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63

You can and should answer these prompts in your own style and voice. I do have my doubts and concerns about these kinds of tests, but if there is any legitimacy to the grading at all, it won't be based on you writing in the style and voice of the sample. (In other words, you're focusing in on the wrong aspects of the sample.) You should be able to ask for a ...


23

I don't think philosophy and fiction are really opposites. The difference is that in fiction, you don't describe the philosophy, you show its consequences. For example, if your philosophy includes the claim that whatever bad you do, will come back to haunt you, then in a philosophical essay you'd just write that, and give arguments why it should be true. In ...


14

This depends on your style guide and potentially your teacher/school/boss/etc.'s guidelines. If your teacher (for example) says to avoid using the first person you may be able to negotiate to change their position, but ultimately they are the ones evaluating your work so you need to follow their rules. None of the three major American style guides forbids ...


12

Answer: To answer these sorts of prompts, particularly in the case where example answers trigger a negative response in you, I recommend the following. 1. Look for the structure of the 'perfect answer' and apply that structure to your writing. 2. Identify the specifics that you dislike, in this case that make a passage sound like fan fiction. The example ...


11

An abstract is a quick summary or overview of the entire piece. It's used for search results (manual or computerized) — basically, the reader is saying, "Is this the piece I need as a source for X task?" The introduction can vary in information and tone. It can be the classic "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em," it can be a way to guide the ...


11

As a teacher, I never look at the examples given as 'correct answers' when we're talking about personal writing topics. Let me elaborate with two examples: a) Write an essay about Romeo and Juliet. Whatever you write, you must include specific content (characters, plot, etc) for you to get a good grade. No amount of excellent writing style will save you. ...


10

As long as it needs to be to get your points across. There's no formula, saying that your first draft has to cut x% of words. Plan your essay out in advance; identify your points - write your argument to with the word count in mind, then use your draft to tidy it up.


10

Fiction writers (like me) portray a problem and a resolution (good or bad), usually for a main character (MC). In the process, we strive to create emotions in the reader ABOUT that character; so the reader can identify with her, root for her, and celebrate (or grieve) when she wins (or loses). To the extent we all have our own philosophies of life and what ...


9

Capitals in English are used for proper nouns. Your two examples have slightly different shades of meaning. One of my favorite subjects was Computational Geometry. I read that as "One of my favorite subjects was Math 247, the specific course entitled 'Computational Geometry,' taught by Professor Angleton." One of my favorite subjects was computational ...


9

It's often seen as too casual Consider the following phrase: As I stated earlier, Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy. The use of "I" in this statement implies that the author has a connection to the reader and that it's fairly casual. That's not always the case. If you were writing that on your AP Language test, the test taker isn't anybody who has met you....


8

I am going to start by disagreeing with @Amadeus. The first job of a writer is not to entertain. At least, not necessarily. I don't think anyone reads All Quiet on the Western Front, or The Old Man and the Sea, or Crime and Punishment and goes "Ooh, that was entertaining". The works we call "literary masterpieces" are not the ones which possess in most ...


8

I think you have to decide what lines you're willing to cross and which ones you aren't. It's your piece; it belongs to you. Unless you have a contract for Work for Hire or something else saying it's theirs. I suggest thinking of this as you having only two choices: Allow them to publish a version of your essay that will get you paid but that will not ...


8

I used to write movie reviews for my University News Paper and always felt that, if I'm about to give a bad score, I would point to how I would have improved the movie, if I was given the ability to do so. It helps me identify the parts that hurt my head because they were so stupid and challenge me to take the idea trying to be presented, and give credit it ...


6

Speaking as someone who's gotten As on essays through the entirety of an American education, I would say that the answer is-- yes and no. That conventional scheme works very well, which is why it's so common. But a good writer can pull off almost any kind of format for an essay: the sky is the limit. In fact, the definition of what an essay even is is a ...


6

It seems you are mixing two "states of mind". Dementia means the mind has forgotten a lot, but is still trying to figure out how the sensory input it gets fits together. This does not result in choppy thoughts/sentences, but rather confused and rambling thoughts/sentences, that are searching for logic. Example: "He had finished his coffee, and the mug ...


6

Different schools have different methods (for example, some insist that the last line of the introduction must be the thesis statement), but I learned that a "conclusion" is essentially reiterating the essay. So they summarize each paragraph in one or two sentences, and that's the conclusion. From the old saw about speeches with introductions and ...


6

In my humble opinion, it's a good idea in a persuasive essay to at least acknowledge counter-arguments. If you simply ignore counter-arguments, and a reader is aware of them, his response is likely to be, "Well, he just completely ignored the fact that X." As Paul Clayton says, if you give the pro, then the con, then with no rebuttal or reply to the con you ...


6

Definitely - not just a phrase but at least a paragraph discussing the language, possibly detailing some characteristic points of it, early on. Also note - they aren't necessarily errors. That's a dialect, and as long as the spelling and grammar is true to that dialect, it's not erroneous; it just isn't Standard English. Think of it as quotations in a ...


6

I would suggest referring to the author as "O'Brien" and his fictional self as "the narrator." That way, you can speak to his fictional self with sentences like "When the narrator describes Rat Kiley..." or "When the narrator returns home from the border of Canada*", you can avoid confusion. Additionally, you can have a setup in your intro paragraph that ...


6

I used to do exactly the same thing. In jr. high school, I would routinely turn in blank sheets when faced with this kind of assignment. My solution was to get over myself. It took a long time. I can tell by your question that you have very high standards for yourself. I do too, and trust me, it doesn't do us any favors to demand total perfection of ...


6

Good writing isn't good because of the specific words or style used. Good writing is good because it communicates an idea clearly, in a well-organized structure, and with a style that is pleasant to read (whatever form that takes). I still freeze up and feel self-conscious when I sit down to write myself. How do I know the words I'm picking aren't awkward? ...


5

To answer the question in your title: yes! The question that I don't see asked is how long is your essay supposed to be? Is there a word limitation or expectation? If so, then that will influence the length of your essay and help dictate how much you need in your outline. As for the outline itself, I believe you have a very good working start. I like the ...


5

It depends on what the "point" of the essay is, and how it's set up in the intro/thesis. If the goal of the essay is to argue "dogs make great pets," then there shouldn't be a counter-argument at all. If the goal is to present both sides of a point, then the intro needs to say that, and I would suggest Para 2 is the Pro, Para 3 is the Con, and maybe Para 4 ...


5

I think there are a couple of equally valid ways that it could be done, depending on how they chose to structure their argument. Thesis Supporting Argument Supporting Example Counterexample Conclusion Is perfectly fine. However I don't see that there is anything wrong with: Thesis Supporting Argument Counterexample Merciless destruction of counterexample ...


5

When using the MLA guideline and quoting a text, if you are introducing any modifications into the quotation, mark the same by placing square brackets [ ] at the appropriate spot. For example (adapted from here) Original quotation: "Reading is also a process and it also changes you." 1) Margaret Atwood wants her readers to realize that "[r]...


5

You will probably come to find that different writing styles suit different purposes. This is taught in most writing classes, usually with discussion of "audience" or "target" or "purpose". So you've already found one style (formal academic writing) that works for one audience and purpose. That doesn't mean it's the only way you can write. Your post here ...


5

My answer basically agrees with @Amadeus, but I want to emphasize the relation between fiction, nonfiction, and philosophy. Nonfiction (science) writing is the farthest from fiction (obviously). Philosophy is not necessarily nonfiction. In some regards, philosophy is like fiction, ie. what axioms are assumed come from one's thoughts/beliefs much like ...


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