The game we started:

You’ll need a quarter and 50 pennies to play this game.  Twenty five of the pennies belong to the pupil.  Pupil plays the following game:

Tosses the quarter and guesses if it lands Heads of Tails.  When pupil wins, she gets a penny.  When he loses, he gives a penny.  Do this 25 times and write down the result of each toss.

Then you were asked:

Calculate the following:

  • Winning and losing percentages

  • Percentage of times coin lands on Heads and Tails

Here’s what I got:

Winning percentage: 10 out of 25 = 10/25 = 2/5 = .400 favorable outcomes.
Losing percentage: 1.000-.400=.600

Percentage of times landed on Heads: 14/25=56%
Percentage of times landed on Tails: 100-56=44%

What did you get?

Questions:

  1. What are the total number of possible outcomes with each coin toss?
  2. What are the chances of you, after your 25 outcomes, getting a Tail on next toss?
  3. What are the chances of you getting Heads on both the next two tosses?
  4. What are the chances of you getting Tails and then a Head in the next two tosses?

We’ll review those questions next time.

How to Recognize Bad Writing Exercises — too many adverbs

I’m not talking about bad grammar.  This is about style, and you need to be able to recognize bad writing in order to become a good writer because good writers edit their own work.

Here are a few principles of good writing:

  • Less is more
  • Be honest
  • Be clear
  • Focus on your audience.
  • Be accountable

If you don’t agree with the above, then go back to sleep.  If you do, let’s review each:

  • Less is more

Be concise and succinct, use as few words and syllables as possible.  Write only what needs to be written.  It’s bad manners to waste people’s time.  We’ll practice brevity in next lesson.

  • Be honest.

Be transparent, avoid euphemisms.  When you’re not  honest, you’re not clear.

  • Be clear

Be precise and concrete, avoid abstractions.

  • Focus on your audience

Never show off, the point of writing is to communicate effectively, that’s it.

  • Be accountable

Use the active voice instead of passive voice.

Today’s exercise involves adverbs.  An adverb is used to express the degree, the extent to which something is happening.  “It’s very hot,” with “very” as adverb describing how hot it is.  (There are other types of adverbs, let’s start with these).  In any case, too many adverbs is a sign of bad writing.  Why is that?

The following exercise will help you answer that question.  Improve the following sentences by removing an adverb:

  1. Stacy has a really nice ass.
  2. This book is rather boring.
  3. Jim is quite handsome
  4. This is simply unacceptable.
  5. You must seriously be joking.
  6. I can sorta do that.
  7. It’s terribly cold in here.
  8. I generally don’t go to the movies often.
  9. This is absolutely terrible.
  10. She’s a fairly good artist.

Compare what your revisions with the originals.  How are they different?   We’ll go over this next lesson.