Archive for category O

On the Right Path

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Analysis vs. Plot Summary)

For an explanation, see “Right” and/or “Right/On the Right Path.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Omit

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Analysis vs. Plot Summary)

To omit something is two-part: 1) you “omit” when you neglect or fail to do something and 2) you “omit” when your professor specifically tells you to leave certain elements out of your paper.

In terms of the first example, your professor expects you to understand and follow the guidelines he or she sets for the course in terms of writing and submitting papers. If your professor wants you to incorporate three sources within the analysis of your paper, don’t just incorporate two. You have not completed the assignment. If your professors outline the requirements fully and you decide to do the opposite of what they require, then they can rightfully accuse you of omitting certain elements from your paper. They have the right also to give you what you deserve in terms of applying a lower grade to the paper.

In terms of the second example, there will be times when your professor wants you to omit something from your paper because that particular idea is unnecessary and has no significance to the direction of the class. For example, oftentimes your professor will tell you to leave something out because the thing has no relevance to another thing, subject, or author’s viewpoints. Specifically, your professor is telling you to leave something out because if you don’t remove it, it will distract the reader from the more important points that he or she needs to understand about the subject.

Therefore, don’t view “Omit” as a bad thing. Just know that your professor is cultivating your writing ability by defining your skills and helping you to choose the best pieces of information to include in your papers so the topic you are discussing reflects a balanced and concise view.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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O.K. (Okay)

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Analysis vs. Plot Summary)

This is an affirmative reply.

This comment can mean one of two things, or both, depending upon the requirements of the professor and what he or she wants you to know as a requirement of the whole course. 1) The professor may comment that the whole paper is okay, making a reference to a statement of purpose in preparation for the final paper. 2) The professor may comment that a particular example you provide is not quite where it needs to be in terms of clarity, but it is “O.K.”

If “okay” is in reference to satisfactory, then you haven’t tried as hard as you know you can. Satisfactory always means you need to allow more time to read, take notes, and ask questions. Your essays are a reflection of how hard you really have worked. If you don’t work hard, then the professor will know it; and sometimes your lack of effort will warrant “O.K.”

In terms of the second, the use of “O.K.” always depends upon the mood of your professor and whether or not you have adhered to course requirements. You can never really know what a professor is thinking all the time. Think about how you respond with “okay” to someone.  Sometimes you feel good when you say it; but then there are days you just use “okay” because you don’t have anything else to say.

To go into depth here will reflect only a generalization.  Therefore, because “okay” is typically subjective, always ask your professor what he or she means by this comment. Then, start from there.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Off the Subject

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Analysis vs. Plot Summary)

The best way to explain “Off the Subject” is to paint the picture of a presentation speaker beginning with one topic and rambling and venturing off into another arena of another topic. Of course, this is the simplest way of explaining this comment. This type of scenario doesn’t cause you to exercise any real intellectual muscles, because you have experienced this some time in your own academic lives. You typically say about a speaker confused with regard to his subject matter, “What in the world is he talking about?” Therefore, I don’t really need to add more explanation to this scenario to make my point.

On the other hand, I do feel the need to provide a definition of what it means to be both on subject and off subject at the same time. For example, if the subject matter is about Labrador Retrievers, particularly about how nice and happy they are as dogs, and you incorporate a different dog into the discussion, you are still on the subject of “dogs.” However, you have changed the discussion to include another type of dog that may or may not be nice.

Where you get off subject is when you venture into a discussion about pit bulls or about police dogs. If you want to include a discussion about all dogs that are also nice, then a discussion about Labrador Retrievers will represent one of many topic areas. Remember you can’t ignore “general view.” Most people know about pit bulls and police dogs and they know that these are dogs are not typically “nice.”In other words, what do pit bulls and police dogs have to do with the subject that all dogs are nice? This is the question you have to ask yourself as you write about a subject.

You have to know how one thing relates to another. If there is no relation, then don’t use the example. In many cases, you may have to leave off some examples that you want to use in your paper, or you may have to change the thesis by leaving off the “all” altogether. Therefore, make certain you understand what it is you want to discuss within your papers.

Visualize John getting off the train before he gets to his final destination. Instead of practicing patience, he jumps off the train. When he jumps off, he finds out that he doesn’t know where he is. As long as he hasn’t veered too far off the path, the only thing he knows to do is stay close to the place of his fall. If he stays close, he will remember the direction in which the train was traveling.However, if he tries to find another path, because of his impatience, he might get lost; and he is unlikely to remember the direction of the train.

With this in mind, stay on the subject in the same way that you would stay on a train by remembering your purpose for writing the paper. Your thesis is the guiding lamp for your paper. Similar to a train conductor, let your thesis guide you. If you construct a clear thesis, then you will stay on subject.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Overdependence on Quotes

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

Professors never appreciate when students flood their papers with half-page quotes. In addition, professors also don’t appreciate when students have a quote, or more than one quote, on each page of their papers; or when a student uses a quote to make a point instead of starting out a paragraph with his or her own words.

The purpose of analysis is to think critically about the subject before you, not to depend solely on what the author presents to you as the only truth. When you incorporate so many quotes from the author’s work, the reader and your professor cannot and do not hear your voice, what you think concerning the author’s views about dogs and their niceness. Do you have an opinion? What is it? What is your opinion in relation to the authors’?

As a revision objective, always prepare the reader for an incoming quote by incorporating your own words first, your thoughts about the subject. Remember that the quotes you incorporate within the paper only need to function as a complement to what you have discussed already; they need to confirm your own thoughts, not supplant them. This is your paper. You do have a right to an opinion. Make it.

For an extended explanation, see also the comments “Introduce the Quote,” “Explicate the Quote,” and “Analyze This.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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