Monday, February 17, 2020
08:33 PM (GMT +5)

Go Back   CSS Forums > CSS Compulsory Subjects > Essay > Essays

Essays Essays here

Reply Share Thread: Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook     Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter     Submit Thread to Google+ Google+    
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Farhan Kaif's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: People's HEARTz
Posts: 492
Thanks: 497
Thanked 265 Times in 159 Posts
Farhan Kaif is on a distinguished road
Exclamation FIVE Things Not To Do In An Essay

Assalam-o-Alaikum

1. Fail to address the question’s topic in your introduction


The test of a good introduction is whether someone can guess what the essay question is just from reading it. If not, the introduction has failed. Therefore, a good introduction briefly sets out what the topic is and what your position is regarding the question. Be specific about your topic, but don’t go into too much detail—no examples or definitions are needed in an introduction. So, if your question asks you to discuss the thematic links between three myths, it is best to say what the three myths are and to specify what themes you have identified. Don’t try to ‘wow’ the reader with grandiose statements or pithy quotes that broadly relate to your topic.

The trouble with such trite openings is that they do not focus your reader. Rhetorical questions are also a bad choice for a first sentence. You are writing an essay, not a blog entry. The first one or two sentences of an introduction should directly address the question with a statement outlining your position regarding the topic. Using the terminology of the question helps to keep the statement focused and ensures that you have not misinterpreted or misrepresented it. But never quote the question itself—the marker knows what it is. The next sentence, or sentences, should explain what the key aspects are that inform your position (i.e. they explain why you are arguing that position). The last part of the introduction should outline the method of your argument or the structure of your essay. With that done, you move on to your argument.

2. Stray from the focus of the question (especially in the conclusion)


Students often think a conclusion is where they get to discuss the wider ramifications of their position on the topic, or where they can branch out and touch upon other aspects slightly related to the topic. Wrong. The job of a conclusion is to highlight the key ideas that you have been arguing in response to the question (i.e. readdress the essay question in light of the discussion you have just provided). It helps to reuse the same terminology for consistency (but don’t just repeat what you said in the introduction verbatim). You can then summarize each main point from the body of the essay in the logical order in which you presented them. How do you know if something is off topic? Ask yourself whether your paragraph or sentence directly helps you to answer the essay question. If not, it is off topic and should be cut from the
essay.

In a conclusion, don’t just say that you have discussed what the question has asked you to discuss. You must be specific and say what the key aspects were (and why). The trick is to say what you have argued in a concise way that does not just repeat what you have already said (don’t repeat your examples). Like introductions, conclusions should be one paragraph. And never include information—even if on topic—that you have not already discussed in the body of the essay. (So that means no footnotes in a conclusion!) The time for discussing the material of the topic is over; your argument is drawing to a close, not breaking new ground. Here it is common for students to get swept away by their own argument and attempt to say something profound. That is fine, so long as it is on topic. Never deviate from the question to discuss something else in the conclusion. If you have been discussing the themes of ancient Greek myths for the whole essay, do not start talking about how parallels can be seen in modern cinema, or how modern society has its own myths. The irrelevant digression belongs to old Abe Simpson, not your essay.

3. Insert quotes without introducing them or relating them back to the topic


Try to use quotations from secondary sources sparingly, if at all. And only include them if they say something of vital importance that you could not have worded better yourself. If you quote someone who says something that anyone could have said because it isn’t specific, or does not regard a contentious issue, you are only distracting your marker with unnecessary waffle. If you wish to refute what a source has said, it is a courtesy to quote it so that the reader can see you are not misrepresenting the source. But long quotes or lots of little ones will only hide your own voice—and it is you, not your sources, that is getting the marks for the essay. And don’t use a quote that repeats what you just said. That is tedious. If you do use a quote, you must introduce it correctly so that the reader understands why it is there and who said it. Don’t just shove it in and hope the reader knows why you have included it. So say something like: Regarding survival rates for gladiators, Johnstone states: “Gladiator shows were hardly the bloodbaths we see in modern films and TV programs. If there were five fights in a day, on average only one would end in death.” This shows that the risk of death may have been low enough to entice free men to become gladiators. You must also explain how the quote helps to answer the essay question (here the question would be: ‘Why would free men become gladiators in ancient Rome?’). Be explicit: don’t leave it up to your reader to work it out. And never refer to your quote as a quote (“This quote shows…”).

4. Fail to provide references


Essays are designed to test your ability to reference your sources. It is not pointless—it is worth marks. You include references to primary sources when you quote from or refer to a specific episode or instance from an ancient text. For example, if you say that “Hector calls his brother Paris the bane of Troy before the duel with Menelaus”, it is necessary to show the author, the work, the book, and line/section number where you read it. That way your readers can check it for themselves. If, however, you say something that is not specific to a passage or is widely understood, you do not need to provide a reference. For example, if you say that “Hesiod’s Theogony and Works & Days reveal a misogynistic attitude that is the product of a patriarchal society”, you don’t need to cite specific passages (though, if you go on to provide examples, you would).

You include references to secondary sources when you use ideas from them. If you say that “the chances of survival for a gladiator in the first century BC were one in ten”, you will need to cite whoever gave you that statistic. You also need to include a reference to you secondary source whenever you say something like “Futrell states” or “Hopkins argues” or “Slater believes”—otherwise your readers cannot verify your claims. If you don’t include a reference, your argument is weakened. If you keep failing to reference, you risk receiving a zero for
plagiarism.

5. Use informal language, colloquialisms, or overuse rhetorical questions


An essay uses a different style of language from that of a casual conversation. For an essay, you are being tested on your use of formal communication. There are certain things that are common in speech that should be avoided in an essay.

Rhetorical questions Responding to an essay question with more questions is annoying. So, try to avoid posing direct rhetorical questions to the reader in an essay. These are usually tiresome to read because they shift the burden of answering the question to the reader when the reader just wants to sit back and let you do that. Rhetorical (... )questions are useful for the person writing the essay (i.e. they help you come to grips with the topic), but it is best to rephrase them as statements or as indirect questions.

Question: Why did Zeus chose to punish man for Prometheus’ sins?
Statement: Zeus chose to punish man for Prometheus’ sins because…
Direct: Why did slaves not run away from their masters more often?
Indirect: The question arises as to why slaves did not run away from their masters more often.

You can then go on to answer the indirect question without the reader feeling like you have tried to pull them into your discussion. So, one maxim of essay writing is: don’t ask: tell.

1st Person Singular
Some say not to use the word I in an essay. Others say it is fine. If you do use it, it is best to use I only in an introduction (and to a lesser extent, the conclusion), rather than in the body of the essay. But use it sparingly; otherwise you can come across as too self-important.

1st Person Plural
Avoid using we or us in an essay. Saying ‘Let us now turn to the issue of manumission’ sounds pretentious. If you must guide the reader through your argument, use: ‘Turning (now) to the issue of manumission’. It still sounds phoney. ‘With this evidence, we are shown the unsavoury side of Roman society’. This sentence is not so bad, but again it tries to include the reader in the essay. This is fine for books, but for an essay it is artificial and a breach of expected roles. The reader (your marker) should remain a separate and impersonal individual.

You wouldn’t try to hold hands with someone interviewing you for a job, would you? Thus, the sentence with we can be rephrased to maintain distance from the reader: ‘This evidence illustrates the unsavoury side of Roman society.’

2nd Person
Don’t use you in an essay. In spoken English, this is used for generalisation: ‘You would expect that…’ or ‘You don’t win by giving up’. The word you, however, tends to pull the reader into your argument and distracts from what you are saying. ‘You must not disrespect the gods.’ Me specifically? Who told you I disrespected them? Oh, wait. I see now. Carry on. This sort of confusion can be avoided by using the indefinite one: ‘One must not disrespect the gods’. It may sound strange, but that’s just because it’s more formal, which is what an essay should be.

Elision
Elision is what happens to words when we speak them (casually). In written form, it is marked with an apostrophe, representing a missing letter or letters. But because spoken English is not formal enough for an essay, don’t write don’t. Instead, write do not. This goes for many other elided forms: e.g. would have for would’ve, it is for it’s, she would for she’d.

Colloquialisms
Colloquialisms are phrases and words which are commonly used in conversation but have a non-literal meaning (e.g ‘bucketing down’). Use of colloquialisms implies a level of familiarity with the reader that is unsuitable for an essay. Moreover, they weaken an argument by obscuring meaning; e.g. ‘He was wasted’. By a wasting disease? Or does this mean ‘inebriated’?

Avoiding the above list of common pitfalls for your essays should ensure you receive better marks.
__________________
All the quotes in the world won't make us a pious person, It's our actions that are going to be judged...!! !
Reply With Quote
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Farhan Kaif For This Useful Post:
anabiya mughal (Thursday, October 22, 2015), darkmoon (Wednesday, October 21, 2015), emikszone (Friday, October 30, 2015), fasadi bacha (Thursday, October 22, 2015), fizza anwer (Wednesday, October 21, 2015), Meme (Tuesday, October 20, 2015), Tupac Shakur (Wednesday, October 21, 2015)
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ABC of Essay Writing-with Examples ad Intros Chintoo2010 Essay 15 2 Days Ago 07:03 PM
Detailed Marks Certificicate of CSS 2012 Qualifiers shary16 CSS 2012 Exam 376 Monday, December 03, 2018 06:47 PM
Essay: Making It Easy (Secret Behind Success) Mohammed Ali Baig Essay 11 Thursday, November 17, 2016 03:39 PM
Study Plan Almas khan Psychology 9 Monday, December 09, 2013 04:53 PM


CSS Forum on Facebook Follow CSS Forum on Twitter

Disclaimer: All messages made available as part of this discussion group (including any bulletin boards and chat rooms) and any opinions, advice, statements or other information contained in any messages posted or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not of CSSForum.com.pk (unless CSSForum.com.pk is specifically identified as the author of the message). The fact that a particular message is posted on or transmitted using this web site does not mean that CSSForum has endorsed that message in any way or verified the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message. We encourage visitors to the forum to report any objectionable message in site feedback. This forum is not monitored 24/7.

Sponsors: ArgusVision   vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.