Posts Tagged ‘metaphor’

02
Feb

How To Improve Your Writing

Whether you’re pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, an academic writer, a marketer, or a blogger, few things are more important to your future than polishing your skills as a writer. A verbal pitch can go a long way, but at some point you’re going to have to put your ideas onto paper, or word document, and that’s when a project can get cumbersome. Even the process of corresponding with businesses or corporate financial entities becomes more fluid when you possess solid writing skills. If you’re applying for a Discover student loan, for instance, and you craft a compelling letter to the Executive Account Manager, your chances of success rise significantly higher. With that said, here are few time-weathered strategies for improving your written content:

Organize and outline. Do not start writing until you have a solid outline. This doesn’t just mean a few phrases scribbled in haste. Your outline should act as a guide to every section of your missive. Not only do you want a beginning, middle, and end to the content as a whole, you should work to build in beginnings, middles, and ends, to each individual section as well. This will keep your post feeling organized and on-point. Many papers, blogs and marketing copy go awry because they are disorganized, and because the author didn’t work off of a solid outline. You wouldn’t start building a tower without a blueprint, would you?

Have a thesis, and several sub-theses. Your paper, blog, pitch, or story should have an overall thesis that you are working toward illustrating. All of your points and examples should be supporting this central thesis. You should also have several smaller theses that back up the main one in different ways. If you’re writing a blog post or marketing pitch, your ‘headers’ would be your sub-theses. They are their own points, but work to affirm aspects of your overall point.

Write clearly, concisely, and powerfully. These are three characteristics that are hard to combine. Many people would think that if you write clearly and concisely, you can’t also write powerfully. But writing powerfully doesn’t mean using obtuse metaphors or stringing together Faulkner-like sentences that leave your readers feeling bewildered. Writing powerfully requires that you be clear and concise. Use adjectives sparingly. Be economical with page space. Don’t compare patently human endeavors with poetic cosmic cycles too often.

Being a good writer doesn’t require that you memorize the dictionary or try in vain to imitate classic authors. Being a good writer means scribing in an organized, concise, purpose-driven manner. You must treat the act of writing as craft, with structural components that you constantly work to improve upon.

By Jennifer Smith

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19
Aug

How to Outline English Papers

As stated by “REA’s Handbook of English Grammar, Style, and Writing,” proceeding without an outline is like navigating a new city without a map. Unfortunately, most students new to essay writing are unfamiliar with how to outline an English paper. Students who neglect to use an outline often produce rambling, Faulkner-esque essays. Taking an hour to gather your thoughts and write an outline can save time writing the essay and lead to a better grade.

Acquaint yourself with an outline template. The Owl at Purdue states that most outlines use Roman numerals for essay sections (introduction, main points and conclusion) and, in descending order of specificity with indentations, capitalized letters, Arabic numerals and lowercase letters.

Start with the introduction. Include a fact or statistic to introduce the essay, or include background information on the issue or author discussed. At this stage in the writing process, listing the specific quote or tidbit of information is not necessary. Simply note its inclusion in the outline. State your thesis and list the three main points of the essay.

Outline the first theme of the essay in two or three words. For example, write “capitalism” if the topic of your paper is discussing themes of Ayn Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged.” List (as Arabic numerals within the template) three or more ways the book supports this theme, like “Dagney Taggart’s refusal of government assistance.” Because you will elaborate on these points upon writing the essay, keep the outline’s description of these points to one sentence. Repeat this process for the other two themes.

Gather supporting information. Go to the library, search the Internet or use your textbook to find credible sources that support your points. Color-code your themes to make the process easier: delegate one theme, “capitalism” in yellow, “individualism” in green and “objectivism” in blue. For all supporting quotes or page numbers, highlight it in a color that matches the theme to which it corresponds for easier reference.

On the outline, determine which point should be bolstered with the sources found. For example, the book’s metaphor for socialism found in the passage describing moldy government-subsidized soybeans would be placed in the theme, “capitalism” under the point, “Government failures.” Under this point (as a lower-case letter within the template), write the page number of the passage or write a short description of the source.

Write points for the conclusion. Dirk Siepmann, author of the book “Writing in English,” recommends using the conclusion to express outcomes of the issues discussed in the essay and give statements regarding open ends and unanswered questions.

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21
Jun

How to Write a Rebuttal Essay

How to Write a Rebuttal Essay. Papers usually have rebuttals. In writing an essay, you usually do not simply lay down your arguments. You also have to address the criticisms against your thesis. A statement that seeks to counter opposing claims against your arguments is called a rebuttal. A rebuttal generally attempts to weaken the counter-arguments by showing that they are unacceptable, insignificant, or even absurd. Here are some tips on how to write a rebuttal in your essay.

  • By use of appeal to reason. A typical way of refuting an opposition to your argument is by showing the fallacies committed by the opposition. Logical fallacies are statements that are false by virtue of the principle of “non sequitur” or, literally, “it does not follow”. For example, you may want to say that “just because X is true does not necessarily follow that Y is also true”. A more concrete example is the statement “just because the ground is wet does not mean that it rained”.
  • By use of appeal to emotion. This method is typically used when you want to get the feelings of your reader to side with your argument. More commonly, it is done by getting the sympathy of your reader. A classic example is the use of pathos.
  • By use of analogies or metaphors. An analogy is like a way of comparing two entirely different things. On the other hand, a metaphor is an expression that refers to something that it does not literally denote so as to suggest a similarity. In your rebuttal, you may compare the opposing to claim to something else in order to show why it is unacceptable or absurd. For example, if your thesis is that “euthanasia should be made legal” and if the opposing claim is that “many people actually believe that euthanasia is immoral, thus euthanasia should not be legalized”, you may provide an analogy by stating that “many people also believe that the atom is the smallest particle in the universe, but certainly we know this to be absurd because beliefs are not objective facts, and beliefs have no place in an objective analysis”.

These are just some of the ways in writing a rebuttal in your essay. You should remember that the aim of a rebuttal is to overcome the challenges against your claim. It is important to anticipate what possible objections can be raised so that you will be prepared to write your rebuttal statements.

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