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RekcaH

English Essays

This is my first post and most of you will probably think that it is a dumb one, or that I should already know this. This is my 1st year of I.B. (Freshman Pre-I.B.) and I am having a very tough time writing essays and just understanding my English class in general. We talk about alot of high level things that I was never taught in my previous schools. I just plain out suck at English, and am the worst essay writer. My teacher told me that still 1/3 of his students this year did worse than me but I got a 48/100 on my first one and have no idea how to get started again on a re-done (Yes I did say re-do, how rare is that?) edition. It is on the Odyssey and the focus/topic of it is; A Soldier Must Struggle to return Home from War. I really need some help, like ways to start an essay, things to avoid in an essay, things like that. My teacher has also talked about the 7 deadly verbs that you should never use EVER, but I am a little confused on what they entitle, I know "is" and I think "to be" verbs are part of it but I wanted the communities help and opinion.

Thanks hope you can help!

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Hello there, what exactly do you need help with in your writing? Analysis? Structure? Often when I begin an essay, I find that I waste way to much time thinking of how to phrase the opening paragraph, so I just begin with my first point and write the introduction later. When writing formal papers, passive voice "IS" discouraged. (see what I did there?) Your best bet for help on "no-no" checklists is to use: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ the OWL, which is a lifesaver when it comes to MLA formatting etc. Check it out for yourself and let me know how this helps or what else you need :)

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It seems to me that general advice and tips (of which there is no shortage) will not be enough for you. To succeed, i.e. to write that fluent, cogent, coherent and well-structured essay, for your specialized Language A course, you will need lots of individual attention from your teacher or very experienced, attentive classmate .... and lots of practice.

Practice, practice, practice.

But practice by itself is no good without conscious attention to what needs improving. And that's where specific, pointed feedback, for each of your individual essays, is invaluable -- crucial, even. And a lot of it.

It is important to recognize this - that there is no quick solution and dwelling on questions like "should I use the passive or not?" is merely surface. Much of the advice you get will be too general ("your writing should be clear") or valid but opaque (your thesis statement should lay out the foundations of your essay) and therefore useless ...unless followed up closely by specific attention to how YOU are going about your essay writing and what YOU need to change. I hope this makes sense.

I doubt learning the "7 deadly verbs" will make a whole lot of difference to the quality of your essay writing, except to avoid minor reader irritation. Learn these minor, general injunctions, but move on quickly to what really counts.

Anyway, Redwalk has pointed to one good site with advice for essays, but remember you are dealing with IB criteria-specific and subject specific essays -- not the general all-purpose thing. So there is much else to take into account as you work through what is freely available online.

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