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Common Essay Errors. a nd how to fix them!. Development: thesis statement. Your thesis statement should clearly 1) name one flaw and 2) say whether or not Ulysses overcomes it. Weak example: Ulysses was so full of hubris throughout his journey home, it caused him great distress.

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common essay errors

Common Essay Errors

and how to fix them!

development thesis statement
Development: thesis statement

Your thesis statement should clearly 1) name one flaw and 2) say whether or not Ulysses overcomes it.

Weak example: Ulysses was so full of hubris throughout his journey home, it caused him great distress.

Weak example: Throughout The Adventures of Ulysses, Ulysses’s hubris goes down into less hubris.

Good example: By examining Ulysses’s journey, it is clear that he does overcome his hubris, proving that people are not defined by their flaws.

development all paragraphs prove thesis
Development: all paragraphs prove thesis
  • Each paragraph needs a clear, focused topic sentence that relates to the thesis.
  • If your thesis is about Ulysses’s hubris, then each topic sentence must say something about hubris.
  • Weak example: Ulysses begins to get into troubles which cause him to display his self-centeredness.
      • Self-centeredness is not precisely the same thing as hubris.
  • Good example: Ulysses first reveals his hubris in “The Cyclops’ Cave.”
    • Simple, direct, precise: a good topic sentence helps build an argument because it gives you direction.
development includes thorough analysis to show how reasons support points
Development: includes thorough analysis to show how reasons support points
  • Always return to the central idea: your thesis.
  • Each paragraph should develop the thesis.
  • Each paragraph should develop its topic sentence!
    • If your topic sentence is about hubris, then do not write about greed or lust or gluttony in that paragraph.
  • Even if it is a great paragraph, if it does not relate to the thesis, delete it!
organization introduction
Organization: introduction

Remember to start the introduction with an engaging hook.

Weak example: The story of TheAdventures of Ulysses was a great story.

Weak example: Ulysses has a long journey, but has he really changed?

Good example: “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (Lewis). This quote applies to Ulysses because he is always looking down on those that he defeats.

organization introduction1
Organization: introduction
  • Remember to include the topic, author and book title in the introduction.
    • The topic is the broader focus of the prompt: in this case, Ulysses’s flaws
    • Good example: Ulysses shows many flaws throughout The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin, but his major flaw is hubris.
organization introduction2
Organization: introduction
  • Do not retell the whole story, but supply enough background information to give your thesis context.
    • Good example: Ulysses has a rough journey trying to get back to Ithaca, facing dangerous monsters and unfriendly gods.
  • End the introduction with a strong thesis statement.
    • Good example: By examining Ulysses’s journey, it is clear that he does overcome his hubris, proving that people are not defined by their flaws.
organization good example of a complete introduction
Organization: good example of a complete introduction

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (Lewis).This quote applies to Ulysses because he always looks down on those that he defeats. In The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin, Ulysses tries to get back to his home in Ithaca. On his journey, he has many troubles and demonstrates many flaws, especially hubris. By examining Ulysses’s journey, it is clear that he does not overcome his hubris, proving that people are defined by their flaws.

organization body paragraphs
Organization: body paragraphs
  • Body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence.
  • All quotations in the body paragraph must relate to the topic sentence.
  • Use transitions between paragraphs to create coherence.
  • Vary your transitions:
    • time words: first, then, previously, afterward
    • compare/contrast words: similarly, in the same way, also, however, on the other hand, although
    • logical relationships: in other words, for this reason, in fact
    • repetition of key words/ideas
    • synonyms for key words/ideas
slide10
IDEA

Don’t forget the “I”: INTRODUCE the quote by giving it context: who said it to whom? What was happening?

Weak introduction to quote: Next, Ulysses shows that he has hubris when he says, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26).

Better introduction to quote: Next, Ulysses shows that he has hubris when he escapes from the Cyclops but cannot resist mocking him. Ulysses calls back to him, saying, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26).

slide11
IDEA

Avoid dropped quotes! Avoid overlong quotes!

Dropped quote: Ulysses thought he could get food from the island despite the monster. “There was a loud rumbling sound; the cave darkened. Ulysses whirled around. He saw the door had been closed” (19).

Better version: Ulysses thought he could get food from the island despite the monster. He hears “a loud rumbling sound” when he enters the monster’s cave and then finds “the door had been closed,” (19) and he is trapped.

slide12
IDEA

Don’t forget the “D”: deliver the quotation correctly.

Be sure to cite properly!

Good example: Ulysses tells his crew, “’Perhaps we can skirt the dangerous islands they spoke of’” (82).

slide13
IDEA

Don’t forget the “E”: summarize/paraphrase the quote in your own words.

Weak example: Ulysses says, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26). This shows hubris.

Good example: Ulysses says, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26). Ulysses mocks the Cyclops and tells him his real name. This shows hubris.

slide14
IDEA

Don’t forget the “A”: Try to include well-developed and detailed analysis.

Weak example: Ulysses says, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26). Ulysses mocks the Cyclops and tells him his real name. This shows hubris.

Better example: Ulysses says, “Poor fool! Poor blinded, drunken, gluttonous fool—if anyone else asks you, it is not Nobody, but Ulysses who has done this to you!” (26). Ulysses mocks the Cyclops and tells him his real name. This shows hubris. It was clever of Ulysses to hide his identity because it would protect him from anyone seeking revenge. By giving his real name, Ulysses acts like he is invulnerable. He acts like he does not even have to fear the gods. This is dangerous; this is hubris.

conclusion paragraph
Conclusion: paragraph

Each paragraph should end with a clincher: a strong statement that wraps up the paragraph AND connects to the thesis.

Weak example: (from essay on hubris) Ulysses thinks he is clever enough to escape both Scylla and Charybdis, but he forgets to factor in the oars. He tries to fight Scylla with his sword, but he is unable to save his men. His mistake allows Scylla to grab and eat six of his men. [but how is this hubris?]

Better example: Ulysses thinks he is clever enough to escape both Scylla and Charybdis, but he forgets to factor in the oars. He tries to fight Scylla with his sword, but he is unable to save his men. His mistake allows Scylla to grab and eat six of his men. Somebody warns him that he could not escape both monsters, but Ulysses’s hubris leads him to think he can. He thinks he is so clever and so strong he can even defeat a prophecy. This is an example of hubris. Ulysses is too proud of his abilities.

conclusion essay
Conclusion: essay
  • The final paragraph of the essay should
    • summarize the main points
    • end with a strongly worded thought that connects to the thesis without parroting it.
  • The final paragraph of the essay should NOT

simply repeat your introduction!

mechanics
Mechanics
  • Sentence errors, verb tense errors, citation errors are all products of failing to PROOFREAD. They are simple to fix.
  • Have a parent/sibling/friend help you proofread.
  • Read your essay backwards!
    • Start with the last sentence and read each one back to the beginning.
    • Sometimes this helps you spot mistakes.
  • Read your essay aloud or have someone else read it to you.
    • Sometimes you hear the mistakes.
goals
GOALS

Now, review your essay, the rubric, and any teacher comments.

Highlight the weakest development, organization and IDEA topic in your paper.

Write these three topics at the bottom of the essay.

For tomorrow’s essay, select ONE of these topics and write it in the space on the bottom of the rubric. You will be assessed on this skill.