Be Logical and Analytical

19 Dec

Tips for writing papers for your English classes.  In many college English classes (even in China), you will see the same pattern. The teacher gives you an article with some “message” and then they ask you to analyze 分析 it. NOT summarize 总结 – although students always try to do this instead. 

Tip 1 — English teachers RARELY 很少 want you to write an answer telling them all the ways the author was RIGHT. In English, a lot of your job is finding weaknesses 弱点 or problems. So they usually don’t want you to say “The author is correct because _________________”  You can talk about a couple ways the author is right, but you should also have something talking about how the author MIGHT be wrong or incorrect.

Tip 2 — Pretend the author is a review on Taobao. You want to buy the product, and you see ONE person who gave it 5 starts and a really excellent review. Do you buy it? NO! Now you do more research: How many stars did the product get overall? What do other reviewers say? Did someone pay this person to review the product? Did they post Pictures to prove it?

We do the same for English essay writing. Just because the message LOOKS really good, doesn’t mean the author is completely correct. What proof does the author give? Do they have examples? Do they make good arguments? Are they biased (did someone pay them to write the article, like a magazine or tv station?). Are they related to the topic in some way (for example a woman writing about feminism or someone writing about their friend.)

Example: 

MESSAGE = “Women deserve equality” — GOOD

A) Because my father says so — BAD.  Why do we care? What if your dad is Darth Vader or Thanos? Do we still care what he says? 

B) Because all women were oppressed and forced to live at home in the past. — BAD.  Overgeneralization. What about successful women like Empress Wu Zetian or the Celtic women who fought in battle beside their husbands?  If this author were trying to sell you something on Taobao, what concerns does the article give you? 

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