READINGS for Process Analysis

How to Sharpen a Knife

by Florence H. Pettit

Discussion and Critical Thinking

What type of process analysis (
) is used? Explain your answer.
To what type of audience (well informed, moderately informed, or poorly informed on the topic) does the writer conduct their writing here?
What is the prevailing tone (objective, humorous, reverent, argumentative, cautionary, playful, ironic, ridiculing) of this selection?
What steps of the mechanical process described by Florence Pettit need to be visualized to be understood? What details help the reader to visualize them?
Are the stages of the process presented chronologically? If not, why not?
What terms, in your opinion, need to be defined for the amateur? What terms are explained by the context—that is, by the description of the process?


An important method of paragraph development is that of tracing or analyzing a mechanical, natural, or historical process—that is, a series of connected stages, each stage developing from the preceding one; or a series of connected events, each event developing from the preceding one. Though the stages or events are presented chronologically, the author may interrupt their account to discuss the implications or details of a particular stage or event. In complex processes, various stages may individually contain a number of steps and each step must be carefully distinguished for the reader. Process analysis is often closely related to causal analysis and may be combined with it.

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