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   Student Writing
    (November 27, 2001

Ada, an English 10 student, has done a great job writing two exercises for essay preparation for the English 10 lessons, Writing the Body and Conclusion Techniques Teacher's comments are in italics below. 


Examples for Writing the Conclusion

Final Quotation

     The cheating and plagiary problem among youngsters has become too serious to be neglected. The problem didn’t happen yesterday; the youngsters didn’t invent cheating. They have learned it from us. Dr. McCabe, a professor at Rutgers University said that he was struck by “how readily students place the blame for their cheating on societal problems and pressures.” As harsh as the accusation might be, being a member of the society, we can’t and shouldn’t escape the responsibility.

Note the effective use of a balanced sentence joined by a semicolon here. Also, note how seamlessly Ada has added Dr McCabe's words to her own sentence. She then comments on it, and agrees with the idea. Well done!

Warning or Remedy

     The number of youngsters who cheat has increased to an undesirable degree. As a parent, we should not ignore this problem; instead, we should try to convince our children that cheating has grave consequences and is totally unnecessary. We need to be more patient with their academic progress, and set a reasonable goal for them to achieve. Though being honest might seem to be disadvantageous, in the long run, it will prove to be worthwhile.

Note how Ada anticipates her reader's possible objection by adding a last comment after her remedy. It is always a good idea to think about what ways a reader may react to your words.

Examples for Writing the Body

First method: Use an Example

     It is possible that most ordinary “decent” people cannot avoid minor cheating behavior during their life. As minor as a landlord, who may ask his tenant to give him cash to save some tax, or a person in the auto repairing business who may offer his client a lower price if the client would also pay in cash. The landlord and the businessman may be cheating, but the tenant and the client who are willing to cooperate in the “win-win” situation are not completely innocent.

Note how Ada explains her example after making it, thus clarifying her exact meaning. 

Second method: Make a Comparison

     Cheating is a common phenomenon that happens almost every day and everywhere only in different forms. It’s clear that when one student copies other student’s answer sheet during a test, it’s cheating; when a professor copies other scholar’s ideas in his papers, it’s plagiary. However, there are also many other ways of cheating that are more ambiguous, or arguable, and few are qualified to cast the first stone at the sinners.

Comparing the students with their professors provides context and raises an important point: that cheating is not restricted only to students; teachers are also, sometimes, guilty of similar behaviour. Truly, a tricky issue!

Third Method: Use a Quotation

     Since cheating has become woven into most everyone’s life nowadays, it is imaginable that, in a way, the virtue of morality is fading; fewer people care if cheating is right or wrong, nor do they feel ashamed or remorseful when caught. That may be the reason Dr. Peter G. Mehas, superintendent of schools in Fresno County, California said that he “was chagrined to see a shift in parents’ attitudes” over his “30 years as an educator.”

Note how Ada raises the issue that will be supported by the quote before she gives the quotation. It is often more effective to make it initially clear to a reader your reasons for adding the words of another writer to your own ideas.

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