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Tips on conciseness - October 11th 2011, 10:19 AM

I can't write a concise essay I've written two in the last about ten days and in both I take about 70 words to get my point across, but I suck at coming up with a concisse way of saying what I mean Any tips on how to go about ctting out all the reiteration would be really appreciated.

(an example of me trying to make my point, from an essay about The Road)

Once the scene has been set, McCarthy uses dialogue between the boy and the man to tell the reader how the man regards the house. The line he uses to do this is “Don’t you want to see where I used to live?” However, in typical McCarthy style, he does not tell us how the man posed the question, so his emotions at that moment are open to interpretation. If read, for instance, with the stress on the word “you”, the dominant emotion could be confusion: the man might not appreciate or understand why the boy does not share his curiosity about the house. Conversely, if the stress is placed on “want” then the tone becomes one of exasperation, with the man getting frustrated at the boy’s continual reluctance to enter the buildings that they encounter. Either way, the boys not wanting to go in acts as the opposite of the man; though it is not stated outright, it is implied through this line that the man does want to see where he used to live.

I'm pretty sure I made the same point about three times over in that


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Re: Tips on conciseness - October 11th 2011, 08:15 PM

The first thing with every essay is to ensure you have proper spelling and grammar. Assuming the rest of the essay has similar grammar and spelling as the excerpt, if I were marking it, you'd have no chance of getting within the 90% range, maximum of around 80%. It also doesn't hurt to use a large vocabulary to demonstrate you're smart. If I were marking the essay and you used simple, overly repetitive terms, I won't be impressed as it shows you've learned diddly shit from the course, so again, your mark is going to go down. I cant say if that's true for your essay since you only gave an excerpt but if I were marking, you've no chance at getting above 70-75% UNLESS (note the capitalization) your interpretation is outstanding, in which case you'd definitely get within the high-80%, low 90% range.
However, that's not the focus of your concern so I'll leave it at that.

There's a difference between repeating one's argument numerous times and stating it once or twice but provide several examples. In an essay, regardless whether it is for high-school or university, you want to not only follow your main point(s), you also want to repeat them and provide additional evidence for them. Ideally, try to write as though the reader hasn't read the book but use sophisticated language because it's always fair to assume the reader is intelligent. This is limited by the amount of words you're allowed to use.

From the excerpt, I can tell what your main point is: the author's intentional usage of ambiguous dialogue effectively captures salient emotions of a particular scene, such as confusion, in order for the reader to feel as though the content is present-day reality (your point). This is emphasized by symbolic representation of the novel's title of a road, or a path to one's destiny with some bumps and curves along the way. The conflicting interests of the man and the boy are represented as a cross-road (nifty point I made up).

A key strategy that I use in my research papers is to ensure the first sentence of each paragraph summarizes the information within so the reader can easily understand. That is, if my first sentence of a paragraph describes something of the man's dialogue, I'm not going to have the rest of the paragraph focus on something else from the boy's dialogue. The expectation is I'll write about the man's dialogue, so the informational flow becomes inconsistent and the reader is confused. The content about the boy's dialogue may be very useful and brilliant but it cannot be slopped together. Take this very paragraph as an example, my first sentence has roughly summarized what I'll say through it. The author has effective metaphorical usage with the title. You may scratch your head in confusion and rightfully so since the previous sentence does not fit with the first sentence, which is typical when you have a slew of ideas but they're jumbled up in the essay or paragraph.


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Re: Tips on conciseness - October 14th 2011, 01:32 PM

Parsimony.



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