Traditionally, I've only written essays that have one thesis statement that are supposed to answer one question. Now I'm being asked to answer two separate prompts in one single essay.

First prompt: Compare/Contrast two works in [textbook A]

Second prompt: Pick two works from one era in [textbook A]

Instructions: Your answer to each question should include a thesis statement that answers the question asked, no introduction other than the thesis statement, and 2-3 fully developed paragraphs that offer specific support for the answer. Be specific in naming literary, art, and musical works as well as in giving details that involve the context for the works you are discussing.

How do I format this? Prof wants two distinct essays in one essay.

  • 2
    well, if this can be assumed right it seems that the 2 prompts go hand in hand. One simplying asking you to pick 2 works, the other asking you to compare 2 works. Nothing that you have told us states that the works have to be different for each prompt. Why not use the 2 you select in the 2nd prompt for the first prompt comparison? That pretty much solves your issue.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 20:30
  • No, they have to be different. I have to answer two separate questions, I cannot reuse the works.
    – Hi ho
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 22:14
  • Are you sure these aren't either/or prompts --do one or the other? Or prompts for two separate essays, one right after the other? 2-3 paragraphs seems brief to handle both prompts in one. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 16:11
  • Yes I'm sure. Why would I lie about that? Professor says I have to answer both questions in one essay.
    – Hi ho
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


My instincts were exactly like ggiaquin's comment. I am putting it as an answer so you might see it more easily. That is exactly what I would have done, as a student.

Aha, you say you can't do that.

If you cannot do that, I'd write the ~8 paragraph essay as two Qs back to back, and assume I would not get an A. And I would complain just as you are doing.

  • I am not entirely convinced that he can't do that. The instructions seem copy pasted in or at the very least he typed it up verbatim. So unless the professor said it verbally he cannot do that, I don't see why this is still not a valid solution. Even if you do it as you suggested with the 8 paragraph or so format, it's not how essays are written and teaching improper mechanics. So I question this whole situation in general.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 15:55
  • I've been in education (and you've mentioned academics I think) and I've seen fantastic educators. But I've also seen burned out educators. I would still do what you suggested in your comments. It seems like the obvious thing to do.
    – SFWriter
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 15:59
  • Also to clarify for readers of this post, what I mean by improper is that you don't put a new thesis or any thesis in the middle of a paper. A quick google search will pull up results from various US based universities following that notion. It's OKAY to have 8 paragraphs in an essay, but it is not okay to introduce a new thesis half way through.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 16:00
  • Yes, I was a tutor in my uni years and never have I seen a question where you were asked to do 2 essays in one. I have seen teachers give 2 prompts and ask people to do 2 essays and to put them in the same word file for sake of conserving time/space but never seen someone ask for 2 prompts be a part of the SAME essay. I don't know if this is a burnt out educator, but there is definitely some piece of information missing because as it stands now, this all seems very off. I suspect this teacher may have also done as I stated earlier asking for 2 essays in 1 document that are separate.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 16:03
  • I don't know why you think I would lie about this. I've included the information that I was given. I know this formatting is unorthodox which I why I wanted feedback; I've never seen anything like this either. Prof won't clarify. Not every educator is a saint or even wants to help.
    – Hi ho
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 4:25

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