Truncated Statement

Don’t you hate it when you are cut off from your phone connection, or from your Internet connection, or from a conversation? Noone likes to feel “cut off,” or disconnected, especially when one of the two people wants to really talk, even if it is about nothing. When someone is disconnected by no fault of his or her own, that person experiences frustration, anxiety, and a loss of some sense of power.

When you abruptly end a thought within your paper, you create a “truncated statement.” You leave out vital information for both the reader and the professor. For example, readers don’t always know what they need to know until you tell them. It is up to you as the writer to provide information necessary for readers to understand the literary work.

When you leave out information, readers immediately sense that something is not present and begin to question what the missing something is. They feel disconnected. To solve this problem, they begin to fill in what they think are gaps in your analysis. In other words, they make assumptions based upon what you have written. Without your guidance, they leave your paper with a wrong understanding of the author’s work. They leave without any direction.

The experience for the professor is different. When your professor reads your paper and arrives at a truncated statement or a paragraph, he feels frustrated, because he knows “what” will fit to turn the truncated statement into a complete thought. The professor feels frustrated because he knows you did not plan well. For example, as the professor reads your paper, he examines your analysis as an expert on the subject. The professor can just about guess every time what you are going to say (write) for each paragraph and what kind of connections you will need to make. In other words, the professor knows the field, the author, and the literary work.

When you leave a statement without any warning or notice that you are about to do so, you leave your professor with the option of concluding what you should have written based upon adopted practices. When the professor must conclude, which means he figuratively writes the paper for you, then he also must lower your grade. In other words, the professor is not in the business of writing your paper. The goal of the professor is to teach you about a period, author, literary work, and critical views, not also to write your paper.

The best solution to correcting a truncated statement is to apply the technique of “follow-through.” What this means is after you have incorporated a quote, you must follow through and evaluate the quote. Your statements after the quote represent follow-through. If you include additional ideas within your evaluation statements, then you must also follow through and provide as much information necessary to complete the thought or your introduction of the ideas.

Although it is up to you to determine how much information will complete a thought, a particular perspective, you can do this simply by answering who, what, when, where, how, and in what way. Once you have answered these basic foundational questions concerning the text, then every statement after these represent follow-through.

For extended explanations, see also the comments “Elaborate” and “Follow-Up/Follow-Through (Good/Perfect).”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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