Define your purpose for writing. Think about why you are writing an expository essay. Jot down some of the reasons why you are writing an expository essay and what you hope to do with your finished essay. [Two]
If you are writing an expository essay for an assignment, read the assignment guidelines. Ask your instructor if anything seems unclear.
Consider your audience. Think about who will be reading your expository essay. Consider the needs and expectations of your readers before your begin writing. Jot down some of the things that you will need to keep in mind about your readers as you write your expository essay. [Trio]
If you are writing your essay for a class assignment, consider what your instructor will expect you to include in your essay.
Generate ideas for your expository essay. Before you begin writing your essay, you should take some time to skin out your ideas and get some things down on paper. Invention activities like listing, freewriting, clustering, and questioning can help you to develop ideas for your expository essay. [Four]
Attempt listing. List all your ideas for your expository essay. Then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity. [Five]
Attempt freewriting. Write nonstop for about Ten minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. After you finish writing, review what you have written. Highlight or underline the most useful information for your expository essay. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a kicking off point. You can repeat this exercise many times to proceed to refine and develop your ideas. 
Attempt clustering. Write a brief explanation of the subject of your expository essay on the center of a chunk of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Proceed developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can. 
Attempt questioning. On a lump of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. React to each question in as much detail as you can. 
Make an outline. Once you have gotten some of your ideas on paper, you may want to organize those ideas into an outline before you begin drafting your essay. You can Write an Essay Outline to plan out your entire essay, develop more ideas, and figure out if you have forgotten anything. 
Find suitable sources. See your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor if you have questions about what types of sources are adequate for this assignment. Books, articles from scholarly journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and trustworthy websites are some sources that you might consider using. [Ten]
Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility before you determine to use them. There are several things that you will need to consider in order to determine whether or not a source is trustworthy. 
Identify the author and his or her credentials. Think about what qualifies this person to write about their subject. If the source has no author or the author does not have adequate credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy. 
Check for citations to see if this author has researched the topic well enough. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. 
Look for bias. Think about whether or not this author has introduced an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. If the author seems biased, then this source may not be trustworthy. 
Consider the publication date to see if this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. 
Cross-check some of the information in the source. If you are still worried about a source, cross check some of its information against a trustworthy source. 
Read your sources well. Make sure that you understand what the author is telling. Take time to look up words and concepts that you do not understand. Otherwise, you might end up misreading and misusing your sources.
Take notes while your read your sources. Highlight and underline significant passages so that you can come back to them. As you read, take note of significant information in your sources by jotting the information down in a notebook. 
Showcase when you have quoted a source word for word by putting it into quotation marks. Include information about the source such as the author’s name, article title or book title, and page number.
Write down the publishing information of each source. You will need this information for your “References,” “Bibliography,” or “Works Cited” pages. Format this page according to your instructor’s guidelines.
Develop your tentative thesis. Effective thesis statements express the main concentrate of a paper and state an arguable claim. A thesis should not be more than one sentence in length. [Legitimate] [Nineteen]
Make sure your thesis is arguable. Do not state facts or matters of taste. For example, “George Washington was the very first president of the United States,” is not a good thesis because it states a fact. Likewise, “Die Hard is a fine movie,” is not a good thesis because it voices a matter of taste. 
Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In other words, avoid just telling that something is “good” or “effective.” Instead, say what makes something “good” or “effective. 
Begin with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic. Your introduction should instantaneously begin discussing your topic. Think about what you will discuss in your essay to help you determine what you should include in your introduction. Keep in mind that your introduction should identify the main idea of your expository essay and act as a preview to your essay. 
Provide context. Provide enough background information or context to guide your readers through your essay. Think about what your readers will need to know to understand the rest of your essay. Provide this information in your very first paragraph. 
If you are writing about a book, provide the name of the work, the author, and a brief summary of the plot.
If you are writing about a specific day in history, summarize the day’s events. Then, explain how it fits into a broader historical scope.
If you are writing about a person, name the person and provide a brief biography.
Keep in mind that your context should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything your reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about. Then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.
Provide your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be a single sentence that voices your main argument. 
Determine how many paragraphs to include. The most common length for an expository essay is five-paragraphs, but an expository essay can be longer than that. Refer to your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor if you are uncertain about the required length of your paper.
A five-paragraph essay should include three figure paragraphs. Each assets paragraph should discuss a lump of supporting evidence that supports your thesis. 
Even if your essay is longer than five paragraphs, the same principles still apply. Each paragraph should discuss a chunk of supporting evidence.
Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. The topic sentence introduces the main idea of the paragraph. It should introduce one lump of supporting evidence that supports your thesis.
For example, if you are writing an expository essay about the use of dogs in the US Marine Corps during WWII, your main ideas and topic sentences could be something like:
“Dogs played an active role in Marine Corps missions in the Pacific.”
“The Doberman Pinscher was the official dog of the US Marine Corps during WWII, but all breeds were eligible to train as war dogs.”
“War dogs were even eligible to receive military awards for their service.”
Elaborate on your supporting evidence. After you have stated your topic sentence, provide specific evidence from your research to support it. Suggest a fresh lump of evidence for every bod paragraph in your essay. 
Most of your evidence should be in the form of cited quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from your research.
Your evidence could also come from interviews, anecdotes, or private practice.
Attempt to provide at least two to three chunks of evidence to support each of your claims.
For example, if a paragraph starts with, “War dogs were even eligible to receive military awards for their service,” the supporting evidence might be a list of dogs who got awards and the awards they were given.
Analyze the significance of each chunk of evidence. Explain how the evidence you have provided in that paragraph connects to your thesis. Write a sentence or two for each chunk of evidence. Consider what your readers will need to know as you explain these connections. 
Conclude and transition into your next paragraph. Each paragraph should transition into the next. The conclusion of each figure paragraph should sum up your main point while displaying how it works with your next point. 
For example, imagine that you want to connect two paragraphs that begin with these sentences: “The Doberman Pinscher was the official dog of the US Marine Corps during WWII, but all breeds could train as war dogs.” And, “War dogs were, in fact, eligible to receive military awards for their service.” Your concluding sentence would need to combine the idea of dog breeds with the idea of dogs receiving military awards.
You could write, “Even however Dobermans were the most common breed used in WWII, they were not the only breed, and were not the only dogs recognized for their help.”
Part Four of Four: Concluding Your Essay Edit
Restate and rephrase your thesis. The very first sentence of your concluding paragraph should restate your thesis. But you should not just restate your thesis. You should also say what the evidence you have provided has added to your thesis.  
For example, if your original thesis was, “Dogs used by the United States Marine Corps during WWII played a significant role in the Pacific theater,” then your restated thesis might be something like, “Dogs of all breeds and sizes had an significant and honored role to play in WWII, especially in the Pacific theater.”
Note that the 2nd sentence repeats the information provided in your original thesis. It just says it in a fresh way while also hinting at the information you included in the bod of the essay.
Summarize and review your main ideas. Take one sentence to summarize each main chunk of supporting evidence, as introduced in your essay’s assets. You should not introduce any fresh information in your conclusion. Revisit your most compelling claims and discuss how they all support your main point. 
Suggest a final thought or call to activity. Use your last sentence to make a final statement about your topic. This last part of your final paragraph is your chance to say what should happen next. You can suggest a solution or ask a fresh question about your topic. 
Explain how the topic affects the reader
Explain how your narrow topic applies to a broader theme or observation
Call the reader to activity or further exploration on the topic
Present fresh questions that your essay introduced
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Astronomers at Caltech believe they’ve found an ice giant out beyond Neptune. Credit Illustration by Aleks Sennwald
Very shortly some years ago, Mike Brown discovered the tenth planet in the solar system. This was in 2005; Brown, an astronomer at Caltech, had spotted an object that officially became known as Eris (he preferred the nickname Xena). Eris was about as big as Pluto, which was still a planet back then, and it orbited the sun at a distance almost three times greater. But the existence of Eris raised troubling questions, such as: What’s a planet, exactly? And if Eris is a planet, why not also various other petite spheres that orbit the sun? In the end, the International Astronomical Union categorized Eris as a dwarf planet—a polite phrase for “not a planet at all”—and, with Brown’s encouragement, Pluto was demoted, too. Instead of ten planets. the solar system now had eight. Brown still gets letters and late-night obscene calls from people who miss having a ninth planet, but he has no regrets. (In 2010, he wrote a book called “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.”) Last week he told me, “When all this happened, ten years ago, people would say, ‘Are there any other planets out there?’ And I would say, ‘Nope, that’s it. There are just eight planets, and we’ll never have any more.’ «
Brown now thinks he was wrong. Today, in The Astronomical Journal, Brown and his colleague Konstantin Batygin have published a paper with the title “Evidence for a Distant Giant Planet in the Solar System ,” in which they make a persuasive case that there actually is a ninth planet out there. They have not observed it directly, only inferred its presence from the behavior of a handful of faraway objects, which have been caught in its gravitational sway. After more than a year of watching, calculating, and conducting computer simulations, Brown and Batygin write, “We motivate the existence of a distant, eccentric perturber.”
As best they can determine, the perturber is perhaps ten times more massive than Earth, or toughly half as massive as Neptune, and it is very distant indeed. It goes after an eccentric orbit, meaning one that is more elliptical than circular, and comes no closer to the sun than about two hundred and fifty astronomical units. (An astronomical unit is the distance from the sun to Earth, or ninety-three million miles. Jupiter is harshly five astronomical units from the sun, and Pluto averages almost forty.) At its farthest, the fresh planet is inbetween six hundred and twelve hundred astronomical units away; if the sun were on Fifth Avenue and Earth were one block west, Jupiter would be on the West Side Highway, Pluto would be in Montclair, Fresh Jersey, and the fresh planet would be somewhere near Cleveland. It takes inbetween twelve and twenty thousand years to go once around the sun. It is an ice giant, a lonely wanderer and the gravitational hooligan of the outer solar system. Brown and Batygin call it Planet Nine, and Jehoshaphat, and George. “We actually call it Fatty when we’re just talking to each other,” Brown said.
Brown acknowledged that the history of astronomy is riddled with false hopes. Urbain Le Verrier, the French mathematician who correctly predicted the existence of Neptune, in 1846, also predicted the existence of a planet orbiting inbetween the sun and Mercury. He called it Vulcan, and it turned out not to exist. Every few years, someone announces the discovery of Planet X, some large object that Galileo and four centuries of his descendants missed, only to retract it. “If somebody proposed this—if I picked up a newspaper and read a headline—my very first reaction would be, Oh my God, these guys are crazy,” Brown said of his and Batygin’s finding. “But if somebody then looked at the evidence, they’d have a hard time disagreeing that the evidence is there.”
Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and one of the few scientists who knew in advance of the paper, said, “It’s a very solid dynamical analysis. It’s top-notch. If anybody else was making this claim, you’d have to discount it to, at best, a one-per-cent chance of being there. But the combination of Mike Brown, who has a truly solid observational sense of what’s out there, and Konstantin’s theoretical brilliance—if it’s out there, they’ve found it.” Alessandro Morbidelli, an astronomer and planetary scientist at the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, in Nice, France, and a referee for TheAstronomical Journal. said, “This paper for the very first time gives a smoking gun for the existence of an extra planet.”
The possibility of Planet Nine illustrates just how much our skill of the solar system has expanded in latest decades. In 1992, astronomers observed the very first evidence of the Kuiper Belt, a population of icy objects—more than a thousand, at latest count—orbiting the sun at a distance of inbetween thirty and fifty astronomical units. That same year, astrophysicists began planning a mission to Pluto (technically a Kuiper member itself). By the time the spacecraft, eventually called Fresh Horizons. arrived at its destination, last July, Pluto was less an ending than a beginning. In the interim, Brown and his colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz had spotted Sedna, a petite, icy object with an eccentric orbit well outside the Kuiper Belt; it comes no closer to the sun than seventy-six astronomical units and, at its farthest, strays more than nine hundred astronomical units away. “The very very first clue that something else was out there was our discovery of Sedna,” Brown said. “That was the very first object that didn’t fairly fit any of the existing categories.”
Sedna is typically referred to as an extreme Kuiper Belt object, albeit Brown has also placed it in the Oort Cloud, another reservoir of icy scraps, which is thought to occupy the utmost edges of the solar system. Several other objects like it have since emerged, with license-plate names like 2012 VP113. which was discovered two years ago by Trujillo and his colleague Scott Shepard. (They nicknamed it “Biden.”) Such objects spend so much of their time so far away that only a few are visible during our lifetime. Of those that have been seen, however, what is remarkable is how closely their orbits align. Draw the solar system as you might view it from the top down—that is, perpendicular to the ecliptic, the plane on which the planets orbit. Neptune and all the planets within its orbit fit in a puny circle; Sedna and the other extreme Kuiper Belt objects fan out to one side, their near poles overlapping. View the solar system from the side and it’s clear that Sedna and its kin share their own ecliptic, tilted at an odd angle from, and crossing, the main one. In their 2014 paper, Trujillo and Shepard noted that the similar orbits of these objects suggest «that an unknown massive perturbing assets may be shepherding these objects into these similar orbital configurations.”
A little-noted fact about planets, and one inherent to their definition, is that they do stuff: they have sufficient mass and gravity to affect other objects in the solar system. As Brown and Batygin began to look more closely at the alignment of Sedna, 2012 VP113. and the rest, they, too, began to think that a larger organizing force might be at work. “We commenced scraping our goes,” Brown said. “And after a long analysis, a year and a half of back-and-forth, we realized that the response is—and we can’t come up with any other answer—that there’s a giant planet that is sculpting the orbits of these objects, forcing these objects into this one particular location. This one giant planet that’s very far away, in the very distant part of the solar system.” The probability that the alignment occurred randomly, they calculated, was 0.007 per cent. “That’s not exactly a good gamble,” Batygin said.
At very first, the pair envisaged a planet whose orbit encircled Sedna and the aligned objects, as a shepherd might its flock. (Astronomers refer to this model as “secular perturbation theory.”) But computer simulations made it clear that that arrangement didn’t explain the observable data. “We almost gave up,” Batygin said. Instead, they posited a more interventionist prime mover: a giant planet on an eccentric orbit that crosses the objects’ orbits but is aligned against them, sending the planet far off in the opposite direction. This arrangement, too, seemed too peculiar to be real. But it permitted for a prediction: if there truly was a planet with the size and orbit they had calculated, there should be a puny class of Kuiper Belt objects in its path that have been tilted on their sides. A quick search through the data sets of the Minor Planet Center, at Harvard University, exposed precisely these objects, located precisely where they should be.
Courtesy Caltech / R. Hurt (IPAC)
“I didn’t expect we’d be able to both make a prediction and, within five minutes, confirm our prediction,” Brown said. “This was the moment for me when I went from thinking, This is a joy project and, gee whiz, it might even be true, to thinking, Holy cow, I actually think there’s indeed a distant eccentric perturber, or Planet Nine, actually out there.”
I asked Brown whether “planet” was the right word for it. “It is a planet—there’s virtually no doubt,” he said. “What we now call planets are objects that can gravitationally predominate their neighborhood. Pluto is a sub to the gravitational influence of Neptune. By area, Planet Nine predominates more of the solar system than any other known planet—it’s only because of this that we can infer its existence. And because of this we’re pretty sure it’s not a puny object: it’s at least ten times more massive than Earth and five thousand times more massive than Pluto. In many ways, you could argue that this is more of a planet than anything else in the solar system.»
Beyond Neptune How astronomers found a faraway planet.
Brown and Batygin strongly suspect that Planet Nine is a relic of the earliest days of the solar system. In the beginning, more than four billion years ago, our sun was one of many starlets incubating in an interstellar nursery, a nebula of dust and gas. Eventually, all but one of the starlets wandered off, and when the very first planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—were forming, a residue of the nebula remained. At very first these planets were just cores of ice and rock, perhaps ten times the mass of Earth, but Jupiter and Saturn quickly grew into gas giants. But there were likely more than just four cores. Planet Nine may be a failed one; perhaps, early on, it ventured too close to the other planets and was threw by their gravity into the distant reaches of the solar system. “If it’s out there, it’s almost certain to be a fifth member of the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune quartet,” Laughlin said.
Ice giants like Planet Nine are prevalent via the galaxy; lacking such an object, our solar system had begun to seem anomalous. Brown and Batygin’s discovery switches that. “The most common type of planet in the universe is one we don’t know anything about, because we don’t have it in our solar system,” Brown said. «And yet we do have it—we just didn’t know it.” Laughlin said, “If it’s truly out there, it’s an enormous big deal. It’s a world that is fundamentally unlike any we have for close-up inspection, but very representative of the kind that galaxies are very good at making.”
Of course, no one has seen it yet. “I do actually think this will be found in, I hope, under five years,” Brown said. “No matter where it is in its orbit, it’s within range of telescopes on Earth.” If Planet Nine is near its closest treatment to the sun, it would be faintly visible with many fledgling telescopes—but it also likely would have been discovered by now. At its farthest, only one or two telescopes, including the Subaru Telescope, on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, are capable of eyeing it. One reason for publishing the paper, Brown said, was to attempt to speed the planet’s discovery. “We’re handing people a treasure map and telling, ‘Go look here,’ so I think there will be a lot of people searching. The probability that we’re the ones who find it isn’t high. I’m a little sad about that; I’d love to be the one that detects that. At same time, I just … I want to see it. I want to know it’s there.”
Brown told me that one of the most gratifying aspects of the project was his interchange with Batygin—wandering into each other’s offices, writing equations, drawing pictures, running simulations, pressing to bridge the gap inbetween theory and observation. “It’s been intense,” he said. “It’s been delightful. Sometimes he’s off somewhere and I sit here in my office thinking, like, When is he going to come in? When is he going to come in? Then as soon as he walks in, I go into his office and go blah blah blah, and he does the same thing to me. And … I think it all worked. I think we got it all figured out.”
On the day before the press announcement on Planet Nine, Laughlin told me that he was feeling jumpy. “I’m worried whether it’s out there,” he said. “This morning, I was having trouble focussing on the task at palm. My thoughts were being drawn to this massive, frigid object in the outer solar system that might or might not be there.” He added, “I believe there’s a 68.Three per cent chance that it’s there. That’s the ideal frustratingly plausible yet not-assured chance. It’s ideally tuned for maximum mystery and a heightened sense of possibility.” Do we not all feel the tug of some distant, eccentric perturber? Give it a name: God, mathematics, a parent, a child; the search for truth, or peace, or beauty. “We haven’t seen it,” Brown said of Planet Nine. “But we have felt it.”
Alan Burdick, a staff writer, joined The Fresh Yorker in 2012. He is the author, most recently, of “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation .”
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I am in my teenagers and had a very hard time at school in my junior years. My mother and counselor have helped me deal with it. All the kids I know have found their special talent but me. My English teacher gave us homework to write a poem. I have never written a poem in my life, but just maybe I have found my special thing. I’ve learned now when I’m sad or upset to sit down in quiet spot with a blank chunk of paper and just write things down until I feel better.
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Life is utter of regrets. Well lets say I was born to face all these horrible things and make all these mistakes but even today the question is why don’t we get caution signs so we can know.
Published on March 2014
A lump of colored paper, with no dialogue or animation, can strike a drawer’s or writer’s utter fascination.
When an extra mitt comes in contact, with a rectangle that is clear, as taping a pencil stresses, to think of an idea.
With so many different options, that might all be the same, when they are all put together, it could just have a name.
But if attempted a little firmer, to think of what to write, then just maybe the page, won’t forever stay white.
A page can hold secrets, that many attempt to find, however will never be found, unless you use your mind.
It could have a certain type of meaning, that a teacher attempts to test, with switches here and there, so the students have no rest.
A page can be a canvas, to the drawers with a need, to take out their emotions, so their mind can be liberated.
But just one little mistake, just one little rip, ssrrcchh goes the canvas, one less picture for a fair.
A page can be a story, for writer determination, to inspire many children, with good imagination.
They can be about heroes, that have armor as shiny as the sun, that fight medieval dragons, until every deed is done.
Many people have trouble, when they are given the chance, it’s only for areas on, so your abilities can be enhance.
A blank sheet in front of you, is a good possible thing, if you just use your imagination, who knows what it will bring.
Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
Life is total of regrets. Well lets say I was born to face all these horrible things and make all these mistakes but even today the question is why don’t we get caution signs so we can know when there is danger. I’m only 20 but tears roll out on my cheeks every night because of the choices I’ve made. Well I regret them but regrets are reckless these days, my point is I wish I was too careful on time so I wouldn’t sob like I am today, bad choices affected my decisions but I will rise and embark over.
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Peer review scams: What can journals do to tackle this problem?
Peer review rigging—a growing concern for the scientific publishing system—has led journals to retract several hundereds of papers. Apart from discussions on whether authors should be permitted to suggest potential peer reviewers, experts have highlighted the need for a set of guidelines to resolve the issue of peer review rigging. How can journal editors identify whether an author is attempting to manipulate their peer review system? Do journals go after commonly accepted best practices? Read this article to find answers to these concerns.
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Essay writing is the most common requirement in schools and it can also be considered as the most challenging thing to do. The long years that all students have to bear in schools – six to seven years in elementary years, four years in high school and another four or more years in college. With all these years, it can be expected that a minimum of three essay writing activities will be tasked to each and every student. At least trice a year they have to be involved in writing an essay.
Students may be wondering, what do teachers get from providing students tons of essay writing assignments? There are different ways on how instructs can ask their students to write the essay.
It can be through:
1. Reflection paper/essay of certain phenomenon, current event or issue;
Two. Report or summary of a certain reading material;
Trio. Essay about the students’ personality, characters o views towards life and entire lot more.
It should be noted that teachers do not give essay writing tasks just for the sake of providing assignments to the students. They do this because:
Expert-Writing.Orgshows students’ understanding of the topic.
A two to three page essay towards one specific topic will already highlight how students perceive it and what they think about it. If the academic essay writing is about a particular reading material, then the teachers will be able to verify if the students indeed read the material and understood it. If it is about various phenomenon or current events, the essay writing activity will then display if the students are up-to-date with what is going on with the environment and how worried they are with what has been going on.
Essay writing reflects the students’ capability to write coherently and/or creatively.
With the varied topics that teachers use to give to each student, the students have to showcase their essay writing abilities: that they can write on each topic with much ease. They have to display that they know how to organize thoughts logically. The students must also showcase abilities in choosing the right thesis statements and decent use of words and sentences in every paragraph of the entire essay paper.
Aside from these all, students must showcase creativity in each stage of the process of writing an essay he/she has to pass. He/she must use imagination, put the pictures in mind into words and write it down in a creatively style.
Essay writing works demonstrate the students’ fluency in the use of English or any other language for that matter.
This is the very reason why writing an essay is truly a part of every English subject. Students of whatever nationality needs to demonstrate capabilities in using English comprehensibly. At the same time, they too need to demonstrate that they can use their own languages (e.g. Chinese, French, Japanese, Tagalog etc.) also in a coherent way, may it be in writing essays, reading or speaking.
Many ESL teachers also see to it to assign an essay writing work to the students almost every week so that the students can practice using the language spontaneously. Not only the use of words is being criticized but also the very construction of each sentences (the use of different tenses, the nouns and pronounce or even the most basic subject-verb agreement).
Free essay writing downloadable from the internet can be crucial to your grade and to your academic future.
From the above-shown standpoint, it should be realized that there are a lot of things at stake in a seemingly plain critical essay writing project. So no students should just disregard this. Every student has to take critical essay writing projects earnestly and put every effort they can master in submitting the works according to the teachers’ high standards. But how can the students do that? With all other projects and activities that they have to attend to everyday plus all the private and family matters that they must also take into consideration, it cannot be denied that critical essay writing projects or any other projects like narrative essay writing or argumentative essay writing are most of the time put in the last among the lists of things that must be done. In some instances, students would opt to do essay writing haphazardly, without providing utter attention to it. This is the reason why they flunk their grades in this particular project, and of course would also affect their overall ratings at the end of the semester.
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Saturday 13 October 2007 Ten.53 BST Very first published on Saturday 13 October 2007 Ten.53 BST
For anyone whose wellbeing depends on the daily arrival of what some people call snail-mail, the past two weeks’ postal strikes will have brought disquieting auguries of the future. Some people have very likely welcomed a respite from junkmail and bills, but there are thousands who will have been troubled by more painful absences – chiefly, the people who still write and receive letters, postcards and notelets, and cling to a cherished means of individual contact.
Earlier this week, the postal economist Ian Senior appeared on Radio Four and highlighted the likely effect of the strikes on this supposedly dwindling xxx. What he said was hardly revelatory, but sobering all the same: “Most people, once they have email, choose never to send a physical letter ever again, if they can avoid it. When there are no letters being posted and received, that will encourage those people who don’t have email to get it. That simply hastens the decline of the letter as a method of communication.”
Sharpening one’s understanding of all this is not effortless. For the past decade or so, the decline of individual letter-writing has been masked by a thick growth of junk mail, so annual falls in the total volume of letters have been a matter of increment. At the last count, the figure was down 1.6% year on year, however nosediving comes back from the letters market most likely said a excellent deal more: inbetween 2004-5 and 2005-6, Royal Mail’s profits from letters fell by a third.
To truly grip the decline of letter-writing, it’s most instructive to look at surveys of the youthfull. Those upstanding parents who still insist on thank-you letters may well be a dying breed: two years ago, a poll carried out by the Department for Education found that a third of 16- to 19-year-old women had never written a letter, while among boys, the figure was over a half. Anecdotal evidence surely completes the picture. When did you last write a decent letter to a close friend or family member? Where do you keep your Basildon Bond writing-paper and stock of envelopes?
If the letter truly is fading prompt, now might be a good time to chew over what we are about to lose. Out will go the epistolary novel. What will happen to righteous postal missives sent at the suggestion of Amnesty International, or angry screeds mailed to your MP? Whither old-school fanmail? Perhaps most importantly, what could ever substitute the soppy wonderment of the old-fashioned love letter? These thoughts underline why the practice of letter-writing may turn out to be a little more resilient than the figures suggest. Somewhat remarkably, we are evidently spending more on pens and stationery, so all may not be lost.
The advent of email – not to mention texting, instant messaging and social networking – has undoubtedly played much the fattest role in the fate of the letter, but the novelist AS Byatt traces its long-term decline a little further back. “I think the television has killed letter-writing just as much as email has,” she says. “In the Victorian era, letter-writing was what people did in their spare time, and then they read the letters to each other. In a way, it was the news, as much as anything. People would get these very long letters, and they’d know the writer expected the person to whom they had written to display it to the rest of the family. I don’t think that happens any more, except those round-robin things people write at Christmas. They’re the last ghost of all that.”
Largely in reaction to fanmail, Byatt still manages around five letters a week, however she is an enthusiastic convert to the brisk efficiency of email. Computer-based communication, she says, is “conversational without being intrusive”: preferable not just to letter-writing, but also the fear prospect of wasting time on the telephone.
There is only one problem: what her reliance on electronic communication will mean for her legacy. “I’ve been talking to the British Library, who are interested in my archive, but it’s not going to be effortless for them, because technology keeps switching,” she says. “Very often, they can’t read the computer material they’ve collected. They say that eventually they’d like to take away a copy of my hard disk, but with a lot of the stuff they’ve collected, the technology has gone out of date and they can’t read it. They still love ink on paper.”
And so we arrive at one of the more worrying consequences of the transition from paper to computer: if emails rather than letters now denote the progress of significant lives, how will future biographers manage?
“From that point of view, it’s a accomplish bummer,” says the novelist and biographer DJ Taylor, whose life of William Makepeace Thackeray drew on voluminous handwritten correspondence. “Thackeray always reckoned that he wasn’t much of a letter-writer, but he wrote 15 every morning. He went through the business ones very first, and then he went on to letters and chums and so forward, and in some ways, it’s the only way that you can track his life. With Orwell, my other biographical subject, you wish that there were more. There are letters, but he’s not terribly lucid at times, and there are entire weeks and months of his life where you don’t know where he is.
“A long letter correspondence inbetween people who know each other well is fairly a sophisticated mode of discourse,” he says. “The problem is not so much the contrast inbetween the letter and the email and text message; the problem is, is anybody going to bother to keep those forms of communication? If you’re a famous writer, and you’re sending emails rearwards and forwards to your mates, are you going to retrieve them? I don’t know.”
Talking to Taylor also shines light on the fact that an afternoon spent with paper and pen permits far more scope for self-reinvention than a few minutes spent at a computer. “Letters give you distance,” he says. “They give you the chance to present yourself – to perform.”
There is perhaps no better example of all this than the role played by the letter in the bohemian subcultures that open up from the English Romantics, through Rimbaud and Verlaine and the American Hammers, and on in turn to the kind of neurotic outsiders who have recurrently kicked along postwar pop culture. In the palms of the latter, the archetypal letter became a combination of stream of consciousness and confessional – there in the letters of figures as diverse as Jack Kerouac, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain. The latter’s posthumous book, Journals, was littered with letters to friends, colleagues and paramours (e.g. “Dave, a band needs to practice in our opinion at least Five times a week if the band ever expects to accomplish anything”). By way of linking him to this heritage, the demise of that fated romantic Pete Doherty’s most celebrated relationship with Kate Moss was commemorated by the Sun headline “Kate Moss burns Pete Doherty’s love letters”.
For one British rock group, letter-writing was once almost as significant as the business of making music. Manic Street Preachers, whose career began in the pre-email days of the early 1990s, navigated through their pre-fame teenagers and early 20s by indulging in long, artful correspondence in which they managed to transcend their home environment of post-industrial South Wales and believe that their existence was already ever-so-slightly mythic. “What we wrote were always more than letters,” says their bass player and lyricist, Nicky Wire. “There would be a dodgy poem, or a lyric, and a picture of, say, The Clash or Sylvia Plath. I’ve kept them all. There was something tactile and beautiful about them. And even back then, there was a bit of us that thought, ‘This is indeed significant – one day, everyone will read these letters.’ Because we grew up reading books about people writing letters, that’s what we thought.”
Wire, who goes on to talk about the glory of the cautiously chosen postcard (“We’d send each other things like miniaturised posters for Rumble Fish and Birdy, then it moved on to Klimt and Munch”), remains a sultry advocate of longhand communication. “I still write letters and postcards,” he says. “Not as much as I used to, but they’re still part of my life. There’s a lot of thought and care put into them – the envelope, the writing paper, everything. The world will be poorer without all that. And besides the precious nature of it all, for any writer, letter-writing is indeed good practice.” He has never sent an email in his life: “I’ve just got this conviction that skill is only skimmed on a computer. When I look at emails, a kind of dyslexia overcomes me. It just seems bothersome.”
As an advocate of handwritten communication, Wire is hardly alone. Like him, the writer and illustrator Posy Simmonds has yet to send an email, and talks about her endless postcard and letter-writing with an infectious enthusiasm. “I love receiving letters,” she says. “There’s nothing nicer than getting somebody’s handwriting in the post. They might have put their coffee down on the page, so there’ll be a splodge on it, or a wine-stain, or you see that they were in a hurry because the writing goes Vrrrrrrrrrr! It all adds more. It’s all about context; human life is there.”
Underneath the doom-laden statistics, letter-writers such as Wire and Simmonds can find cause for hope. The elementary volume of letters may seem to be falling, but there are signs of renewed interest in the world of paper, envelopes, and trips to the post office. Last year, the consumer research company Mintel found that annual sales of pens and stationery had reached ?546m – up 4% on the figure for 2005.
Perhaps the best example of all this is the ongoing success of the upmarket stationery sold by Smythson, the company whose most notable face is their creative director, Samantha Cameron. Its merchandise includes a personalised range, nomable items such as watermarked paper in “Fluid Wove”, “Glen Cova” and “Bond Street Blue”, and a pigskin correspondence box that goes for ?495. The request for Smythson stationery, says a company spokeswoman, boils down to the fact that “in this time of advanced technology, the written word is more celebrated and appreciated than ever before”.
The letter, then, may be more suffering than some people would have us believe – not least because there are some things to which pen and paper may always be better suited, as an email I received this week from that inveterate missive-writer Julie Burchill pointed out. “Email is better for politics because it’s more aggressive,” she said. “Handwriting for hook-up, I think.”
How to write one
Letterhead: Put your address at the top on the right. The addressee’s address goes below, on the left-hand side. It used to be thought courteous to go after the name of a man you might be writing to with the abbreviation “Esq.”. Nowadays, this can have an old-fashioned ring to it.
Salutation and sign-off: “Hi” is not regarded an acceptable form of salutation in letters. Use either “Dear Deirdre/Peter, etc” or “Dear Master/Madam”. And stay consistent: if you use the private salutation, sign off with “Yours sincerely”, or perhaps “Best wishes”. If you address the recipient of the letter impersonally, use “Yours faithfully”.
Main assets: traps to avoid: Familiar to the speaking-writing hybrid of email exchanges, many people tend to slip into a fusty, archaic mode when they write a letter. Be clear and to the point, using brief sentences where you can. It is best to avoid mock-formal expressions such as “With reference to our telephone discussion” or “Further to my latest letter of complaint”.
Completing: useful tips: If you are expecting a response, use the present continuous form of the verb in the last paragraph, ie: “I look forward to hearing your response”. If, however, you want to bring the correspondence to a close, let your grammar reflect this: “We regret we cannot assist you further with your query”.
· Ben Harris, editor of The Oxford Guide to Effective Speaking and Writing.
· The following clarification was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Monday October 29 2007. In this article about the art of letter-writing, we suggested using the present continuous form of the verb in the last paragraph if a response was expected. However, the example given, “I look forward to hearing your response”, was an example of the present ordinary tense with a gerund, not the present continuous tense.
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