Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One

Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One

Anyone who has gone through the ecstasies and agonies of writing an essay knows the satisfaction (and quite often the sadness) of finishing. Once you have done all the work of finding out what you would like to express, arriving at an arguable and interesting thesis, analyzing your evidence, organizing your ideas, and contending with counter-arguments, you could believe that you have nothing left to accomplish but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. Exactly what spell- check can not discern is exactly what real readers might think or feel once they read your essay: where they may 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 personal work.

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

Read your essay4you sign up essay aloud .

Once we labor over sentences, we could sometimes lose sight associated with larger picture, of how most of the sentences sound once they’re read quickly one following the other, as the readers will read them. When you read out loud, your ear will pick up a number of the 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 want to end up like the princess—highly tuned in to anything that seems slightly odd or “off” in your prose. So if something strikes you as problematic, don’t gloss on it. Investigate to uncover the type regarding the problem. It’s likely that, if something bothers you only a little, it will bother your readers a whole lot.

Be sure all of your words are performing work that is important making your argument .

Are all of one’s phrases and words necessary? Or will they be just using up space? Are your sentences tight and sharp, or are they loose and dull? Do not say in three sentences what you could say in a single, and do not use 14 words where five is going to do. You would like every word in your sentence to include as much meaning and inflection as possible. Yourself what “own personal” adds when you see phrases like “My own personal opinion,” ask. Isn’t that what “my” means?

Even small, apparently unimportant words like “says” are worth your attention. In the 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 give you useful information: he or she said that thing; “said” merely reports if you tell your readers that someone “acknowledges” something, that deepens their understanding of how or why.

3. Bear in mind the thought of le mot juste. Always try to look for the perfect words, the most precise and specific language, to state that which you mean. Without needing concrete, clear language, you can’t convey to your readers precisely what you think about an interest; you can 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 you intended that they end up meaning nothing at all to your readers—or meaning something very different from what. Be specific: What evils? Which societies? What resources? Your readers are reading your words to see what you think, what you have to say.

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

4. Beware of inappropriately elevated language—words and phrases which are stilted, pompous, or jargony. Sometimes, so that you can sound more reliable or authoritative, or maybe more 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 individuals’re not. If you find yourself inserting words or phrases since you think they will sound impressive, reconsider. In the event the ideas are good, you don’t need to strain for impressive language; if they’re not, that language won’t help anyway.

Inappropriately language that is elevated result from nouns being used as verbs. Most areas of speech function better—more elegantly—when they play the roles these were designed to play; nouns work nicely as nouns and verbs as verbs. Read the sentences that are following, and pay attention 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 onto it.

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

The room was left by him. People should debate the good qualities and cons of this bill before voting.

Every now and then, though, this really is a rule worth breaking, as in “He muscled his option to the leading of this relative line.” “Muscled” gives us plenty of information that may otherwise take words that are several even sentences to state. And as 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 in your most sentences that are dazzling. You may find that sentences you needed in earlier drafts no longer belong—and these may be the sentences you’re most fond of as you revise. We are all guilty of trying to sneak inside our favorite sentences where they don’t really belong, because we can not bear to cut them. But writers that are great ruthless and can dispose off brilliant lines if they are no longer relevant or necessary. They know that readers will soon be less struck by the brilliance than because of the inappropriateness of these sentences and they allow them to go.

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