Review: How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps
Posted: 18 April 2013 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Striking only in its unoriginality.

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Posted: 18 April 2013 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If you don’t know how to write an essay by the time you are an undergraduate I’d say it was time to start thinking of another direction in life.

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Posted: 18 April 2013 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Oh, I don’t know, I think there are plenty (or at least a not-insignificant number) of undergraduate students who have never been taught (and who have not discovered on their own) how to write a well-crafted essay, but who have the aptitude to excel in undergraduate school.  Some of them may even be strong “natural writers” who simply haven’t learned how to place their written effusions into effective structures.  Also, what qualifies as a “good” essay is something of a moving target: a paper that would easily score an A in high school might be lucky to scrape by with a B- in undergraduate school.  So, I think a book on how to write an undergraduate essay effectively could be a very useful thing, although whether this particular book qualifies as such is of course another question.  (FWIW, I suspect the target audience of this book consists of educators (including TAs) who are looking for a good primer to hand to their students.)

I agree that the bit about never using personal pronouns is a howler.  I suspect, though, that the author also had second-person pronouns in mind When I was a lad, referring to the reader as “you” was even more frowned upon than referring to oneself as “I.”

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Posted: 18 April 2013 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oh, I don’t know, I think there are plenty (or at least a not-insignificant number) of undergraduate students who have never been taught (and who have not discovered on their own) how to write a well-crafted essay, but who have the aptitude to excel in undergraduate school.

That’s exactly my experience with undergrads here at Toronto. All but a few can write grammatically correct sentences and are competent at forming paragraphs, but many have no clue what is supposed to go into an academic essay. Many simply produce plot summaries or don’t know how to structure an argument. They’re capable of doing it; it was just never required of them in high school.

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Posted: 18 April 2013 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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At $2.99 this book is priced well, especially as its chief competition is free web sites that offer essentially the same advice.

Free is tough to compete against at any price. There are no Adwords ads coming up for the keywords “how to write an essay” and that would be a deal killer on it’s own for me to consider a niche but when you actually visit the top ten websites, the only people monetizing these keywords directly are people who sell essays. I’m afraid this e-book is a product with no market, regardless of whether it delivers on the promise or not.

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Posted: 19 April 2013 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I was never good at writing essays, mainly because I never saw (and still don’t see) the need to waffle after I’d made the few salient points that answered the question, even if it was a “discuss"-type topic.  What did I miss and would this book have helped me?

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Posted: 19 April 2013 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I bought a perfectly good story about a South African family for less than a third that price.

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