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Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One

Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One

Those who have gone through the ecstasies and agonies of writing the satisfaction is known by an essay(and often the sadness) of finishing. Once you have done all the work of finding 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 might believe that you have nothing left to do but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. But what spell- check can’t discern is really what readers that are real think or feel when they read your essay: where they could become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses could be the job of an editor—the job you are taking on as you edit your own work.

While you proceed, understand that sometimes what might seem like a problem that is small mask (be a manifestation of) a larger one. A poorly-worded phrase—one that seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to fix; however it may indicate that the thinking has not developed fully yet, you are not quite sure what you want to say. Your language might be vague or confusing due to the fact idea itself is. So learning, as Yeats says, to “cast a eye that is cold in your prose isn’t only a matter of arranging the finishing touches on your own essay. It really is about making your essay better from 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 really help.

Read your essay aloud .

We can sometimes lose sight of the larger picture, of how all the sentences sound when they’re read quickly one after the other, as your readers will read them when we labor over sentences. Whenever you read aloud, your ear will pick up a few of the problems your eye might miss.

As you read your essay, recall the “The Princess plus the Pea,” the story of a princess so sensitive she was bothered by an individual pea buried underneath the pile of mattresses she lay upon. As an editor, you need to princess—highly be like the alert to anything that seems slightly odd or “off” in your prose. So if something strikes you as problematic, do not gloss over it. Investigate to locate the character of the problem. Odds are, if something bothers you just a little, it shall bother your readers a lot.

Make sure all of your words are doing important operate in making your argument .

Are all of your words and phrases necessary? Or are they just trying out space? Are your sentences tight and sharp, or are they loose and dull? Don’t say in three sentences what you can say in one, and don’t use 14 words where five will do. You desire every word in your sentence to incorporate as much meaning and inflection as you are able to. Yourself what “own personal” adds when you see phrases like “My own personal opinion,” ask. Is not that what “my” means?

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

3. Bear in mind the idea of le mot juste. Always try to find an ideal words, the absolute most precise and language that is specific to express that which you mean. Without needing concrete, clear language, you can’t convey to your readers exactly what you think about a subject; you can easily only speak in generalities, and everyone has recently heard those: “The evils of society are a drain on our resources.” Sentences such as this could mean so many things which they find yourself meaning very little to your readers—or meaning something very different from what you intended. Be specific: What evils? Which societies? What resources? Your readers are reading your words to see what you think, what you need to say.

If you’re having trouble putting your finger on simply the right word, consult a thesaurus, but and then remind yourself of one’s options. Never choose words whose connotations or contexts that are usual do not really understand. Using language you’re not really acquainted with can cause more imprecision—and that may lead your reader to question your authority.

4. Beware of inappropriately elevated language—words and phrases which can be stilted, pompous, or jargony. Sometimes, in an attempt to sound more reliable or authoritative, or even more sophisticated, we puff up our prose with this specific sort of language. Usually we only end up sounding like we’re attempting to sound smart—which is a sure sign to our readers that individuals’re not. When you’re inserting words or phrases since you think they are going to sound impressive, reconsider. Should your ideas are great, you don’t have to strain for impressive language; if they’re not, that language will not help anyway.

Inappropriately elevated language can derive from nouns getting used as verbs. Most areas of speech function better—more elegantly—when they have fun with the roles these people were supposed to play; nouns work well as nouns and verbs as verbs. See the sentences that are following, and listen to how pompous they sound.

He exited the space. It’s important that proponents and opponents of the bill dialogue about its contents before voting about it.

Exits and dialogues are more effective as nouns and there are many means of expressing those 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 is certainly a rule worth breaking, as in “He muscled his way to the front regarding the relative line” “Muscled” gives us lots of information that may otherwise take several words or even sentences to convey. And since it’s not awkward to read through, 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 further belong—and these will be the sentences you’re most fond of. We are all guilty of trying to sneak inside our sentences that are favorite they don’t belong, because we can not bear to cut them. But writers that are great ruthless and can throw out brilliant lines if they’re no longer relevant or necessary. They know that readers will likely be less struck by the brilliance than by the inappropriateness of these sentences and they allow them to go.

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