives 1, 2 and 3);
  • Write logically constructed, well-developed paragraphs and short essays (DCC Academic Objectives 1, 2 and 3).

V. Course Outline

a) Topics Covered 

  1. Reading and writing various types of paragraphs and essays.
  2. An introduction of the writing process.
  3. Prewriting and drafting strategies.
  4. Revision strategies.
  5. Editing strategies: verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, concrete and concise use of language, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary.
  6. Sentence patterns: recognizing sentences, correcting fragments, joining sentences, repairing run-ons and comma-splices.

b) Instructional Methods

Class time is devoted to brief introductions of concepts in a large-group setting, questions and answers on such topics, large group discussions of model readings and student writings, small group discussions, guided peer feedback in small groups or pairs, and individual student practice in writing and completing textbook exercises.  

Students do short pieces of original writing, usually in an informal situation (either in the classroom or in a computer lab) where the instructor can comment individually as students write.  Students also read and discuss their own work and that of their peers and learn to improve revision and editing skills, including proofreading to eliminate eye/ear/pen/keyboard coordination errors. As students encounter particular difficulties, they may be assigned special work at the Learning Center in the Office of Academic Services. Students may be encouraged to work with peer tutors at the Writing Center, or they may be encouraged to work with peer tutors in the Academic Success          

c) Course Requirements

Department of English and Humanities Attendance Policy:

Success in courses is directly related to attendance and participation. The Department of English and Humanities expects regular class attendance so students can learn the material covered in classes. Students with excessive absences will miss so much work and class discussion that they risk failing the course. Individual instructors will determine the specific requirement for attendance in each course.

The assignments in English 091 include composing fluent sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes essays with emphasis on reviewing the basic rules of punctuation, mechanics, grammar, and sentence structure. Because this class is focused on grammar for writers, students will practice a variety of grammar rules in the context of their own writing. Quizzes will be given to assess mastery of the basics.

The final examination is a common departmental examination reviewed annually by the English 091/092 Committee. The final consists of a timed paragraph or essay of at least 200-250 words written entirely in class on a topic students choose out of several different options. The final is graded in terms of the ability to write fluent sentences and paragraphs that reflect an accurate use of grammar, punctuation, and   spelling according to the rules of Standard Academic English.

d) Grading Practices

The final grade in English 091 is used for placement in subsequent English courses. Final grades will reflect an average of quiz, examination, and written exercise grades; emphasis will be placed on a student's progress and level of skills at semester's end. Students who demonstrate the ability to begin the work of English 092 or English 101 will pass the course.

Students who receive an A in English 091 may move directly to English 101;those who receive less than an A will take English 092; students who receive a D or an F must repeat the course. This developmental course carries no credit toward graduation. Students taking it, however, receive three “equivalent credits,” which count toward the credit total required to receive financial aid and full-time status. 

e) Required Text (s)

Instructors may choose a textbook for the course, or use the current text:

Meyers, Alan.  Writing with Confidence. Eighth Ed.

Each student should have a standard desk dictionary

f) Supplementary Readings

The Writing Program Handbook, 1st edition, published by the DCC Department of English and Humanities.  The Handbook provides an overview of the entire composition sequence and includes departmental policies in addition to departmental and campus resources. It is available both in print and online.