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Posts by Notoman
Joined: Apr 24, 2009
Last Post: May 13, 2014
Threads: 20
Posts: 419  

From: USA

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Jun 10, 2009
Research Papers / "Going the extra distance" - research paper -- and customer service [11]

I'll play the contrarian, though, when it comes to wikipedia -- unless your prof has specifically forbidden it, there is no reason not to use it.

I agree that Wikipedia is getting better all the time. Their reputation from the early days is fixed in a lot of minds though-especially in the minds of high school teachers and community college professors who have seen the service abused to the detriment of other resources (I can't venture to guess how profs at Rice, Penn, or even Colorado State University view Wikipedia as I lack all experience in that regard).

I like Wikipedia. I like it a lot. It provides a concise summary and a jumping-off place for further research. Original sources are often a click away in the links/citations. Wikipedia is a valuable tool, but it is risky to use it as a citation source. Just because a prof hasn't specially forbidden it, doesn't mean that s/he harbors no ill will toward it. Few academics have strong feelings about Webster and Britannica making them safer choices.

Along the same lines . . . I use Gradesaver often. Their summaries and character analysis help me to better understand important points in novels that might otherwise go over my head (The Scarlett Letter comes to mind). I have even read Gradesaver instead of finishing the assigned book (Ethan Frome-blech. I didn't like that book). Gradesaver and Cliffnotes are valuable resources for students, but I wouldn't cite them as sources in a paper.
Jun 9, 2009
Research Papers / "Going the extra distance" - research paper -- and customer service [11]

There are varying degrees of customer service from very poor to the exceptional and while many people are capable of providing some level of customer service not everyone knows how to effectively provide this vital part of the thriving business puzzle.

I'd break this into two sentences for better readability. There are varying degrees of customer service from very poor to the exceptional. While many people are capable of providing some level of customer service, not everyone knows how to effectively provide this vital part of the thriving business puzzle.

Gaining loyal customers retention, and increased market share is vital to any business.

Gaining and retaining loyal customers is vital to increasing the market share in any business.

Businesses should provide an educational stand point to inform their employees on how to give and receive great customer service

I am not sure what an "educational stand point" is. I also don't think that employees "receive" customer service. I'd simplify and reword this . . . Businesses should educate their employees on customer service expectations.

that also present a positive viewpoint in society.

What does this mean?

In a small company though, four or more people that lack the knowledge stand for 25 percent of the workforce, and has

The numbers are awkward here. Four people comprise 25% of the workforce in a company that employs 16 people. If that same company only employs 12 people, then four people comprise a third of the workforce. See what I mean. You can still say that a few bad apples have a more significant effect on a smaller company without stating numbers that don't add up. People . . . have . . . watch your verb agreement.

the customer may become frustrated? What about employees annoyed by the fact that a customer inconvenienced them by asking a question?

This is more of a statement than a question. You ask a lot of questions. Instead of engaging the reader in a dialoguetell them about he subject. You are the one who researched it and you are the expert.

attention, time and, follow through

Your comma is in the wrong place here. Put it after the word "time."

There are many three day off site programs that range from $1800- $2000. Onsite one day training may start at a minimal $250.

I would standardize the use off "offsite" and "onsite" here. For consistency, I'd use both of them as two words. When you have two adjectives before the noun or when two words don't make sense without each other, they are usually hyphenated. Off-site training. On-site training. Your structure is a little more complicated though . . . three-day, off-site programs.

may start at a minimal $250

. . . cost $250 and up.

For extensive, ongoing training that includes materials, in- person training, and coaching,it could cost a company should expect to spend between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on the extent of programming.

Many techniques are implemented and here are a few that are the most essential.

This doesn't work very well as a transition. You make it sound like there is a list to come, but it isn't really a list.

I am going to quit for now. I hope that this gives you a start on revisions.
Jun 9, 2009
Research Papers / "Going the extra distance" - research paper -- and customer service [11]

There are a few grammar errors, but I can come back to those after you rewrite.

Here are a few ideas for expanding on the concept of customer service:

*Improve employee morale. Happy employees provide better customer service. Show employees that they are appreciated at work and allow them to have a little bit of fun.

*Anticipate customers' needs. A customer shouldn't have to spend fifteen minutes tracking down an employee to have the game case at Target opened, they shouldn't have to ask for toilet paper for the bathroom, they should never be left standing at a register waiting for someone to notice that they are there.

*Keep a clean business. There were wet spots from raw meat on a grocery conveyor belt and the cashier wanted me to plunk my purchases down onto the offal. No thank you. I haven't been back. This can also extend to personal hygiene and clean clothing/uniforms.

*Educate the customer (when appropriate). When the customer asks an employee questions related to the business, the employee should be able to provide intelligent answers. If I walk into Guitar Center and ask an employee, "What is the difference between the Edge Pro and Edge Zero tremolo systems on the Ibanez?" He had better know-or hand me off to someone who does-or I won't be buying a guitar that day and I probably won't be buying one from that store at all.

*Go the extra distance. Staying with the guitar analogy . . . my brother buys all of his guitars from the same little shop because they will throw extras in for him. It might be a $20 cord or a dozen picks. Considering that the markup on instruments in about 50%, there is still a healthy profit to be made. They will also help him learn about guitars. For example, they helped him to change the strings for the first time on a guitar with locking tuners (a more complex procedure than with regular guitar strings).

*The owner of that little guitar shop knows my brother even though he only sees him every six months or so. He knows what guitars he's bought before and what kind of music he likes to play.

*Use the polite words . . . please, thank you , and you're welcome.

Just a couple notes on the writing . . . you ask a lot of questions of your reader. Try to rephrase these so that the reader doesn't feel like they are being quizzed. Instead of "What happens when business employees provide and unpleasant experience?", you could simply say, "When business employees provide and unpleasant experience . . .

I am not crazy about the Wiki definition. Wikipedia is taboo as a source in many academic settings. Besides, I'd rather hear how you define customer service.

You talk a lot about the effects of bad customer service, but there isn't a lot of information on what constitutes good customer service.

Businesses should provide an educational stand point to inform their employees on how to give and receive great customer service along with being able to deal with conflict resolution properly.

The way I read it, this is your thesis statement. Expand on it. How do businesses educate their employees? How do employees give and receive great customer service (do they really receive it?)? And how do they deal with conflict resolution properly?
Jun 8, 2009
Book Reports / I have trouble developing a thesis statement for Oedipus the King [10]

What is the assignment? An essay on the moral of the story?

Honestly? I don't think that the moral of the story is not to judge someone's life until it is fully lived. The saving of Thebes/triumph over the Sphinx certainly is an important part of the story, but then Thebes is overtaken by plague-a plague that won't end until the murderer of Laius is punished. Jocasta kills herself, Oedipus stabs his eyes with pins (is that where we get, "cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye"?), and tragedy abounds. If the story were to *end* with Thebes's salvation from the Sphinx-if that were Oedipus's raison d'ętre- you could make the claim not to judge someone's life until it is fully lived. With the ending of the story being so tragic, I think it would be difficult to substantiate that thesis.

What is the moral of the story? I am not sure. I think that a case could be made for several . . .do not judge yourself harshly for things that are out of your control (could a little family therapy avoided the suicide and self-mutilation?). You cannot run from your fate. Ignorance is bliss (in this case, marital bliss). Follow orders (Oedipus cursed the shepherd that saved him because none of the tragedies would have happened if he has died on the mountain). Self discovery is not a good thing. Use your head (if Oedipus was really that worried about killing his father and marrying his mother, perhaps he should have always maintained his temper and lived his life as a bachelor).

If you are having a hard time developing and supporting a thesis statement, it might be easier to take a different direction. Good luck with it!
Jun 8, 2009
Undergraduate / short answer on extracurricular activities (need to reduce the word count) [5]

Here's a rewrite that is 136 words . . . I added a few words that may or may not fit the situation.

I began working at Heaven's Heights Personal Care Center to garner required volunteer hours. Long after my commitment, I continue working there because it brings joy to my life and brightens the patients' day. I help the mentally-challenged residents to write letters, I play games with them, and go on walks. I do whatever is asked of me with a big smile on my face.

Priscilla Obi, the owner of a nursing assistant school, is my mentor and shows me how to connect with the patients. In taking care of the patients and looking after them, I learned leadership and responsibility. Working with developmentally-delayed adults was intimidating at first, but I learned to adapt to various situations and proved my mettle under pressure. Volunteering at the center is rewarding and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Guatama posted while I was doing the rewrite . . . don't take my rewrite as any indication that Guatama's writing needed any improvement-he knows what he's doing!
Jun 8, 2009
Writing Feedback / How can I play into the hands of my Maker - Sunday Morning [51]

This discussion reminds me of Sylvia Plath's "Black Rook in Rainy Weather." She voices the desire to have proof of the existence of a "maker" rather well. She's not expecting a miracle, but she would like "some backtalk from the mute sky." I think that the questioning of the existence of a higher power-and what form that higher power takes-is an intrinsic human trait.

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

Jun 6, 2009
Undergraduate / "To Understand and Be Understood" - Why do you want to pursue a career in the medical field? [14]

My concern about the last paragraph is that it is so weak following such strong writing. Why say that medicine is a highly-regarded field? Surely your readers know that. Are you saying that you want to be a doctor because the field is highly-regarded? I don't think so. So, find some stronger phrase to start that last paragraph: "Doctors [action verb] ..."

Simone, you are so right. I don't always see the "big picture" when looking at the grammar. This is a very good point. I learn so much from this forum.

Similarly, your last sentence is a weak way to close such a strong essay, "I have learned to value that statement very much." Really? You value the statement? And you want the last thing your reader learns about you to be that you value a particular sentence? I think not. Keep the quote but go on to say something substantial, such as that this is something you'll always remember as you pursue your medical career.

And again, you have nailed a point. This ending was bothering me, but I couldn't put my finger on why. I thought that it was the quote-that the quote was out of place in a personal statement. But now I see it is because valuing the statement is weak.

Have you thought about becoming an EF contributor?

I was planning to apply when I hit a hundred posts.
Jun 6, 2009
Undergraduate / "To Understand and Be Understood" - Why do you want to pursue a career in the medical field? [14]

It is late here, but I will take on one paragraph. How about the last one? You said the more revisions the better so I hope you don't mind me nitpicking.

Medicine is a highly respected and regarded field.

Respected and regarded are fairly close synonyms and their use here is redundant and repetitive. (Okay, that was my bad attempt at a joke). There should be a hyphen between two adjectives . . . Either "highly-regarded field" or "highly-respected field."

Medicine is also a field which allows for people of compassion, kind-heartedness, and effective listening to utilize their natural abilities to treat others.

This sentence is a bit awkward and wordy. Again, kind-hearted and compassion are fairly close synonyms. The phrase "natural abilities" might be misread by someone whose job it is to educate medical workers-they'd believe in training over natural abilities. I'd try rewording it to something like this: "A career in medicine allows compassionate people the opportunity to treat others using effective listening and kindness." Actually, I am not so sure about that sentence either. Is this an essay for admissions or for a scholarship? Admissions personnel might consider treating patients with kindness not fully treating them. The word "treat" has the potential for a double meaning here . . . Of course patients want to be treated with kindness, but they also want to be treated with medicine. How about this: "A career in medicine allows compassionate people the opportunity to treat others using effective listening and kindness in addition to medicine."

Because of these qualities I believe to possess, I have been inspired to pursue a career in the medical field.

The first part of this sentence is a bit jumbled. Par down the words and get to the point. "My compassionate nature has compelled me to pursue a career in the medical field."

Medicine is where I feel I can make the greatest impact, and where I can experience the greatest fulfillment.

This sentence could be simplified as well.

The nursing home was where I could demonstrate my personable qualities and its impact on people.

There are issues here with agreement . . . the "its" doesn't work. Try something like: "The nursing home opened my eyes to my ability to impact people with my personable nature."

Good luck with it!
Jun 5, 2009
Faq, Help / Is there a website like this for essays in espańol? [8]

ĄMuchas gracias, Carla!

He'll probably write it this weekend. I know that he is afraid of overly simplistic sentences-he doesn't want to sound like a 1st grader.

Thanks again.
Jun 5, 2009
Research Papers / Research paper on Mormons! [20]

Yes, I was talking about conversions to Islam. No, I didn't mean my comments as racist in any way. Tacares talks about various religious groups in America and addresses the rise in the Muslim population due to immigration. I was pointing out that the growth of Islam in the United States is *also* due to conversions. When most Americans think of Muslims, immigrants come to mind, but that is only part of the picture. Here are a few quotes from the Internet to support my point. I didn't bother to include MLA citations or print sources because my post isn't a research paper.

In the United States, an estimated one third of all African-American prisoners are Muslim converts, following in the traditions of Malcolm X or Imam Jamil Al-Amin (the former H. Rap Brown).

A movement that began in the 1970s under Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to evangelize inmates has evolved into one of the most effective religious rehabilitation agendas in the U.S. Imams under the Nation of Islam continue to draw converts.

Most of the inmates who convert to Islam are African-American, and are attracted to Islam for its discipline and belief in equality, said Faheem Siddiq, a longtime planner for the city of Everett who has acted as a Muslim chaplain in state prisons for more than five years.

Islam in the United States is not solely the province of immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The largest and fastest-growing ethnic group of American Muslims is African Americans, whose estimated numbers range between 1.3 million and 2 million. Most, by the way, are Sunni Muslims and not followers of Minister Louis Farrakhan's racially exclusive Nation of Islam. What's more, the group within the African American Muslim community that is experiencing the most explosive growth is probably the least assimilated: black inmates. Good statistics are hard to come by, but one estimate places the number of Muslim converts in prison above 250,000.
Jun 5, 2009
Research Papers / Research paper on Mormons! [20]

Your paper is, for the most part, well written and informative. Not knowing what the assignment was, it is hard to tell how well you met the requirements. It is a looooong paper and could benefit from some tightening. The narrative seems to jump around quite a bit chronologically. You might be able to find a better way to organize it.

As a straight research paper, it quickly becomes obvious from your semantics where your heart lies. Be more careful to state the facts without slant.

You talk a lot about the history of Mormonism without really going into beliefs. I would think that a brief statement of beliefs is imperative to understanding the church. The idea of a living prophet with divine communication is an important tenet of the church. The Mormons accept the Old Testament and the New Testament as holy books with the Book of Mormon also being a holy book that supersedes the other two. This is a concept that most people can wrap their heads around-it is kind of like the Book of Mormon is the new, new testament.

The section on Mormon politicians seems a little long and bogged down in details. It might be better to emphasize prominent Mormons in many fields. Steve Young, Stephanie Meyer (Twilight series), the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy! fame and writer for my favorite magazine-Mental-Floss). I know that there are more, but it is the ones in pop culture that come to mind off hand.

Your discussion also bogs down when it comes to discussing the other religions. Maybe combine the section into one that talks about religious persecution in general.

I am going to nitpick here. I am not picking on you, but you have obviously put a lot of time into this paper and care about how others perceive it so I will share my thoughts.

You leave out a point that I feel is pretty important . . . when Brigham Young and his followers first settled in Utah, they were in Mexico. They settled in Mexico to avoid US laws against polygamy. It wasn't until after the Mexican-American War that Utah became a territory.

Three are a couple of word choices that I find odd:

banned a local newspaper that suggested hanging him as a punishment for his blasphemy, a riot ensued and Smith ended up in prison.

Did they "suggest" hanging Smith or did they demand it? Suggest is such a soft word, especially when you are talking about something as serious as a hanging. The same holds true for "ended up." It sounds almost like it was accidental. You could simply change that part to, "the ensuing riot landed Smith in jail." (If I remember right from "Under the Banner of Heaven," it was the local jail. In modern times, the word "prison" connotes long-term incarceration for a felony while jail is short-term holding and used for misdemeanors.)

once slavery had been abolished, the government began to criticize the practice of polygamy in the Mormon church

I would think that the government criticized polygamy before the the Civil War. Maybe reword this so that the government is focusing on polygamy.

This tremendous growth was due largely to the fact that the number of Mormon missionaries, members of the Mormon church who travel to foreign countries to convert people, grew from 4,000 to 50,000

That is incredible growth, but it doesn't tell the reader much without a time frame. How long did it take the church to increase the number of missionaries this much? What year is the 4,000 figure from and what year is the 50,000 figure from?

"seminary classes" for high school and college students.

I don't know why you have this in quotes. When I see quotes of this nature, I think that it wasn't really a seminary school, but just called that. The word seminary just means religious education. It doesn't need to be in quotes.

mid western use Midwestern (one word and with a capital).

Americans became infuriated and some even referred to it as one of the "twin relics of barbarism" (the other being slavery)

When you are using parenthesis for citation, it would be better to rewrite this to avoid their use within the sentence. You could use em-dashes or say something like: "some referred to slavery and polygamy as the "twin relics of barbarism."

For these reasons, I understand why the government is hesitant to legalize plural marriage. However, the idea of polygamy is not inherently evil; if men and women have consensual, polygamous relationships, I see no problem. The issue lies in the human rights violations that stem from polygamy in the Fundamentalist Mormon church.

This is most likely due to its shock factor and the incredibly repressive lifestyles that are practiced by polygamists.

These sentences stray into opinion. Oh my heck (a phrase I picked up from a Mormon friend), they don't just stray into opinion, these sentences philander in opinion.

church is still growing very fast

This is awkward. "The church continues its rapid growth."

congress voted . . . capitalize the word Congress.

Such was the beginnings of Mormon political participation in America. . . . I'd omit this.

treasurer of the United States of America . . . capitalize Treasurer.

bible . . . capitalize Bible.

Jean Westwood was the first female member of the church to head a political party

Really not enough information here. She was the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. It also makes it sound like there have been other female members of the church to head national political parties and Ms. Westwood was just the first.

Then in 2008, Romney became the most successful Mormon presidential candidate in history, winning in 11 states during the primaries, which put him in second place, behind John McCain. However, after Super Tuesday, he suspended his campaign. Currently, he is writing a book and preparing for his candidacy in the 2012 presidential election (Ostling, 1999.)

Sorry, but I have to point out the irony here . . . you cite a source written in 1999 that provides information about the 2008 Presidential race? Now that is prophecy! Does Romney win in 2012?

one of the newest successful religions and the only major religion created on American soil.

I am not sure what this mean. How do you define successful when it comes to a religion? Most people would probably say salvation. The *only* religion created on American soil? There were many native religions. Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology were created on American soil as well. I am probably missing a few, but that ought to be enough to dispute your point.

Currently, the majority of the Supreme Court is Roman Catholic (Byrne, 2000.)

Take this one out. You repeat it later and I believe that you mean that Kennedy's Presidency was the turning point for Catholic assimilation, not the Supreme Court.

Today, Catholics are no longer persecuted and they have completely assimilated into American culture.

This is a pretty broad statement. I would not say that Catholics have completely assimilated. My high school always plans something important on Good Friday without a thought to the calendar. True, the KKK isn't after the Catholics like they were in the early part of the 20th Century, but I still think that the statement is too broad.

American protestants were eager to adopt the anti-Semitic attitudes of their European counterparts, who frowned upon Judaism

First of all, capitalize Protestant. Antisemitic is one word and not capitalized. Were the Protestants really *eager* to be antisemitic? Some were. Some weren't. Have you ever read George Washington's letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island? I'd say that our country was founded on religious freedom and tolerance. Yes, there have been times when we, as people, haven't lived up to those ideals, but to claim that American Protestants were eager to adopt antisemitism just isn't true. You might also want to consider why some American religions have NOT been persecuted . . . Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology may be made fun of in Saturday Night Live skits, but they, as a whole, have been law-abiding and free of governmental persecution.

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State and United States National Security Advisor for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Joe Lieberman (Senator of Connecticut and Al Gore's running mate in the 2000 presidential election) (Sarna & Golden, 2000.)

What in the world are you trying to say here? That Kissinger was Secretary of State for Joe Lieberman? Or that Gerald Ford was Jewish. This section needs clarification.

Today, Muslims, at .05 % still remain a very small percentage of the American population, although their presence is increasing more rapidly

Their presence is increasing more rapidly than what? The increase in Americans who identify themselves as Muslim is due not only to immigration, but also conversion-conversions are especially high among African-American prison populations.

I apologize if my thoughts are jumbled. It has grown late here and I have spent more time than I should have.
Jun 4, 2009
Faq, Help / Is there a website like this for essays in espańol? [8]

ĄPor supuesto! Of course, *grin*

Google y yo, somos amigos.

Most of the sites are essay writers for hire or translation services that charge big bucks and promise to do "well work." Gee, if I ever need a well dug, I guess I could call them.

I did find a few forums, but most of them are English speakers practicing/learning Spanish so I don't really know about the ability level. I will put my brother on the task when he gets home. After all, it is his project. He'll be the one getting published and paid. I just thought I'd check here because so many of the folks here are brilliant and resourceful.
Jun 4, 2009
Faq, Help / Is there a website like this for essays in espańol? [8]

I just called the local library. No tiene nadie que habla espańol. (They don't have anyone who speaks Spanish-I think). They suggested looking in the yellow pages for translation services, but I was hoping to find a free way to help him out.

Thanks Simone.
Jun 4, 2009
Faq, Help / Is there a website like this for essays in espańol? [8]

Mi hermanito tiene que escribir un artículo periodístico en espańol. I think I just said, "My younger brother needs to write a newspaper article in Spanish."

Do you all know of a website or forum that would be able to help him polish his grammar before submitting the article? Knowing that he is not a native speaker (and only in 8th grade), the newspaper editor is willing to help, but being a perfectionist, the kid doesn't want to submit something that barely passes for Spanish. I can't help him-I've only had a year of Spanish and verbs scare the moco (snot) out of me. He's had high school Spanish II, but this is still a daunting task.

Jun 4, 2009
Writing Feedback / Socials Essay: Robespierre and Cromwell Which is a more effective leader? [7]

You have some wonderful thoughts and colorful words here. It needs just a little more polishing and some solid examples to punch up the points you are making.

Most readers, and your teacher especially, will know who these two men were, but I think that you ought to spell it out at least once. Use their full names, give a time reference, and the countries where they held power. It doesn't have to be grandiose, just tuck it in there-"Maximilien Robespierre rose to power in the revolution that disposed of the French Monarchy." Or something along those lines. Both men are very controversial figures. Some people hold them up as fine patriots and national heroes while other people see them as power-hungry villains.

Cromwell rose to power in the war against Charles I who wanted absolute power. He quickly proved himself by reforming the soldiers into the New Model Army, which won the Civil War.

Expand on this point just a little bit. "Cromwell rose to power as a military leader during the English Civil Wars. His men greatly admired him for his martial instinct. Cromwell's belief that he had divine guidance and a God-given right to rule England drove his reforms of the army and led ultimately to the execution of Charles I." I think you also need to address here the dichotomy of the man. He was a national hero to some, but also a tyrant. His body may have been buried with honors at Westminster Abbey, but it was dug up and desecrated a few years later. It doesn't seem right to talk about Cromwell without mentioned his campaign against the Irish Catholics. Maybe add something like this: "Cromwell pursued the Irish Catholics with a genocidal brutality. Cromwell himself denied this claiming that he only waged war with those bearing arms." But . . . being the multifaceted man that he was, Cromwell also made strides in England against religious persecution. He even invited the Jews back to England after a long banishment.

Similarly, Robespierre ruled rather well at first and did lots of helpful things such as creating a new calendar and driving out the church.

Hmmm . . . he did lots of helpful things like creating a new calendar and driving out the church? The French Republican calendar was a rather odd and confusing thing. There were ten days in a week, ten "hour" days (the whole clock became deciminalized), and renaming/renumbering the years. Besides, Robespierre had very little to do with its creation. The value of driving out the church would be subjective. The Catholic Church was restored in France in 1801. You might want to add to this paragraph to show the rise to power, the ability of power to corrupt, and the results of that power . . ."In Robespierre's early rule, he was called "incorruptible" by his peers, who admired his virtue and steadfast dedication to the revolutionary cause. Robespierre wielded his power in an internal purge of personal enemies and enemies of the state."

Afterwards, his rule was overthrown and constitutional monarchy was declared.

Not exactly. Upon Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658, he was succeeded by his son although the office of Lord Protector was not hereditary. The English government was chaotic without Cromwell's strong leadership. Charles II was invited to return to England and assume the throne of his disposed father in the restoration of the monarchy.

And now, onto how they lost their power.

This is a pretty informal transition for an essay. A little too conversational in tone. Reword it to something like this: "Cromwell was able to maintain his rule until his death from malarial fever in 1658. Robespierre, on the other hand, met the fate he had inflicted on so many others when guillotined in 1749 by his political enemies."

After a failed attempt to shoot himself

Robespierre didn't fail to shoot himself, but he did not kill himself like he intended. Semantics. He shot himself in the jaw and was unconscious as the arresting party arrived. You don't need a lot of detail here, but you should correct this to mirror the truth in case your teacher is a stickler for detail.

And after comparing all factors of their rule, you have to agree that Cromwell is a better and more effective leader. Ask yourself this. Which one would you prefer? A joyless and grim life or a life lived constantly in fear of not being able to see the next morn?

You'll need to strengthen this, but you already knew that. Conclusions can be difficult. I wouldn't quote Chinese or American proverbs-they will read like fluff instead of supporting your arguments. Few men in history were as controversial as Cromwell and Robespierre. Do you have to pick one to support or can you say that they were both dichotomous in their rule? Hmmmm . . . Cromwell put an end to England's bloody civil wars, but that is the only good thing I can think of that came out of his tenure (he let the Jews back into England, but in this essay, that is a very minor point or not even a point at all) . . . I am not sure what other evidence you can come up with to support the concept that he was better than Robespierre . . . I am also not sure which man was responsible for more deaths, but I'd put my money on Cromwell.
Jun 4, 2009
Undergraduate / Applying to Rutgers Fall 09; 'vibrant and vivacious community' [11]

I think that they will be very impressed with your ownership of a business. I'd emphasize how that experience has taught you initiative, leadership, and responsibility. They are looking for an essay that will indicate your ability to be a successful student who brings something to the table-that something in your case would be your entrepreneurial experience, an experience most 20-year olds haven't had yet (and many people never will). The environmental aspect of your business is an added bonus. That you have gone to school full time while running a business shows that you are able to balance your life.

They say "Consider variables such as your talents, travels, leadership activities, volunteer services, and cultural experiences," but that doesn't mean that you need to hit each one of those areas. I see it as something to spark ideas for a direction in your essay instead of a checklist of what to include. If you don't have pertinent travel or cultural experiences, don't feel like you have to include something.

Good luck with it!
Jun 2, 2009
Essays / "The Great Depression changed the American governments views" - essay help [5]

Well . . . what do you know about life in American before and after the Great Depression? Compare Hoover's response to the economic crisis with FDR's. Consider Hoover's attitude toward governmental assistance versus personal responsibility and then contrast that to Roosevelt's attitude. Which governmental programs created during the Great Depression are still a part of the national landscape? Is there governmental oversight of the economy as a result of the Great Depression? What programs has the US government put in place to suppress another economic downturn of the Great Depression's magnitude? Do you think that a federal government like the one we had prior to 1932 would have sent the survivors of Hurricane Katrina Visa debit cards and paid for housing for four years after the catastrophe? What did the federal government spend on entitlement programs in the 1920s? During Roosevelt's tenure? In the last decade? What kinds of benefits would our current President like to see the government/taxpayers foot the bill for?

Basically you need to decide whether or not you feel like the Great Depression changed the role of government in the US. What was the role of government before the Great Depression and what was it after? Was there a change? If you think that there was a change, find examples to support your position. If you don't think that there was a change in the role and responsibilities of government, then you will need to find material to support that stance.

I hope that this helps to spur some thoughts.
Jun 1, 2009
Grammar, Usage / Logical Fallacies (for debate and persuasive writing) [23]

This is very interesting! I have to admit that I haven't learned anything about logical fallacies yet. Is the concept usually taught in English? Speech? Philosophy? I feel like I am pretty good at recognizing fallacies, but I don't have the vocabulary to name them. Can I give you examples of a couple of situations and have you help me identify what kind logical fallacies they would represent?

The first one would be when someone tells you that they are "a third Cherokee Indian" or that their dog is "99% wolf." Well, now I happen to know that there are two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen . . . thirty-two . . . sixty-four. Those numbers really don't add up to being a "third" of anything and proving a dog is 99% wolf would be difficult at best.

The other one was the proclamation that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with his slave Sally Hemmings because there was "DNA proof." The DNA tests did show a relationship between the decedents of Thomas Jefferson and some of the decedents of Sally Hemmings, but wouldn't that be expected? Hemmings' mother had belonged to Jefferson's wife's family and Sally was purportedly the offspring of Jefferson's father-in-law . . . making Martha Jefferson and Sally Hemmings half sisters. Even if you were able to use more sophisticated tests that tested only traits handed down through the male line, you wouldn't be able to exclude Jefferson's brother (who many contemporaries believed to be the father of some of Sally Hemmings' children-her offspring were fathered by both black and white men), Jefferson's nephews, or any number of other Jefferson males with common ancestors. What kind of fallacy would it be to simply state, "DNA proves Thomas Jefferson fathered children with slave mistress" or something of the sort?

Thank you for starting this thread (and the critical thinking thread). I am looking forward to learning more.
May 30, 2009
Undergraduate / LMU supplement essay- REFLECTIONS FROM HER OLDER SELF [7]

I see what you all mean about overwriting. While the grammar is solid and the word choices are strong, the essay seems redundant in spots.

It reminds me of Irène Némirovsky's Suite Française. She wrote the book and then died before she finished it. I felt like the book, in places at least, read more like Ms. Némirovsky's unfinished notes-like there were lists of ideas and she hadn't settled on one yet.

a time in her life where she was vacant and insecure- where nothing in the world could make her emptiness go away.

This is one of those sentences in your essay that leaves me feeling that way. It is like you couldn't decide whether to say that she was vacant and insecure or that nothing in the world could make her emptiness go away. It would be less circuitous to use one or the other.

She recalls her parents pushing her to take chances in life: to challenge herself, and to push the envelope, to question the norm, and to walk away from the familiar and comfortable into a world of uncertainty and challenge.

Same thing here . . . Did the parents push her to take chances, or to challenge herself, or to push the envelope, or to question the norm, or to walk away from the familiar and comfortable into a world of uncertainty and challenge . . . any one of those would have been enough to stand on, but when put all together, it reads like an awful lot of pushing into foreign realms-that poor abused girl!

There are some words that you use quite often . . . risk/riskiest-13 times, path/s-7 times.

You talk a lot of taking risks, unconventional roads, the unexpected, and being lost. Call me a naive kid, but isn't graduating from high school and then going on to college a prettynormal life path? Granted, it isn't the route that everyone takes, but I don't see it as being fraught with risk. The strong vocabulary evokes emotion, but that much emotion seems out of proportion with the situation. Instead of applying for university, it reads like the protagonist is being exiled to a deserted island. I feel like I am being set up to read about some life challenge or great tragedy only to find that I am no closer to knowing the person that when I began reading. What are they looking for here (besides a piece that showcases your writing ability)?

It is difficult to give advice on an essay of this nature when everything, technically speaking, is just fine. I am sorry if I come across as a snot, but I think that this essay could be improved. I'd let it be a little more revealing, shorten some of the sentences to omit the redundant (and to provide more sentence variety), and lighten up the mood so that it isn't so oppressive.
May 29, 2009
Writing Feedback / People should read only those books which are real events& real person [10]

This might get moved to its own thread, but I figured I'd toss out some thoughts anyway . . .

I think you are using the wrong word in a few places . . .

intrusting . . . do you mean instructive? Entrusting would mean to place trust in someone or something. Instructive means that it is teaching.

fractious . . . fictitious. Fractious means to divide or cause a fracture. Fictitious means that it is fiction or not real.

exiting . . . exciting. Exiting means that you are using the exit-leaving. Exciting means something that gets you going, something out of the ordinary.

image . . . imagine. Image is like a picture. Imagine is what we do with our minds.

insist . . . doesn't quite work here . . . can cause people to rethink . . . can make people rethink . . .

Like I said before, this is something that I often do in English. There are *a lot* of words in the English language!

I think that you could strengthen your essay by giving a few more reasons that fiction is a valuable format. With a piece of fiction, we can have an "omniscient" narrator-a narrator that knows everything and can guide us through the story. When writing nonfiction, authors are bound by the truth. With fiction, authors can take the story anywhere they and the reader wants to go. Some authors will mix fact and fiction-writing, for example, a historical fiction novel about Henry VIII's wives. The book may be based on actual events, but have conversations invented by the author. There are some nonfiction books that are humorous, but not too many! Fiction allows the author to entertain. Shakespeare is a good example of an author/playwright who wrote fiction, but based many of his works on fact. Should students never read Shakespeare because he wrote fiction?

Try to think through the arguments and add a little more. It isn't enough to say that fiction is entertaining, fun, and imaginative.
May 29, 2009
Writing Feedback / People want stay healthy. Health is must to enjoy the life to the fullest. [7]

It is smart to turn off spell check. I hadn't thought of that, but I think I will try it. I often find myself using the *wrong* word and spell check doesn't help with that kind of stupidity.


Organization seems to be a strength with your writing. You do a good job of mapping out a plan and sticking to it.

When you say "hygienic" I know that you mean "healthy," but in English "hygienic" more commonly means "clean." "Healthy" or "wholesome" might be better word choices here.

leared proper techincs

I know that you wrote this without the benefit of spell check, but proofread and listen to the words in your head . . . learNed and techNIQUEs.

hr and after that 5 mins

Spell out the words "hour" and "minutes." You should also be spelling out the word "five," but that is nitpicking.

watching small children playing

It should be "play" instead of playing. I don't know why. I thought I would be able to explain, but I can't.

Good luck with the exam!
May 29, 2009
Writing Feedback / Australian Gold Rush: Introduction writing [16]

You might want to tell a little bit about what Australia was like before the Gold Rush. It would make for good comparison: Great Britain regarded Australia as little more than a distant penal colony until the Gold Rush in the 1850s . . . It seemed senseless to send convicts to the Australian Colony for life sentences when British citizens were spending their life savings to undergo the same voyage . . . The Gold Rush ushered in a new era for Australia . . . something along those lines.

In your first paragraph, you talk about people coming from other countries and racial tension, but you don't say *what* countries the immigrants were coming from. They weren't all Brits. Asian countries? Other European nations? The US and Canada? India? How did the Gold Rush impact the aboriginal population? When you say that in 1952 alone, 370,000 people came to Australia. What was the population before that? Numbers are abstract to a lot of people and it would help to make it more meaningful. If you need to bulk up this paragraph more, you could talk about how the people got to Australia, what kind of reception awaited them, and what percentage stayed on after the Gold Rush. You could also elaborate on the racial tensions. Was it because of competition for gold? Different cultures and languages? What minority groups were there? Did women come over? Families?

I found this part of the first paragraph to be a little awkward: "Immigration did not only contribute to that though, when the lucky diggers spent their money, people could start making profits and produce more." Maybe reword it to something like: "With the increase in population, came an economic boom."

The second paragraph isn't bad, but it could use a little refinement. Not all areas of Australia were experiencing economic booms as many people left their farms and their businesses to chase the gold dream. Expand on this section and maybe change some of the sentences to something a little simpler like this: "Miners weren't the only ones profiting from the Gold Rush. Industries were established to serve the miners and employment opportunities were abundant."

In your last paragraph, you could talk more about how law and order was maintained during the Gold Rush and how the government profited from the sale of mining permits. Besides the Eureka Stockades, what events helped to put Australia on the road to democracy? What was Britain's role during this time? What happened at Eureka? When men gained suffrage in 1857, what was it that they were voting for?

I apologize for asking more questions than giving answers. As a North American, I didn't learn a lot about Australian history. It is an interesting subject. I'd inspired to go learn more now.
May 28, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

Hey thanks for the update Kyle! I am glad that you were able to argue for the extra points She shouldn't have taken them away in the first place-if she suspected plagiarism, she could always use a plagiarism checker. They are many free versions available on the Internet.

86% is respectable.
May 21, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

True . . . I do believe that "careen" is being used to mean "career" just like "decimate" is more commonly used now to mean "total destruction" than the original intention of "destroying one in every ten." Traditionally, that wasn't so. Webster's Third International Dictionary (Unabridged, of course), lists career as: 1. a course, 2. full speed 3. a course of progress in business or professional life and 3. a profession for which one has special training. The second entry has: 1. a short gallop or charge, 2. to go, drive, or run at top speed esp. in a headlong or reckless manner.

Careen is: 1. To cause a (boat) to lean over on its side making the other side accessible for repairs below the waterline 2. to cause to heel over 3. to sway from side to side (and then it uses the example of "the taxi careened west toward the main avenue).

Dictionary.com will give you different answers. Dictionary.com has the tendency to provide definitions that are in common usage which I think is very valuable, but I wouldn't want to discount Webster's either, *grin* There was a time when Dictionary.com gave "cardshark" instead of "cardsharp," but I just noticed that they fixed that.

I could be wrong about his sentence structure as well. He might have said something like, " I careered down the street on my bicycle fearing the inevitable crash," (instead of around a corner) in which case "career" would have made more sense in his word-nerd brain.

BUT . . . if my brother would have been willing to self-advocate, the teacher probably would have given him back the points. Sorry, I don't mean to be argumentative. I understand WHY the teacher did that-careen IS used much more often.
May 21, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

Man, what a bummer that you now have to prove to her that your work is your own. It is worth the effort though. Not only for the improved grade, but to teach her not to judge you (and other students in the future) by her preconceived notions. I think that Sean is right on the "pegging" concept-especially in a subject like English where the grading can be so subjective.

I agree, math is much easier! There are only so many ways to solve an equation while there an an infinite number of ways to construct a sentence. Just because a teacher might have put the words together in a different way, doesn't make your constructions wrong (well, except when they are, but that is a different story).

It reminds me of when my younger brother, who can write circles around me, used the word "career" in a short story. He said something like, "I careered around the corner on my bicycle fearing the inevitable crash." His teacher crossed it out and wrote "careened." It just so happens that "career" (when used as a verb and not as a profession) DOES mean to go at a high rate of speed and out of control while "careen" (at least in the traditional sense) means to tip over-most often of a ship-to make repairs or to clean. The kid had the right word, but the teacher didn't know it. He's too shy to ever prove his point with a teacher and has since "dummy-downed" his writing. I wish the kid would learn the art of self-advocacy. Fortunately, errors of this nature haven't cost him grades in a course, but the lack of self-advocacy almost cost him a slot on a school trip to Spain (but that is another story).

Which brings me to another point . . . kudos to you for advocating for yourself. Be careful though. Teachers can be touchy and you don't want to put her on the defensive. Take the tack that you want to work with her to show her how the work is your own without putting her on the defensive. Instead of seeing her as the prosecutor while you are the defendant, try to think of her as an independent arbitrator that knows nothing of the situation and needs insight on your writing process and and you created this essay deserving of an 85% without plagiarizing. Ask the teacher if it would be beneficial if you brought a parent along. Not that you would want to bring a parent (unless you had to), but teachers tend to respect parents and if she sees that your mom or dad is on your side in this, she will realize that the writing is much more likely to be your own.

Good luck with it! I'd love to hear an update after you talk with her.
May 21, 2009
Research Papers / Making this the most persuasive research essay [8]

Ever heard of people that started it all? By that I mean started graffiti and made it into a subculture that we still have to this day.

Don't ask your readers too many questions. You want to inform the reader instead. Rephrasing this would help you get rid of the "I" as well. Try something like this: The roots of modern graffiti and the graffiti subculture can be traced to a New York City man employed by a messenger service. (I also think that it is important to add a little clarity here. Tell *where* Taki was-I made the assumption that it was New York, correct it if it is wrong. Instead of saying that he was a messenger, which could mean that he spread his graffiti message, state that he worked as a messenger to clear it up in the readers' minds.)

Put your punctuation inside of your quotations marks. I know that it feels weird, but that is how it is done in American English (British English puts the punctuation on the outside).

Most of the people doing graffiti don't get caught because of their ability to make their way around everything. Most of the time you never see it on the clean walls of streets on a specific day, but the next day it would be in front of one's face when it wasn't there the day before.

Clarify this a little more as well. Maybe something like: Graffiti requires stealth. Spray painters and taggers work under the cover of darkness and are seldom caught.

One would always see black books or huge sharpie markers, even some markers that most people never knew existed.

I Googled "Black Book" because I didn't know what one was. You can assume that most readers won't either. You might want to inform the reader here as well: The tools of the trade, huge Sharpie (capitalize it because it is a brand name) markers and black books-sketch books that graffiti artists keep for practice and with ideas-are prevalent among the student body.

Have you ever been to the freeway where you see the train tracks full of graffiti? Or the public storage rooms that have graffiti on them? Next time someone passes the freeway you can see that the train track bridge has "Casp" and other different kinds of graffiti; and think about it, who did that? How did it get up there? Did they get caught?

A LOT of questions here. And a lot of "yous." Hmmmm: Graffiti artists seek high-visibility spots to create their tags and pieces. In Martinez, graffiti is especially rampant along the freeways, railroad tracks, and public storage rooms. Words such as "Casp" can be read on the railroad bridge attesting to the physical danger of difficult-to-reach locations and the legal risks faced in graffiti subculture.

I know, but how do I know you say? Well because of the fact that I used to tag, but not on walls. I used to have a black book and couldn't show anyone but my friends because if the principle caught me then I could have been suspended or even expelled; but I didn't want that, all I wanted was to tag. Then one day, my friend talks to me about a graffiti battle that the schools funds are going to be sponsoring. I thought to myself about doing it but later decided not to because I had never tried to do a huge piece; I've always done it on paper. But at the same time I wanted to be there to see what other people had so I took my camera and took pictures. Guess what? All of the pieces that were put together by the students looked fantastic.

This is the part of your paper that contains the most "I's". You could still use this, but depersonalize it. Something like: Students who keep black books show them to only their closest friends. If a teacher or principal (you had the wrong word here) catches a student with a sketch book of graffiti writing and ideas, that student risks suspension or expulsion. The irony is that the school district (state what district or school to clarify here) sponsored a graffiti battle (tell where or when). The student-created pieces looked fantastic.

Art or Vandalism? What do you think? I'm pretty sure that most people would think vandalism but I think that they are wrong. It seems to occur to me that just because the walls are painted doesn't mean that it's bad. Have you seen how clean and nicely done some of the graffiti is on walls out there? Those murals that have been painted look beautiful and I think that people who tag should not get in trouble because they just want to create things that make the world look more joyful and happier.

Art or vandalism? (I think it is fie to ask a question here because you are not asking it of your reader, but limit the other questions in the rest of the essay). The answer lies in the eye of the beholder. Many people think of graffiti as vandalism, but an increasing number value the artistic merits of a well-executed piece. Murals done in graffiti style enhance our city and make the our world a more joyful place.

. . . that way they get to show off their skills in front of everyone who gets the chance to see and to the people, who don't get to see, get to look at the painting that they had left behind.

This is awkward. Try rephrasing it: . . . that way they get to show off their skills in front of everyone who has come to watch and create a painting for the city's residents to enjoy. (Okay, that isn't the best sentence either, but I hope you get the idea).

challenged by everyday life

But wait. Don't you think that it's bad to do graffiti? I think that graffiti is bad because not only is it vandalism but its defacing property and do you know how much the world has to spend annually to remove graffiti? I don't even think that the numbers are from ALL the graffiti in the United States.

Illegal graffiti and the defacement of property is vandalism and requires great effort, not to mention expense, to remove.

So don't even think for one second that if you do graffiti, you're not part of the problem, because you are! Even though I love graffiti that is one of the reasons that I also don't like it so much.

You could omit these two sentences.

If you want something, try to pursue it differently. Don't try to be a bad person and get a bunch of attention.

Graffitists (my computer highlights this as not a word, but it is) need to find other outlets to pursue their craft. Attention mongers who write their messy tags on public and private property give the art a bad name.

Whew! That took longer than I expected, but I have to admit that it was fun. I guess I am a "word nerd." I think that you can make this into a *great* paper. You are taking a subject that is controversial and persuading the reader to see it from the other side. If you want to do a rewrite, I can try to help you formulate a conclusion. When is it due?
May 20, 2009
Research Papers / Making this the most persuasive research essay [8]

I think that you need to strengthen your arguments a little more. At times it seems like you are arguing against graffiti and then in the next sentence you will say how valuable it is. Maybe you need to be clearer on the distinction between what is and what is not acceptable in your mind. With a little more organization, some strong talking points, and a better conclusion *grin*, this will be a great essay.

Here's an example of one way you might organize your essay:

I. Write a brief introduction with an overview of what the rest of the essay will contain.

II. Define the different types of graffiti. Talk about the history here and then segue into modern graffiti. Assume that your reader knows next to nothing about your subject. Talk about the difference between a tag and piece, the desire for exposure (and how graffiti artists can increase their exposure by writing on train cars and trucks), and other things that you can think of to teach the reader about graffiti. You might want to mention the "Kilroy Was Here" that American soldiers put up around the world in World War II and Korea-it might legitimize graffiti to an extent in your teacher's mind.

III. Examples of what you might deem unacceptable could be "tags" that don't have artistic merit but are more a means of self promotion or claiming territory for gangs. Graffiti that is on private property without the owner's permission.

IV. Then extol the virtues of graffiti. Talk about the colors and designs that are put into large "pieces" and how the art form has grown. Maybe mention a few galleries that showcase graffiti art.

V. Then you could state your feelings on graffiti. What are the boundaries? How can society provide a legal and safe outlet that recognizes this art form? You mention environmental damage from spray paint and markers, but it is tough to have it both ways. I don't think I'd bring that up unless you would also propose doing away with all spray paint and markers.

VI. Then write your conclusion. Reiterate graffiti's value as an art form and an outlet and provide a solution (public walls, paper, private property with permission, commissioned pieces) that recognizes a balance between the rights of property owners and the need for creative expression.

Let me know if you want me to take a look at your grammar or help you in other ways.
May 20, 2009
Writing Feedback / Essay on Rating TV Shows and Movies [6]

I think it would be helpful if you were to talk a little more about why movies are rated the way that they are. What kinds of things are viewers warned about? Include sex, violence, language, drug use, nudity, and other issues. Even a PG movie, by rating standards, can contain brief nudity, profanity, and violence, but they are not allowed to show drug use. You say, "You know what the worst parts are and you know that nothing in the movie is worse than what you let your kids watch," but I think it would be helpful to spell out what those "worst parts" are. Instead of just saying that CSI would be bad to show to a roomful of kids, make the point that the program portrays violence that is not age-appropriate for all viewers.

"I am not aware of any problems that exist from rating movies, but if there were some they would be miniscule in comparison to the benefits of rating movies." I am not sure where you are going with this sentence, but it doesn't bolster your argument. Are you saying that no one has issues with movie ratings? There have been directors who don't like the system because they believe it takes away their artistic freedom. There have also been movies that have thrown in gratuitous scenes to getting a PG or PG-13 rating because they don't want to appear too "bubblegum." There have to be other reasons why people would be opposed to a ratings system, but those are the only two I can come up with. I think you either need to recognize and refute the opposition or skip it all together.

There were a few minor grammatical issues and problems with verb agreement, but you aren't planning on turning this in as a final copy so it seems silly to correct those at this point.
May 19, 2009
Poetry / William Blake Poetry Paper [23]

Even if you focus on just the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience, there is enough work there to really analyze. In fact, there might be too much to do in just six paragraphs.

William Blake was a very spiritual man, but he did not like organized religion (especially the Church of England). He claimed to see angels throughout his life (I believe that the first time was as a toddler). It might be interesting to analyze his views on religion. Even his seemingly simple poems like "The Fly" have deeper religious meaning.

He also wrote quite a bit about the ordinary and every day. You could analyze that as well.

Or . . . how his poetry ties into his Enlightenment thinking (where it does . . . and where his writings seem to be in opposition to Enlightened thinking). Blake was ahead of his time when it came to equality for people of color and for women-many of his poems deal with this theme.

Blake was an accomplished painter/artist-how did that affect him as a writer?

It might not be what your teacher is wanting, but I find the influence Blake has had on modern culture in the areas of music (his poems have been recorded as songs by many people including Bob Dylan), graphic novels, and art to be very interesting.

I think that you need to decide on a theme (Christianity and humanity, as you mentioned, are good ones) and then work on finding stanzas that support your theme.

Good luck with it! I'd love to see it when it is done. I find William Blake to be very fascinating. One the one hand, his poetry comes across as simplistic and almost childlike (a little like a Beatles song), but on the other hand, the man had a great depth and constancy that showed in his writing.
May 17, 2009
Book Reports / self theme in Night by Elie Wiesel and The Princess Bride by William Goldman [3]

There are so many good quotes about the self in Night. I haven't read The Princess Bride so I can't be of any help to you there. Here are just a few from Night:

"I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you the story of my death. So that you could prepare yourselves while there was still time. To live? I don't attach any importance to my life any more. I'm alone. No, I wanted to come back, and to warn you. And see how it is, no one will listen to me...'" (Chapter 1, pg. 5) This is when Moshe the Beadle comes back to the town to warn the others of the Holocaust. With what he has seen, he feels like he has already been through death. People don't take him seriously, instead they think that he is crazy.

"The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don't die of it..." (Chapter 1, pg. 9) I feel that this is an important quote. While many people felt that wearing the yellow star is demoralizing, Elie's father accepts the star because it doesn't kill him. It could be argued that wearing the star was just the first step toward death. The Jews accept more and more dehumanization from the Nazis until they lose their sense of self and find themselves in dire straights.

"The doors were nailed up; the way back was finally cut off. The world was a cattle wagon hermetically sealed." (Chapter 2, pg. 22) You could say that this applies to a sense of self because the people are being moved in cattle cars that are tightly sealed from the outside world. They have been stripped of possessions and are all equal in the horrible situation that they now find themselves in.

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed...Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never." (Chapter 3, pg. 32) Pretty self explanatory. And another a long those lines:

"The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it." (Chapter 3, pg. 34)

"I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time." (Chapter 4, pg. 50) He has lost his ability to think and to feel-the things that make us human and provide a sense of self-with the prolonged starvation and torture inflicted at the hands of the Nazis.

"Whose was that tear? Mine? His?...We had never understood one another so clearly." (Chapter 5, pg. 65) The line between himself and his father gets blurred here. And another one about his father:

"After my father's death, nothing could touch me any more." (Chapter 9, pg. 107)

"From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me." (Chapter 9, pg. 109) Talk about the sense of self! This quote combines the first-person with the third-person to show that the man and the image in the mirror are not one in the same.
May 14, 2009
Undergraduate / Essay about my self: Introducing Yourself to Your Instructor [6]

My name is Amit Vaidya. I am from India. I am in mythe first semester of my senior year instudying Civil Engineering at Clemson University, SC. This sentence makes me a little dizzy with all of the prepositions. You might want to break in into two sentences . . . one telling what you are studying and the other where.In this memo, I am goingI'd like to tell you a little bit about my background, interests, achievements you need a comma here to keep it consistent with the rest of your writing and my goals.

Bilimora is famous for temples,take out the comma and add the word "and" textile mills.

I started going to South Side Highschool high school should be two words) as a sophomore and was enrolled in put either "the" or "an" here ESL program for a year.

Moving in to a new country and settling there (here) was a huge challenge for me and my family.

I like playing Chess and Cricket you don't need to capitalize either chess or cricket. I always enjoyed reading, writing and doing math.

Growing up as a child and until now, (my adulthood) it has been mine (my) and my parents dream for me to become a Doctor or an Engineer. This sentence is awkward. You might want to reword it to something like: Since I was a child, my parents and I have shared the dream of my becoming a doctor or an engineer.

----- I decided to become a Civil Engineer because I have always been fascinated by looking at the bridges, buildings, and skyscrapers.

includes: Should be include

seting budgets
May 12, 2009
Letters / Query Letters to Publishers? Need advice [3]

Have you tried Google? There are a lot of good resources out there. Here's one of the better ones:


The key is really knowing the publication and what types of articles they publish or if they even accept work from unknown freelancers. Tailor your query to the publication so that the editor doesn't feel like you are tossing out a wide fishing net-use a hook (with just a little bit of bait).

Some magazines appreciate writers who are also photographers. If you happen to be a qualified photographer, send along publication-worthy photos. Besides, a busy editor is more likely to glance at photos than to read an entire query or article.

Make sure that your letter is error free. Editors read like, well, editors. Any mistakes will jump out at them. Editors would much rather work with writers that don't require a lot of hand holding or editing.

Just because you write an amazing query and then the magazine publishes something similar a few months later, doesn't mean that the magazine stole your idea. Articles are sometimes assigned many months in advance or have been in the hopper. Because of this, some magazines will not accept queries from the public. Along the same lines, be very careful if you are sending simultaneous submissions to more than one publisher . . . if you do get a piece accepted, you'll need to withdraw your submissions from other publishers or risk pissing everyone off. One way to get blacklisted from a magazine/publisher is to have your piece carefully considered and then approved at an editorial meeting only to have the editors find out that the piece is no longer available because it has been published elsewhere.

(This advice comes from a magazine editor that I know)
May 10, 2009
Dissertations / Thesis paper on translation in famous works, confused about a topic [16]

The art of translation can be fascinating. One of my all-time favorite books is The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. It was originally written in Spanish, but I read the English translation. I thought that the book was well-crafted and funny. Then I found myself wondering how close the translation is to the original. Is the translation an embellishment? Obviously, because of the differences in the languages, it was not verbatim or palabra por palabra. I have heard that translations can be beautiful or true, but not both-that right there could be an interesting approach to a paper.

Here are some other random thoughts that might spark a thought of your own:

Certification of translators: what are the standards, is there oversight, culpability for errors? This would be especially interesting in the legal arena.

The vernacular versus the vehicular (lingua franca) language.

A day at the United Nations and what goes on to ensure that all of the participants have proper translations. I imagine this to be quite the undertaking!

There have been a few ad campaigns that have gone sour due to poor translation and cultural understanding. Have you ever seen the website engrish.com? It has lots of pictures of botched English in advertising and such. It wouldn't provide a research topic, but it is entertaining.

Good luck with it!
May 9, 2009
Undergraduate / "Untitled" General Personal Statement [4]

Before jumping to conclusions and envisioning me as a 90s Nirvana-loving grudge rocker

Hey, what's wrong with Nirvana?

You use very interesting words and the grammar is pretty solid (a couple of awkward parts), but I really think that the essay could be more about you and your experiences with the shoes being an underlying theme that ties things together. Without knowing the purpose of the writing, it is difficult to tell if it meets the assignment/application requirements. It might work better if you talk about different aspects of your life in separate paragraphs-maybe one one academics, one on volunteer work, and one on risk taking/adventure.

takes a certain stubbornness toward surrendering and I have been able to master such persistence in my daily life.

This isn't making sense to me. Stubbornness toward surrendering? Maybe try getting rid of some of the fluffy words and go with something like this instead: Hard work, whether in the classroom or in the blistering sun, requires persistence.
May 8, 2009
Book Reports / Jem's Maturity; To Kill a Mockingbird [7]

I have been taught to use present tense when writing an essay-even though the action took place in the past, use the present tense throughout a literature essay. Does your teacher have the same expectation? At any rate, your verb tense switches. I think that it would flow better if you had all of your verbs in the present tense.

Here's how you might rewrite your introductory paragraph:

During the course of chapters 1 - 16 in To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem has significantly grownmatures significantly from a childish, playful boy that he was fromat the beginning of the novel, to a more calm,and composed and mature figure. resemblance to that of his father, Atticus. Harper Lee has incorporates the theme of m aturity into the novel through the development of Jem's maturation as he becomes more and more like his meritorious father, Atticus .

Errrr . . . or something like that. I was just trying to get all of the verbs into present tense.

I just glanced at your profile to see if you are in the US (because American English puts the punctuation inside the quotation marks, but British English doesn't). I was surprised to see that you are from Singapore! Is English your first language? I am impressed enough with your writing, but if English is not your native language, I will bow humbly at your feet.
May 8, 2009
Essays / Their Eyes Were Watching God . . . Need Help Outlining an Essay [13]

Duh! I am laughing at myself here. OF COURSE I will weave quotes into my essay. The point that I was trying to make-without much success-is that my teacher doesn't seem to expect much analysis or desire it for that matter. There are days that I feel like I am back in the fifth grade writing book reports. I want to learn to write higher-level essays, I want to be able to wield a comma with confidence, I want more powerful verbs in my writing, and I want to avoid looking stupid.

I am probably going to finish the book tonight or tomorrow and then start outlining. I wasn't in English class today because of AP testing (history, not English. AP English scares me) so I didn't have an opportunity to clarify the prompt and expectations with my teacher. I sent him a quick email, but he hasn't responded yet.

I like your idea of a quotation outline, Sean. I have quite a few highlighted now, but I need to get some of them into Word so I can move them around and find a semblance of organization.

Thanks for your input guys! I enjoy hearing how respected writers approach an assignment.
May 8, 2009
Essays / Their Eyes Were Watching God . . . Need Help Outlining an Essay [13]

Loving the conversation here! I need that seventh day to come. I am not one of those to leave things to the last minute (usually) so at least I do have some time to let the thoughts flesh out.

As crazy as it sounds, I am not sure how much "depth" my teacher wants here. He seems to score the essays that merely summarize higher than those that analyze. If I weave quotes from the book into my analysis, I think I can craft an essay that analyzes and summarizes as the same time.

The Gallagher approach to writing has me laughing here. I can just see my teacher saying, "I get the pear analogy with the springtime blossoms and budding sexuality. The apple as forbidden fruit is a longstanding euphemism. But what in the world is the grape doing in paragraph three??"

I always buy the required-reading books so I can mark them up as I go. I have a couple of highlighters working in this one with different colors for the various tacks I might take with the essay.
May 6, 2009
Essays / Their Eyes Were Watching God . . . Need Help Outlining an Essay [13]

Let me whine for just a moment here . . . my English teacher doesn't often hand out assignment sheets. He likes to assign essays orally. I am more of a visual learner. I like to analyze the prompt and peruse the assignment sheet to ensure that I am meeting the criteria. I don't even know how many pages he wants for this particular essay! From previous assignments, I can guess that this essay is supposed to be 3-5 pages. I am a little hazy on the subject as well . . . the treatment of women in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Okay, I am done whining.

Being an Oprah-Book-Club pick, the women in the book face a lot of strife. I could focus on the protagonist or I could talk more about the other women in the novel as well.

I don't know if I should try to break it up into types of treatment . . . how they are treated by the men in the novel, how they are treated by each other, how they are treated by society.

Or if I should organize the essay along some brilliant path that has yet to be revealed to me.

It doesn't help that I haven't finished reading the book yet. I'd like to know what direction I want to take with my essay so I can find supporting material as I read, but I might not know the best tack to take until I read the end of the story. It is a Catch-22.

I wish I had an assignment sheet (Don't accuse me of whining. That last one was said in my big-boy voice.)
May 6, 2009
Undergraduate / work hard, find the best in each other, and live with confidence. [6]

I think with a few adjustments your essay could be stronger.

You switch around a little between verb tenses. It would be easier on the reader if you stuck to the present tense.

During my four years at Mahwah High School, I have been blessed to have a coach that has shares the same goals as Coach Carty. His name is Coach Pasek.A s a coach, he inspires my team to work hard, find the best in each other, and live with confidence. At first I thought Coach Pasek was only using these goals to build better athletes, but I now realize that these values are designed to make us better individuals. The lesson learned will influence me throughout my life, and especially with my educational and career objectives.

Don't be intimidated by how much I bled onto the screen! Your essay has strong bones, but it could benefit from some minor tweaking. The prompt gives you a logical order to follow for your essay . . . introduction, paragraph on hard work, paragraph on finding the best in each other/teamwork, paragraph on living with confidence, conclusion. I'm not sure why you did it in a different order.

I'll help some more changing those verbs to present tense if you'd like. There were a few grammatical errors in the later paragraphs, but if you are going to be rewriting, it seems pointless to point them out at this point, *grin*
May 6, 2009
Book Reports / The Crashing Symbols of The Glass Menagerie and My Little Town [27]

Man! I *hate* that. I have been nicked several times for formatting errors. You would think that I would learn, but I guess I am a little slow. Part of the problem is the inconsistiencies in on-line sources. One would think that you could Google "MLA format, long quotes," and come up with the correct answer. I am sure that one could Google "MLA format, long quotes," and come up with the right answer, but I am the idiot that clicks on a link that takes me to a site that shows an outdated format that I will then take as the gospel.

You received a B. Wow. I am shaking my head in disbelief. A formatting error was able to take off that many percentage points?? I am afriad that my future prospects of receiving an A are next to nil.