Try It Out

Nutshell<

In the following exercises, you will practice revising sentences to move from old information to new information.

2)

Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability, news programs must compete with entertainment programs for airtime.

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A) Decide whether this question moves appropriately from old to new information.

  • This question moves appropriately from old to new information.

  • This question does not move appropriately from old to new information.

  • Although 'change' is a recognizable idea, the description of the specific change that is the subject of this sentence is a complicated and unfamiliar one: “the change created by the shift of focus to profitability.” This sentence contains several other easily recognized concepts: “news programs” and “entertainment programs.” Either of these could have been used to begin the sentence.

  • Correct. Although 'change' is a recognizable idea, the description of the specific change that is the subject of this sentence is a complicated and unfamiliar one: “the change created by the shift of focus to profitability.” This sentence contains several other short, easily recognized concepts: “news programs” and “entertainment programs.” Either of these could have been used to begin the sentence.

2)

Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability, news programs must compete with entertainment programs for airtime.

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B) Click on the old information in this sentence:

  • Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability,

  • news programs must compete with entertainment programs for air time.

  • Although “change” is a recognizable idea, the description of the specific change that is the subject of this sentence is a complicated and unfamiliar one.

  • Correct. Most readers would know the difference between news programs and entertainment programs.

2)

Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability, news programs must compete with entertainment programs for airtime.

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C) Now rearrange the sentence so that it moves from old to new information. Click on the old information to put it first.

  • Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability,

  • news programs must compete with entertainment programs for air time.

  • Due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability, news programs must compete with entertainment programs for airtime.

    This sentence is the same as the original sentence and begins with complicated and new information.

  • News programs must compete with entertainment programs for air time due to the change created by the shift of focus to profitability.

    Correct. Most readers would know the difference between news programs and entertainment programs. This sentence now moves from old, easily recognizable information, to new and complicated information.

Exercise 2

Read the following paragraph. With each sentence, pay attention to what information has already appeared in the paragraph, what information will be immediately familiar to the reader, and what information requires context for most readers to understand. Note how, or whether, the author uses familiar information to make new information clearer. When you’re done, you’ll answer a series of questions about how information flow is handled in this paragraph.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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1)

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White.

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Does this sentence contain new information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. In the next step, you’ll be asked to find the old and new information in this sentence.
  • Try again. There is new information in this sentence.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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1)

Determine which pieces of this sentence are old< and which are new<.


Is this old information or new information?

Old information<

New information<


Most readers have some idea of what witches are.


Most readers have some idea of what witches are.


Readers cannot be expected to know when witches first appeared.


Readers cannot be expected to know when witches first appeared.


Most readers will be aware of the American film industry.


Most readers will be aware of the American film industry.


Walt Disney is a familiar name. Most readers can be expected to know that he produced films.


Walt Disney is a familiar name. Most readers can be expected to know that he produced films.


While the film itself may be familiar to readers, the majority of readers will not be aware of the date of its production.


While the film itself may be familiar to readers, the majority of readers will not be aware of the date of its production.


Most readers will be familiar with the Disney film Snow White.


Most readers will be familiar with the Disney film Snow White.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White.

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Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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1)

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White.

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Does the sentence move from old to new information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. The sentence begins with 'Witches', an old and familiar concept, and introduces new information slowly, connecting it to the relevant old information.
  • Try again. As you can see from the exercise you have just done, the sentence begins with a familiar concept, and introduces new information only after the old information to which it is related.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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2)

The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen.

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Does this sentence contain new information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. Find the new information in this sentence.
  • Try again. In the next step you will be asked to find the new information in this sentence.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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2)

Determine which pieces of this sentence are old< and which are new<.


Is this old information or new information?

Old information<

New information<


The mirror is not only well-known, it has also already been introduced in this paragraph.


The mirror is not only well-known, it has also already been introduced in this paragraph.


The mirror's powers of omniscience are new information. The mirror has been introduced as an adviser whom the queen consults, but this is the first mention that it is omniscient.


The mirror's powers of omniscience are new information. The mirror has been introduced as an adviser whom the queen consults, but this is the first mention that it is omniscient.


Familiar spirits, or demons, have already been introduced into this paragraph.


Familiar spirits, or demons, have already been introduced into this paragraph.


Devil worship is a new concept in this paragraph.


Devil worship is a new concept in this paragraph.


The evil queen is a familiar figure, and her evil nature has already been established. Even the reference to the demonic refers back to the previous sentence.


The evil queen is a familiar figure, and her evil nature has already been established. Even the reference to the demonic refers back to the previous sentence.

The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen.

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Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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2)

The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen.

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Does this sentence begin with old information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. This sentence introduces new information building on the established information about the queen's mirror.
  • Try again. You have already identified the old information in this sentence. Where is the old information in relation to the rest of the sentence?

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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3)

Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear.

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Does this sentence contain new information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. Find the new information in this sentence.
  • Try again. In the next step you will be asked to find the new information in this sentence.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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3)

Determine which pieces of this sentence are old< and which are new<.


Is this old information or new information?

Old information<

New information<


Tempel Anneke was introduced in the previous sentence. She is now being used as old information which makes the new information easier to understand.


Tempel Anneke was introduced in the previous sentence. She is now being used as old information which makes the new information easier to understand.


The accusation against Tempel Anneke was introduced in the previous sentence as part of the introduction of Tempel.


The accusation against Tempel Anneke was introduced in the previous sentence as part of the introduction of Tempel.


Although the fact that Tempel was accused of witchcraft is now old information, the details of the accusation are introduced for the first time here.


Although the fact that Tempel was accused of witchcraft is now old information, the details of the accusation are introduced for the first time here.


While the previous sentence did inform the reader that the accusation against Tempel was related to enchanted fruit, the fact that this fruit was a pear is new information here.


While the previous sentence did inform the reader that the accusation against Tempel was related to enchanted fruit, the fact that this fruit was a pear is new information here.

Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear.

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Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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3)

Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear.

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Does this sentence begin with old information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. Tempel Anneke and the accusations against her appeared in the previous sentence and are used here to introduce new information about her now that she has become familiar information.
  • Try again. You have identified the old and new information. Where is the old information and what does it do for this sentence?

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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4)

All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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Does this sentence contain new information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. Find the new information in this sentence.
  • Try again. In the next step you will be asked to find the new information in this sentence.

Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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4)

Determine which pieces of this sentence are old< and which are new<.


Is this old information or new information?

Old information<

New information<


“These associations” refers back to the information already introduced in this sentence.


“These associations” refers back to the information already introduced in this sentence.


The witch and the fact that the movie presents her as evil have both been introduced and reintroduced several times throughout this paragraph.


The witch and the fact that the movie presents her as evil have both been introduced and reintroduced several times throughout this paragraph.


The witch queen's magic has already been introduced through her familiar demon and her use of an enchanted apple.


The witch queen's magic has already been introduced through her familiar demon and her use of an enchanted apple.


While so far the paragraph has been connecting the modern story to medieval beliefs, this is the first time that the paragraph has been specific about what those beliefs were.


While so far the paragraph has been connecting the modern story to medieval beliefs, this is the first time that the paragraph has been specific about what those beliefs were.


“The evil influence of witches” is the definition of a newly introduced term: maleficum.


“The evil influence of witches” is the definition of a newly introduced term: maleficum.

All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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Witches first appear in the popular American film industry in Walt Disney's 1973 film Snow White. The witch in this movie is Snow White's stepmother, a vain queen who becomes jealous when Snow White becomes more beautiful than she. In order to reassure herself, the queen consults with a magic mirror, an analog of the traditional “familiar demon.” The mirror's powers of omniscience are a traditional part of the repertoire of familiar spirits in folklore, and call up associations of devil worship that further demonize the evil queen. The queen poisons Snow White through the use of an apple, an action that mirrors accusations leveled against Tempel Anneke in 15th century Germany. Tempel is accused of having attempted to harm a young boy using an enchanted pear. All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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4)

All of these associations add up to make the witch in Snow White appear completely evil, and her magic clearly fits the medieval beliefs about maleficium, the evil influence of witches.

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Does this sentence begin with old information?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Correct. This sentence does begin with old information in the form of a recap of the paragraph. It also introduces new information in the form of a specific term referring to the set of beliefs which the paragraph has been trying to establish.
  • Try again. You have identified the old and new information. Where is the old information and what does it do for this sentence?