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Sound Writing

Subsection 2.1.1 Primary Sources

Primary sources are the texts (though they aren’t always “texts”) upon which you perform the most analysis and upon which you base your argument. It is always desirable to read your primary sources carefully and in their entirety. It’s hard to write an argument about a book, for instance, without knowing how it ends or who one of its main characters is. Reading primary sources completely is especially important for essays that depend on analyses of a text’s language. You can’t analyze language that you haven’t read! (The same holds for non-textual “texts” such as paintings, musical compositions, or scientific data—spend time with the source, and think about what its parts add up to.)