Although a piece of paper is matter, a material, it is also solid because it doesn’t change shape or form, at least without external help. The shape and form of a piece of paper can change by some force greater than it such as a human being taking a pair of scissors and cutting through the paper or some kid balling it up and throwing it in the trash or someone stepping on it, separating it from its original form. Regardless of all these different options, the paper, itself, is still paper; it still remains to be in its original, solid form. The paper can’t turn itself into liquid, nor can it move itself.

If this example of the paper is hard to imagine, then think about a stick of butter. A stick of butter, in solid form, will not move until placed under certain conditions such as heat. For example, if we just examine the stick as is, then in its solid form, it remains solid until some outside force determines otherwise.

However, something that is in liquid form can change. It can move. Liquid flows and it doesn’t have a shape. In other words, it doesn’t have a form. It has no structure other than its liquid state. If liquid falls out of a cup, you can’t quickly gather it up and place it somewhere else on the counter. If a cup that has liquid in it falls on the desk, the pursuit to retrieve the first signs of its falling will be fruitless, because liquid has no collectible parts. It has no real structure. Whatever you drop is already out of “grasp.”

When you write an essay that stays true to its original form, shape, and structure, you have a paper that is solid. When the paper is solid, it has easily collectible parts and facts are credible and verifiable. You have built the paper on a firm foundation, on a strong thesis. On the other hand, when you write a paper that has no shape or structure, one in particular that deviates from the main points, then you have a paper that is in liquid form. However, with the right ingredients, you can transform the paper into a solid piece of work.

First Ingredient: Thesis

The first ingredient is always the thesis. If you already have a thesis, then think about your reader, what you want your reader to take from the experience. Say this aloud: By the time I finish, my reader should know. . . . Now name three things the reader will know after reading your paper. This is your thesis. This exercise is similar to setting objectives to complete the work.

Second Ingredient: Structure

The second ingredients involve structure and organization. You can correct a disorganized structure by developing an outline. As you name the three things, these three things will become the topic sentences of your paragraphs. You may elect to have three paragraphs or each topic sentence may have two paragraphs. It doesn’t matter which method you choose, just remember to use these three sentences to maintain the structure and organization of the essay. By adopting this method, you will help to stabilize your ideas.

Third Ingredient: Evidence

The third ingredient is evidence. Each time you make a statement, you must support the statement by incorporating in-text evidence. Always remember that you are not the original writer of the text you are analyzing. Whether you decide to inform or persuade your audience or do both, your initial objective is to always prove your thesis. The way that you prove your thesis is by including evidence and facts and incorporating quotes from the author’s work.

Fourth Ingredient: Conclusion

The last ingredient is the conclusion. The conclusion represents an observer’s point-of-view about the subject you are discussing. Once you have finished writing the paper (its introduction and body), organizing it, and proving the thesis, then use the conclusion to add a brief summary of all the ideas you have expressed within the paper. You may also use this last section of the paper as an extended discussion to examine much of the implications of the ideas. Always think about the larger implications of relationships and ideas, and their impact on society and other types of relationships.

There are many more ingredients that involve quotes and examples, but these are not necessary to include here. The ingredients above represent the foundation, the elements needed to turn a less than stable paper back into a solid form. Therefore, when you receive the comment “Solid,” your paper embodies these ingredients. You have structured it well. It isn’t liquid in the sense that it doesn’t deviate or contradict itself . It isn’t liquid and it doesn’t deviate or contradict itself.

For an extended explanation, see also the comment “Fluid.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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