Common Errors in Student Essays Objective: Identify and then avoid (or correct) problems common to student writing
Review of concepts covered in Weeks 1 and 2 • Confirmation of new schedule/syllabus changes • Return of scored work and Engrade Housekeeping
Discussion/ Types of arguments (Toulmin and Rogerian) and “limiting” a research topic • Discussion/Common Errors in Student Essays • Activity: Worksheet on limited topics for research (due before you leave) • Activity: Crafting a thesis statement for researched essays (due before you leave) • Activity: Proofreading academic writing (due by 6 next week) • Annotated Bibliography Assignment Distributed** We will cover how to construct a proper Annotated Bib next week. It will not be due yet. Agenda
Common Problems with Student Essays: • Lack of a clear thesis statement So WHAT? • Poor or missing paragraph transitions The essay looks like one, long paragraph… • Failure to cite information that is not your own Failure to cite source content is plagiarism—whether intentional or not
Little or no explanation or “support” for central ideas This includes your own anecdotal or personal support AND source material that you’ve cited • Repetition and “filler” information • Adding to the end (to meet length requirements) rather than focusing on details/development This can also include manipulating font and margins, etc.
Gestures to Avoid in all Formal Essays: • “In this paper” • “According to Webster’s Dictionary…” • “Issue X is important in America today…” • “In conclusion” • Failure to cite sources using direct or indirect quotes • Failure to include a References page • Use of idioms • Subject/verb disagreement • Run-on sentences and/or fragments • Common word-errors, such as…
To/too • Lose/loose • Their/they’re/there • Except/accept • Affect/effect • That/who • All ready/already • A lot • Bad/badly • Could of • Sit/set Common Word Mix-ups/Mistakes
Texting has dramatically altered the way many of us write • A conscious effort to adjust your writing according to communication context is required in order to “catch” errors • Using text-speak in academic writing is never acceptable Examples? • Using “thru” instead of “through” • Using “u” instead of “u” • Misusing words like “a lot” (“alot”) • Misusing “to” and “too” • Leaving out apostrophes (“cant” and “dont”) Text-speak!
Lack of capitalizations • Use of letters or numbers for entire words: b instead of be; 2 instead of to or too; k instead of okay • Use of acronyms to shorten phrases: brb, atm, sec, thnx • Lack of awareness of tone • Limited vocabulary; use of overly simplified words/concepts Continued…
Use is/was with ONE person, place or thing • Use are/were with more than one person, place, or thing • Ignore prepositional phrases between the subject and verb! The chance of rain showers tomorrow is 50 percent. Subject/Verb Agreement
Complete sentences have two, basic components: Subject | Predicate (or verb phrase) The dog | ate its food too quickly. Complete Sentences
Fragments occur when either a subject or predicate (or part of it) is missing • Run-on Sentences occur when two or more complete sentences are “strung together” • Comma Splices occur when two sentences are joined by a comma instead of a period or semi-colon Fragments, Run-on Sentences, and Comma Splices