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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 ...


22

An important purpose of writing is to organize thoughts and communicate them to an audience. You would not write in French if the audience was fluent in only English. If the goal is to communicate, then all aspects of the writing should be tailored to the intended/expected audience. The answer to your question must come more from the style guides governing ...


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 ...


13

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. The ...


11

The primary criterion for academic writing is that the meaning must be clear and unambiguous. You seek to avoid misinterpretation of your message by all your readers, irrespective of their familiarity with the languare. Generally speaking, that does require grammatical accuracy as inaccuracy can lead to ambiguity. However, grammar can be a flexible ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


7

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 ...


7

Academic writing intends to be clear and authoritative. You are writing to convince others that some particular claim is valid, and while most of the work of convincing will be carried by your evidence and reasoning, you can't overlook more subjective, psychological effects. 'Artistic' prose will tend to put academics off, making them think you are not ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


5

I think you're selling yourself short with your writing skills. You used all the skills you need to write an essay when you wrote your question. You took a topic--your difficulty writing essays--and broke it up into several subtopics, including strategies you have already considered and discarded and sub-questions you have. Your question has paragraphs and ...


5

My recommendation is to use first-person pronouns only for attribution. If you do something original, such as a thesis or other research, it makes sense to use "we" for things you did with your supervisor, or "I" for what you managed on your own. It's important to examiners/reviewers to know what is one, what is the other and what is instead due to previous ...


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