Tuesday, August 21, 2007

10-Minute Essay Examples 05

The purpose of writing 10-minute essays 5 days a week for 3 weeks is to let me, RayS., help you identify the problems in sentence structure, usage, punctuation and style in your own writing. Exercises and examples help you to recognize problems but they seldom transfer to your own writing.

Question: Could you give some examples of what you mean by ten-minute essays?

Answer: For the next several weeks, I will give you some examples of ten-minute essays that I have corrected in the past. Try correcting them yourself and then read my corrections. At any time, feel free to write your own 10-minute essay and send to RayS. at raystop2@comcast.net.

The words in bold face indicate some of the changes that I will make in the original and have made in my suggested revisions.

Original 10-Minute Essay
……….Today I went to my old high school and watched a field hockey game. Watching my old teammates play, I felt anxious to get out there and play. I finally realized how much I missed playing.
……….After watching the game, it made me want to do better in school. I can't wait to get out on the field again. Hopefully the feeling will stay with me throughout the time that I am at school.
……….When I was at practice after school every day, I always said that I hated to go. Now that I am out of school I wish that I was on the practice field again. When I graduated I said "that I would never step foot on the school property again." Now I find myself going back to watch every home game remembering how I felt on game day.

Suggested Revisions
………Today, I went to my old high school and watched a field hockey game. Seeing my old teammates play, I was eager to join them on the field. I finally realize how much I miss playing field hockey.
……….Watching this game made me want to do better in school. I cannot wait to play field hockey again. I hope my enthusiasm for my favorite sport will continue throughout my school career.
………. In high school, I always hated to practice. Now that I am out of school, I wish I were on the field every day. When I graduated, I said, “I will never set foot on this school property again.” Now I go back to watch every home game and remember how I felt on game day.

Note: One problem in this 10-minute essay was an ambiguous statement: “Hopefully, the feeling will stay with me throughout the time that I am at school.” I did not understand what the writer meant by “the feeling,” so I guessed at the intended meaning.

Also, avoid using “hopefully.” I will not bother to explain the usage problem involved, but I will suggest always using “I hope” whenever you are tempted to use “hopefully.” Then you cannot be wrong. “Hopefully” is also a word that tends to be repeated habitually in conversations and therefore in informal writing.

Indirect quotations, “…that I would never step foot….” should not be used with quotation marks. Note how I changed the indirect quotation into a direct quotation. To retain the indirect quotation, just eliminate the quotation marks.

“Anxious” involves concern and worry. “Eager” means enthusiastic.

“…step foot” should be “…set foot….”

"I wish that I was...." should be "I wish I were...." Always use "were" after "I wish...."

Now you can perhaps understand the importance of the ten-minute essays. A few of these problems I might not bring up in class. They are the type of individual problems that are likely to occur, and that I can easily resolve, in daily ten-minute essays. Also, the ten-minute essays help me to reinforce solutions to problems that I might have brought up in class.

Tomorrow: Be Your Own Editor.

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