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Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One

Those who have been through the ecstasies and agonies of writing the satisfaction is known by an essay(and often the sadness) of finishing. Once you have done most of the work of figuring out what you need to say, coming to an arguable and interesting thesis, analyzing your evidence, organizing your thinking, and contending with counter-arguments, you may possibly feel that you have nothing left to do but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. Exactly what spell- check can’t discern is what real readers might think or feel once they read your essay: where they might become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses may be the job of an editor—the job you are taking on as you edit your own work.

As you proceed, keep in mind that sometimes what might seem like a small problem can mask (be a symptom of) a more substantial one. A phrase—one that is poorly-worded seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to fix; however it may indicate that your thinking hasn’t developed fully cheap written essays yet, you are not quite sure what you want to express. Your language may be vague or confusing as the idea itself is. So learning, as Yeats says, to “cast a eye that is cold on your prose isn’t just a matter of arranging the finishing touches on the essay. It really is about making your essay better through the inside (clarifying and deepening your ideas and insights) and through the outside (expressing those ideas in powerful, lucid, graceful prose). These five guidelines can help.

Read your essay aloud .

Whenever we labor over sentences, we can sometimes lose sight regarding the larger picture, of how all of the sentences sound when they’re read quickly one following the other, as the readers will read them. When you read out, your ear will pick up some of the nagging problems your eye might miss.

She was bothered by a single pea buried beneath the pile of mattresses she lay upon as you read your essay, remember the “The Princess and the Pea,” the story of a princess so sensitive. As an editor, you wish to princess—highly be like the tuned in to anything that seems slightly odd or “off” in your prose. Therefore if something strikes you as problematic, don’t gloss on it. Investigate to locate the nature associated with problem. It’s likely that, if something bothers you a little, it will bother your readers a lot.

Be sure your entire words are doing work that is important making your argument .

Are typical of the words and phrases necessary? Or are they just taking up space? Are your sentences sharp and tight, or are they loose and dull? Don’t say in three sentences what you can say in a single, and don’t use 14 words where five is going to do. You desire every word in your sentence to incorporate as much meaning and inflection as you possibly can. When you see phrases like ” personal personal opinion,” ask yourself what “own personal” adds. Is not that what “my” means?

Even small, apparently unimportant words like “says” can be worth your attention. In place of “says,” might you use a word like argues, acknowledges, contends, believes, reveals, suggests, or claims? Words like these not just make your sentences more lively and interesting, they provide useful information: if you tell your readers that someone “acknowledges” something, that deepens their knowledge of how or why she or he said that thing; “said” merely reports.

3. Keep in mind the thought of le mot juste. Always look for the most wonderful words, the most precise and language that is specific to say everything you mean. Without needing concrete, clear language, you cannot convey to your readers just what you think of an interest; it is possible to only speak in generalities, and everybody has already heard those: “The evils of society are a drain on our resources.” Sentences similar to this could mean so many things which they end up meaning very little to your readers—or meaning something completely different from that which you intended. Be specific: What evils? Which societies? What resources? Your readers are reading your words to see just what you think, what you need certainly to say.

If you should be having problems putting your finger on simply the right word, consult a thesaurus, but and then remind yourself of your options. Never choose words whose connotations or contexts that are usual don’t really understand. Using language you’re new to may cause more imprecision—and that can lead your reader to question your authority.

4. Beware of inappropriately elevated language—words and phrases that are stilted, pompous, or jargony. Sometimes, so that you can sound more reliable or authoritative, or higher sophisticated, we puff up this sort to our prose of language. Usually we only wind up sounding like we’re wanting to sound smart—which is a sign that is sure our readers that we’re not. Because you think they’ll sound impressive, reconsider if you find yourself inserting words or phrases. Should your ideas are good, you don’t need to strain for impressive language; if they’re not, that language won’t help anyway.

Inappropriately elevated language can result from nouns being used as verbs. Most parts of speech function better—more elegantly—when the roles are played by them these were meant to play; nouns work well as nouns and verbs as verbs. Read the sentences that are following, and tune in to how pompous they sound.

He exited the area. It is important that proponents and opponents of this bill dialogue about its contents before voting onto it.

Exits and dialogues operate better as nouns and there are numerous ways of expressing those basic ideas without turning nouns into verbs.

The room was left by him. People should debate the professionals and cons for this bill before voting.

Every now and then, though, this will be a rule worth breaking, as with “He muscled his method to the front associated with line.” “Muscled” gives us lots of information that might otherwise take several words or even sentences to express. And since it’s not awkward to learn, but lively and descriptive, readers will not mind the shift that is temporary roles as “muscle” becomes a verb.

5. Be tough on your own most dazzling sentences. While you revise, you might find that sentences you needed in earlier drafts no longer belong—and these will be the sentences you’re most partial to. We’re all guilty of trying to sneak in our sentences that are favorite they don’t really belong, because we can’t bear to cut them. But great writers are ruthless and will get rid of brilliant lines if they’re no longer relevant or necessary. They already know that readers will soon be less struck by the brilliance than by the inappropriateness of these sentences and they allow them to go.