Essay Section: Thesis

“Good” is an affirmative reply. This reply is standard. It is the most consistently used reply of all professors. Professors seldom use “excellent” and “brilliant,” unless your work is extraordinary.  There are different factors involved with these categories. See the comments regarding these topics in their respective sections.

The comment “Good” encompasses many qualities, and the best way to approach this is to review its definitions and synonyms: suitable to a purpose, effective, efficient; fresh, valid, genuine; enjoyable, desirable, pleasant; dependable, reliable, right; thorough, complete; excellent of its kind; best or considered best; and morally sound or excellent. Although “excellent” is one of its definitions, this definition is only in reference to a “kind” of work.  In other words, not every work graded by a professor is of the quality of excellence.

An “excellent” paper is a “kind” of essay where the student completely fulfills the assignment. For example, if a professor requires you to write on the Canterbury Tales, compare and contrast two tales, include two characters from each, but you write on two tales and include one character from each, your paper does not represent a complete product. In terms of fully meeting the assignment, the excellent paper represents an “A.”

Of course, there are other factors that professors consider. Sometimes you can have an “A” paper, but lack sophistication in prose, follow-up explanation, and balanced analysis. This type of paper may move from an “A” to an “A minus,” even though you have fulfilled the assignment completely. When this happens, your paper moves from “excellent” to “good.” After this, your paper at this grade level is subject to different definitions. You may receive “good” because through your paper, you effectively and efficiently prove your thesis.

You may also receive “good” because your ideas are fresh, dependable, and suitable for the topic. In the following excerpt, “good” represents “thorough.”  In other words, the professor calls attention to the ability of the student writer to analyze the information, incorporate quotes, and follow through by providing more evaluation of the topic. Let’s read.

Sample Excerpt

The real question is how do the masses think?  What is their process and how is it related to their will for progress?  Gasset connects philosophy to man and his will or lack thereof.  He does this through careful examination of the ordinary thought processes of everyday human beings, which includes the masses.  It is necessary for us to explore this because we can first get a clear view of how the “average,” or mass-man thinks, leaving us to understand how sound Gasset’s argument is.

The second aspect of the philosophical past is consistently committing errors, which are involuntarily transformed into the instruments of truth.  Truth is normally regarded as something quite unattainable.  It is reasonable to assert because “we are prone to think of error as being overly likely, which is less salutary” (Gasset 20).  For example, the contemporary addresses the existence of error lightly.  He thinks that it is the most natural thing in the world to him.  He never questions the existence and accepts the error as delightfully as possible.  At best, this continued acceptance to the existence of error can be connected to the contemporary man’s innate skepticism; skepticism deals in part with man’s inability to deal with truth.

Figure 20: Essay Excerpt on Ortega Y. Gasset


The first paragraph represents an in-depth examination of Gasset’s views, which represent a characterization of his attitude toward a major character, the “mass-man.”

The bolded sentences in the second paragraph highlight Gasset’s method, his way of persuading you about his perspective on the “mass-man.”

The underlined sentences after the quote represent good follow-through. The student explores the quote and provides additional assessment on the author’s views.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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