Users of Lynx and disabled readers can jump directly to page content with this link. How To Write An Essay Part 8 – Examples of Good and Bad Writing Learning how to write an formal essay write often works best by example. The following are excerpts from nine first-year student essays.
Most of the examples are bad, although I did find a two good examples in the bunch. Good Examples Smith was a religious, Christian man. His notion of monads included contextual references to God. He believed that God controls the harmony of life through these monads. The essay then goes on to discuss these monads in a Christian context. Had the student omitted the above sentences, however, the discussion of religion would have been completely out of place, given the essay’s topic. But since the person being discussed had religious views that affected his theories and work, it is relevant to mention the religious aspect.
Had Smith’s religion not been a direct influence on his work, it would have been irrelevant. Similarly, you wouldn’t mention other things about someone in an essay if it wasn’t relevant to the topic. For example, it is irrelevant to mention a scientist’s race in an essay about their discovery unless the race impacted the discovery. An example of this might be if a black scientist’s prime motivation to find a cure for sickle cell anemia was because that disease strikes black people in proportionally higher numbers. On March 4, 1849, John Smith was born to Anna Bradcock Smith and James Smith. Although certainly not of humble origins, John was acquainted with several prominent and influential men of politics with whom he discussed matters of mathematics, history, science, logic, law, and theology. Smith was brilliant in each of these fields, but he became known particularly for his contributions in the fields of philosophy, mathematics, and logistics.
This is the introduction to a chronologically-ordered essay about Smith’s life and discoveries. As such, the choice to begin with his date of birth is a good one. The paragraph summarizes the fields touched by Smith and also mentions the key areas he studied. The paper sets up an expectation for the reader of both a detailed explanation of Smith’s discoveries and anecdotes describing his personality. The sentence structure is grammatically sound and flows well. Bad Examples Bad Grammar In the late 1650’s, Smith’s mother returned to London, she then pulled him out of school with the intent to make him a farmer. Apostrophes indicate possessiveness or contractions, not plurality.
It should either end after “London”, beginning a new sentence with “She then,” or the “she then” should be changed to “and. To make someone a farmer is to create a farmer for them. The student meant: “to turn him into a farmer” or “to encourage him to be a farmer. Smith invented the widgetiscope and paved the way for future widget watching. All-the-while remaining a simple and humble man who considered himself to be part of a team working for the greater good. The bolded part is not a complete sentence. The entire thing should be one sentence.
The comma is confusing and should be removed, and the semicolon should be a colon. Awkward Wording Another of Smith’s ideas was the method of differentiation. The university re-opened after the plague in 1667. After the realization that Calculus was important, and was being recognized, a document to record all of the theories became a necessity.
This so-called paragraph is an utter mess. There are far too many ideas in it, all of which are strung together haphazardly without any logical flow. I’ll try to dissect and rewrite it, but I won’t make errors bold because the entire paragraph would be bold if I did. Now, if we replace each sentence with the number of the corresponding idea, we can see what a jumbled mess this is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3. Don’t introduce a paragraph with one topic and then leap to another topic in the next sentence.