Explain Exactly What You Mean Here

Have you ever heard the phrase “First things first”? What this term means is that before you do anything else, do what needs to be done first. If you don’t do the first, you can’t do what comes after it. In other words, you won’t be equipped enough to do what comes next. For example, you need to furnish your body with the right kind of fuel, carbohydrates in particular, before you can run for either short or long periods of time. In addition, a car needs fuel to run. If the car is on empty, it will not run. Essentially, you have to furnish the car with fuel so the car can help you get to where you need and want to go.

Similarly, you must explain new concepts, new ideas, and new ways of understanding the topic before you can move further on into other ideas within the paper. Otherwise, you will not be equipped enough to do what comes next. You will not be able to explain how one concept relates to another and you will develop the pattern and habit within your writing of just breezing by concepts and examples and not spending time with each to explain their significance. It is absolutely clear within the following excerpt that the student needs to define how she will use the term “workable” within the context of the topic.

Sample Excerpt

Random samples in this study expressed that while women averaged three hours a day in housework in addition to a full-time job, men averaged 17 minutes; “women spent fifty minutes a day of time exclusively with their children; men spent twelve minutes, . . .” to add “working fathers watched television an hour longer than their working wives, and slept a half hour longer each night” (Hochschild 264).  How does this relate to the aforementioned example of the presenter (and woman) and the expected role of woman as a helpmeet?  Working wives are just what they are, “workable” wives, shaped into the ideal image of man; the same workable wives who have to compete for intellectual attention rather than the opposite.

Figure 9: Essay Excerpt of Student Paper on CHESS and Student Health Center: Gender Differences


1) How are working wives shaped into “workable” wives? 

2) What does it mean to be “workable”?

3) To what does “workable” relate?

4) Does it relate to “help meet”?  Economically?  Culturally?

5) Who does the working in the “workable”?

6) Who are the major key players?  The women?  The men?

Revision Considerations

Always define how you will use a term and/or theme within the context of your topic.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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