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"Is 18 the right age limit for voting?" Can you tell me if my essay is off-topic or not?


AnthonyJ 1 / 1  
Nov 17, 2015   #1
(I wish to stay anonymous, therefore I will use '#1' instead of naming the country I live in)

Hi, I'm sorry if I'm writing this topic in the wrong board, but I really need feedback from professionals, and preferably, from someone native to an English-speaking country (Keep in mind that I'm actually from #1, and English is only my second language, so I'd appreciate if you tone down the severity; also this is a high-school essay, therefore, do not judge it from a collage point-of-view, if I'm able to request so).

Some time ago, we have been given an assignment to write one paragraph for a "for and against essay" (we could choose to write either about pros or cons), and the topic was:

"Is 18 the right age limit for voting?" (in #1, a minor is a person under the age of 18, not 21 like some of the other countries)

Negative (the against) paragraph:
...
On the other hand, by restricting voting rights for people under the age
of 18, the society is dismissing the opinions of a large part of the population.
Some of those people do not just live their lives oblivious to the political events
and happenings. They actually might want to vote, not just silently observe the events
and hope for the best outcome. They might be more informed about the actual issues and
problems that their country is facing, rather than just voting for the party that promises
economic safety or employment but never delivers it. There also exist some of the people,
who are also underage, that never think about politics. They consider it to be some parallel
event that is occurring in the background, or in other words they do not want or know how to
affect it. They usually keep that mentality when they grow up, and thus, do not participate in
the elections or similar happenings.
...

Two flaws about that law (that I mentioned in the paragraph):
- Some of the underage people may have a better grasp on politics than the adults (who are legally allowed to vote), and therefore, it is unfair for their voice to be dismissed

- By restricting the voting rights for underage people, we are actually enabling (some of) them to form a neutral opinion about participative political lifestyle (what I mean by this is participation in elections, since voting in #1 is not obligatory). And if the minors don't learn that it is important to vote, they'll probably not even vote when they grow up).

So as you see, I chose to write the negative paragraph (we also didn't have to write a conclusion or an introduction either).

So my question is: IS THIS PARAGRAPH REALLY OFF-TOPIC? My professor failed it, saying that it diverts from the topic she had originally given us, yet was unable to tell me exactly why does she think it doesn't even touch the subject mentioned before ("Is 18 the right age limit for voting?").

I hope I can get honest answers and opinions. Thank you for your time.

TJLuschen - / 241 203  
Nov 17, 2015   #2
I think your paragraph is not really off-topic, but sometimes teachers don't like to have to read between the lines. :) So in this case, I think you could have been more specific. First, what exactly is your paragraph arguing? You say you are arguing the negative for the statement "is 18 the right age limit for voting?". So are you arguing that the age limit should be reduced or that it should be raised? I guess you are arguing that the age limit should be reduced even more, maybe to age 16? If so, you should state this explicitly. And then refer to this in your explanations, don't force the reader to have to connect the dots.
OP AnthonyJ 1 / 1  
Nov 17, 2015   #3
Thanks, I appreciate your suggestion. Yes, you are right, I'm arguing that the age limit is not fairly set (should be reduced, although I didn't explicitly state it since the assignment was just to write a paragraph against). I examined your suggestions and I agree that that would make my paragraph better (although I think that the last sentence you suggested would be better fit in the conclusion, which was not required for me to write at the time). Unfortunately, my professor already failed me saying the previous paragraph is off-topic, regardless of me trying to explain my train of thought when I was writing this paragraph. Again, I'm grateful that you agreed (at least partially) with my opinion, TJLuschen.


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