Step 1: Research
Assuming you`ve been given a topic, or have narrowed it sufficiently down, your first task is to research this topic. You will not be able to write intelligently about a topic you know nothing about. To discover worthwhile insights, you`ll have to do some patient reading.
When you conduct research, move from light to thorough resources to make sure you`re moving in the right direction. Begin by doing searches on the Internet about your topic to familiarize yourself with the basic issues; then move to more thorough research on the Academic Databases; finally, probe the depths of the issue by burying yourself in the library. Make sure that despite beginning on the Internet, you don`t simply end there. A research paper using only Internet sources is a weak paper, and puts you at a disadvantage for not utilizing better information from more academic sources.
As you read about your topic, keep a piece of paper and pen handy to write down interesting quotations you find. Make sure you write down the source and transcribe quotations accurately. I recommend handwriting the quotations to ensure that you don`t overuse them, because if you have to handwrite the quotations, you`ll probably only use quotations sparingly, as you should. On the other hand, if you`re cruising through the net, you may just want to cut and paste snippets here and there along with their URLsinto a Word file, and then later go back and sift the kernels from the chaff.
With print sources, you might put a checkmark beside interesting passages. Write questions or other thoughts in the margins as well. If it`s a library book, use post-it notes to avoid ruining the book. Whatever your system, be sure to annotate the text you read. If reading online, see if you can download the document, and then use Word`s Reviewing toolbar to add notes or the highlighter tool to highlight key passages.
Take a little from a lot
You`ll need to read widely in order to gather sources on your topic. As you integrate research, take a little from a lot — that is, quote briefly from a wide variety of sources. This is the best advice there is about researching. Too many quotations from one source, however reliable the source, will make your essay seem unoriginal and borrowed. Too few sources and you may come off sounding inexperienced. When you have a lot of small quotations from numerous sources, you will seem — if not be — well-read, knowledgeable, and credible as you write about your topic.
As you research your topic, you will naturally be analyzing the arguments of different authors. In contrast to more popular reading, in the academic world, authors must supply copious amounts of evidence and nuanced reasoning in order persuade other scholars of their ideas. To enter the scholar`s “gladiator arena,” you will need to understand the principles of argument. Both analyzing an argument and coming up with your own will require careful thought.
Identify the argument
An argument consists of two main components: a claim, and reasons for that claim. Neither a claim without reasons, nor reasons without a claim, is an argument. Only when one leverages particular reasons to make a claim from those reasons do we say that an “argument” is taking place.
When analyzing an argument of any text, or creating one of your own, first identify the main claim and then locate all the reasons for it. The claim is the controversial, debatable assertion of the essay, while the reasons offer the explanations and evidence of why the claim is true. It is helpful to map this reasoning out:
CLAIM = ________________________________________
Reason 1: ____________________________
Reason 2: ____________________________
Reason 3: ___________________________
Assess the reasoning
Once you have the argument mapped out, assess the reasoning. Ask yourself the following questions to help you identify weaknesses of logic:
(1.) Is there an alternative explanation that is possible?An alternative explanation is a different reason for the same claim. Probing the alternative explanations or reasons for a claim is an excellent way to open up weaknesses in the author`s logic.
Example: “John was late because he obviously doesn`t care about the class.” (An alternative explanation for John`s lateness could be that he got in a car wreck, and therefore couldn`t make it on time to class, not that he doesn`t care about it.)
(2.) Is the evidence presented sufficient?Evidencerefers to the support given for a claim. This support may be in the form of facts, statistics, authoritative quotations, studies, observations, experiences, research, or other forms of proof.
Example: “John was late because he has Alzheimer`s disease, and according to the American Medical Association,Alzheimer`s patients frequently forgot who and where they are” (Jones 65). (The writer has given evidence in the form of research for his or her reasoning.)
(3.) What assumptions do the reasons rest on? An assumption is what one takes for granted to be true, but which actually may not be true. All arguments rest on some common assumptions. This common ground makes it possible for two people to have a dialogue in the first place, but these assumptions, because they are based on groundless ideas, make for a “sweet spot” of attack in argument.
Find an original idea
Brainstorming is the art of thinking critically to discover original, hidden insights about a topic. Assuming you`ve done a fair amount of research, you should now have a solid base of concepts to play around with for an essay. The task is now to stand on the shoulders of the scholars you`ve read and find something original to say about the topic. It is not enough to regurgitate what they have said. You must go beyond them to propose an original idea. Your paper should expose some new idea or insight about the topic, not just be a collage of other scholars` thoughts and research — although you will definitely rely upon these scholars as you move toward your point.
After researching, analyzing, and brainstorming, you should have an worthwhile insight to write about. Now it`s time to convert that worthwhile insight into a polished thesis statement, which will then guide and shape the rest of the essay.
The thesis acts as the main claim of your paper, and typically appears near the end of the introduction. Unless you have a compelling reason to relocate the thesis from the traditional place, put it at the end of your introductory paragraph. Readers anticipate and read closely your thesis, and they want to find a polished statement there. The thesis expresses in one concise sentence the point and purpose of your essay.
Make it arguable
Your thesis must make an arguable assertion. To test whether your assertion is arguable, ask yourself whether it would be possible to argue the opposite. If not, then it`s not a thesis — it`s more of a fact. For example:
Not Arguable: “Computers are becoming an efficient mechanism for managing and transmitting information in large businesses.”(Who`s going to dispute this? It`s not an arguable assertion — it`s a fact.)
Arguable:”Heavy use of computers may disrupt family cohesion and increase divorce in society.”(This is arguable because many people may not believe it. It would make a good thesis!)
The thesis must also be specific. Avoid broad, vague generalizations. Your thesis should include detail and specificity, offering the reader the why behind your reasoning.
Poor Specificity:”We should not pass the microchip bill.”(Hey, not specific enough! It`s just a value statement and doesn`t provide enough reasoning for the reader.)
Good Specificity:”Because the microchip insert causes serious health hazards such as cancer and brain tumors to those who use it, the microchip should not be passed.”(Now the thesis is much more specific, and the reader gets a clear idea of what the essay is going to be about.)
If your thesis consists of a long list of points, your essay will most likely be superficial. Suppose you had six reasons why WebCT should be adopted in college courses. Instead of trying to cover so much ground in your essay, narrow your focus more to give greater depth to fewer ideas, maybe discussing two or three points instead.
Long lists result in shallow essays because you don`t have space to fully explore an idea. If you don`t know what else to say about a point, do more brainstormingand research. However, if you`re arguing a longer paper, and really need to cover this much ground, still avoid the list in your thesis — just give the reader a general idea of your position, without being so specific.
Example of a list:”The microchip bill biologically damages the health of children, invades the privacy of independent teenagers, increases crime, turns children against their parents, induces a sense of robotry about the individual, and finally, may result in the possible takeover of the government.”(Wow, what a list! In a 1,000 word essay, each of these topics will only be explored superficially.)
Narrower focus:”By surgically inserting circuitry similar to cell phone devices that has been known to cause headaches and fatigue, the microchip biologically endangers the health of children.”(I`ve narrowed my focus to just one point — health hazards — instead of the six. Now my job will be to explore this assertion in depth. Academic writing almost always prefers depth over breadth.)
Follow an “although . . . actually” format
The “although . . . actually” format is one of the most effective ways of finding something original and controversial to say. In effect, you are telling someone that what he or she thought to be previously true really isn`t. You`re saying, Hey, you thought X? Well, you`re wrong. Really, it`s Y!Whenever you look beyond the obvious and give readers something new to consider, you`re going to get their attention. Nothing works better than this “although . . . actually” format to set you up in delivering an insight.
Example: Althoughit appears that computers may help students learn to write, actually they can become a detriment to the generation of what what creative writers call “flow.”
Example: Althoughmany people believe that extraterrestials and crop circles are a figment of the imagination, actuallythere is strong evidence suggested by collective, distinct anecdotes that alien encounters are real.
Example: Althoughsome philosophers profess to lead more pure, thoughtful lives, actually philosophers are no different than other publication-hungry academics.
Use an outline to plan
Can you imagine a construction manager working on a skyscraper without a set of blueprints? No way! Similarly, writers construct essays using sets of blueprints or outlines to guide them in the writing process. Of course writers don`t haveto use outlines, but the effect is about the same as a construction worker who “freebuilds.”
Drawing up an outline allows you to think before you write. What use is there in writing the entire paper only to realize that, had you done a little more planning beforehand, you would have organized your essay in an entirely different way? What if you realize later, after free-writing the essay, that you should have omitted some paragraphs, restructured the progression of your logic, and used more examples and other evidence?
You can go back and try to insert major revisions into the essay, but the effect may be like trying to add a thicker foundation to a building already constructed. The outline allows you to think beforehand what you`re going to write so that when you do write it, if you`ve done your planning right, you won`t have to do as much rewriting. (You will still, of course, need to revise.)
Make your points brief
When you construct your outline, keep it brief. The titles, headings, and points in your outline should be about one line each. Remember that you are only drawing an outline of the forest, not detailing each of the trees. Keep each line under a dozen words. If you can`t compress your point into a one-liner, you probably don`t have a clear grasp of what you`re trying to say.
When you describe the point of each paragraph, phrase the point in a mini-claim. If the point of a paragraph is that soft drugs should be legal because they are relatively harmless, don`t just write “soft drugs” as the point of the paragraph in your outline — it`s too brief and vague. Instead, write “drugs should be legal b/c soft drugs are harmlessl.” This description is still brief, as it should be (one line or less), but it makes a claim that gives it purpose in the outline.
View a sample outline
Choose an appropriate arrangement
Drawing up an outline allows you to see at a glance how each of the paragraphs fits into the larger picture. When looking at your paragraphs from this perspective, you can easily shift around the order to see how a reorganization might be better. Remember that each paragraph in the essay should support the position or argument of your paper.
As you`re shifting paragraphs around (maybe like you would a Rubic`s cube), you will probably begin to wonder what the best arrangement really is. In general, put what you want the reader to remember either first or last, not in the middle. Studies in rhetoric have shown the readers remember least what is presented in the middle of an essay. Hence, the middle is where you should probably put your weaker arguments and counterarguments.
Some writers urge a climactic arrangement, one that works up to your strongest point, which is delivered as a kind of grand finale. Another successful arrangement is the inductive argument, in which you build up the evidence first, and then draw conclusions. A problem-solution format involves presenting the problem first and then outlining the solution — this works well for some topics because it is a soft version of the scientific method. Whatever your choice, choose an arrangement that presents a clear, logical argument.
Get the reader`s attention
The first goal in your introduction is to grab the reader`s attention. Wake him or her up and generate some interest about the topic. To grab the reader`s attention, you might present . . .
an interesting fact
a surprising piece of information
an exciting quotation
an intriguing paradox
an explanation of an odd term
a short narrative/anecdote (not fiction)
Jump right into the Issue
In a short essay (under 1,000 words), a lengthy introduction is hardly needed. After getting the reader`s attention, just jump right into the issue and begin directly, perhaps describing a specific, concrete situation — presumably the context of the problem you`re exploring. Avoid beginning your essay with broad statements or bland generalizations such as “X is becoming an issue . . . ” or “Throughout time man has wondered . . . .” Do not begin so broad and general that the first several sentences could fit nearly any essay in the world. For example:
Too General: Crime has been an issue throughout time.
More Specific: The question of the severity of punishments for juveniles is an issue that has garnered attention due to the increasing number of juvenile shootings in the last several years.
Too General: Man has always wondered about the meaning of information.
More Specific: The Age of Information brought about through the digital revolution of computers has posed significant questions about the value and worth of this information: Does having instant access to every newspaper and journal blog in the world make us more intelligent, value-based people?
I like how Michele Montaigne, a sixteenth-century essayist, explains how to write an introduction: “For me, who ask only to become wiser, not more learned or eloquent, these logical and Aristotelian arrangements are not to the point. I want a man to begin with the conclusion. I understand well enough what death and pleasure are; let him not waste his time anatomizing them. I look for good solid reasons from the start, which will instruct me in how to sustain their attack. . . . I do not want a man to use his strength making me attentive and to shout at me fifty times “Or oyez!” in the manner of our heralds. . . . These are so many words lost on me. I come fully prepared from my house; I need no allurement or sauce; I can perfectly well eat my meat quite raw; and instead of whetting my appetite by these preparations and preliminaries, they pall and weary it” (“Of Books”).
In other words, don`t tire your reader with long introductions that fail to get quickly to the point and issue. Begin with specifics and jump right into the problem or conflict you are addressing. When readers see a good conflict, they are likely to take an interest in it.
Present your thesis
The entire introduction should lead toward the presentation of your arguable assertion, or thesis, whereby you take a stand on the issue you are discussing. Deliver your thesis at the end of the introduction so that your reader knows what general position you will take in your essay. You don`t need to spell out all the nitty gritty details of your thesis in the introduction, particularly if it would be bulky and unintelligible to the reader who lacks all the ensuing reference and context, but you should give the reader a good idea of what your argument is. As you do this, avoid saying “I will discuss . . .” or “I intend to argue . . .”
Choose a singular focus
Each paragraph should have a clear, singular focus to it. If there is an overriding error students make in writing essays, it is shifting topics within the same paragraph, rather than continuing to develop the same idea they began with. A paragraph is a discrete unit of thought that expands one specific idea, not three or four. If you find yourself shifting gears to start a new topic, begin a new paragraph instead.
Someone once compared the beginning of a new paragraph to the changing angle of a wall. When the angle of the wall changes, a new wall begins. Let your paragraphs be like that wall: running straight along a certain angle, and beginning anew when the angle changes.
Begin with a topic sentence
Nothing will help you keep a tighter focus on your paragraphs than topic sentences. A topic sentence is generally the first sentence of the paragraph, and it describes the claim or point of the paragraph, thus orienting the reader to the purpose of the paragraph. When you use topic sentences, your reader will invariably find it easier to follow your thoughts and argument. As an example, look at the first sentences of each paragraph on this page. The entire paragraph is focused around the stated topic sentence. Additionally, headings are used to make it even clearer and easier to follow. If you`re writing a long research essay (10 + pages), you might consider using headings.
Develop the idea
Invariably students shift topics and lose focus within their paragraphs because they do not know how to adequately develop their ideas. They usually know the paragraph needs to be longer, but they don`t know how to expand their idea to fill that length. Indeed a paragraph should be at least half a page long, but usually no more than one page. How, then, if you don`t have enough to say, do you fill that paragraph length? Instead of broadening the focus, which will only be another form of topic shifting, try implementing these techniques for development:
illustrate your idea with examples
give an authoritative quotation
anticipate and respond to counterarguments
back your ideas with more evidence
offer another perspective to the idea
brainstorm more insights about the idea
elaborate on causes/effects, definitions, comparison/contrast
Step 8: The Conclusion
Recap your main idea
If your essay was long and complex, sometimes difficult to follow, in the conclusion you`ll want to recap your ideas in a clear, summarizing manner. You want your readers to understand the message you intended to communicate. However, if your essay was short and simple, don`t insult your readers by restating at length the ideas they already understand. Strike a balance according to what you feel your readers need. In a short essay (600 words or less), any recapitulation should be brief (about 2 sentences), and rephrased in a fresh way, not just cut and pasted from the thesis.
Leave a memorable impression
It`s not enough just to restate your main ideas — if you only did that and then ended your essay, your conclusion would be flat and boring. You`ve got to make a graceful exit from your essay by leaving a memorable impression on the reader. You need to say something that will continue to simmer in the reader`s minds long after he or she has put down your essay. To leave this memorable impression, try . . .
giving a thought-provoking quotation
describing a powerful image
talking about consequences or implications
stating what action needs to be done
ending on an interesting twist of thought
explaining why the topic is important
Keep it short
Keep your conclusion short, probably ten lines or less, and avoid fluff. You`re just trying to make a clever exit, and presumably all the really important points have been made previously in your essay. You should not introduce any totally new ideas in the conclusion; however, you should not merely repeat your thesis either. This situation — not presenting anything new, and neither just sticking with the old — at first seems to be a paradox. However, with a little effort, one of the above six methods will usually yield “a quiet zinger,” as John Tribble calls it.
Examples of Real Conclusions
1. Ending on an image
Today, as the phonographs which follow prove, the mystique of the cat is still very much alive in the Egyptian environment. For after all, should not the cat be important in the Muslim world, as apparently God inspired man to write its name-qi, t, t in Arabic letters-in such a shape that it looks like a cat?
–Lorraine Chittock, Cairo Cats
If this book has any future use, it will be as a modest contribution to that challenge, and as a warning: that systems of thought like Orientalism, discourses of power, ideological fictions-mind-forg`d manacles-are all too easily made, applied, and guarded. Above all, I hope to have shown my reader that the answer to Orientalism is not Occidentalism. No former “Oriental” will be comforted by the thought that having been an Oriental himself he is likely-too likely-to study new “Orientals”-or “Occidentals”-of his own making. If the knowledge of Orientalism has any meaning, it is in being a reminder of the seductive degradation of knowledge, of any knowledge, anywhere, at any time. Now perhaps more than before.
–Orientalism, Edward Said
When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several case I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens`s photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry-in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
–“Charles Dickens,” George Orwell
A popular tale, which I picked up in Geneva during the last years of World War I, tells of Miguel Servet`s reply to the inquisitors who had condemned him to the stake: “I will burn, but this is a mere event. We shall continue our discussion in eternity.”
–Jorge Luis Borges, Nonfictions
The practice of rhetoric involves a careful attention to the characteristics and preferences of the audience for whom the writer intends the message. Although Syfers` and Limpus` essays might be somewhat out of place for a contemporary audience, in the 1970s they were not. However, as argued throughout this essay, it is Syfers` memorable sarcasm and wit that ultimately win over her audience. Being humorous while also driving home a worthwhile point is a difficult feat to accomplish in writing. Because Syfers accomplishes it so well, she seems to have stepped over the boundaries of time and reached a much larger audience than she may have originally intended.
–imitation of a student essay
I am quite convinced that what hinders progress in the Arab world is the absence of a free press. The dirt in our society has been swept under the carpet for too long. But I am certain that this won`t be the case for much longer. Arabs are beginning to engage in lively debate over their political and social predicament. And Al-Jazeera offers a ray of hope. Already, other Arab stations are imitating The Opposite Direction, though with limitations. Press freedom leads to political freedom. Someday, in spite of the attempts by today`s totalitarian rulers, a free Arab press may help to create real democracy in the Arab world.
When using ideas or phrases from other writers in your own essay, you must correctly cite in your text exactly where the ideas or phrases come from. Correctly identifying these ideas and phrases is called “in-text citation,” and the page at the end of your essay listing the sources you used is called a “Works Cited” page.
Different disciplines follow different style guides for in-text citation and Works Cited pages, but in most writing courses, because they fall under the humanities discipline, MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is used. Although there are many details and rules about incorporating research into your essay, the following five basic principles will help you correctly ingetrate sources in your essay.
Make sure all authors cited in the body of your essay also appear on the Works Cited page.
If you quote Jones, Smith, and Johnson in your essay, these three authors should appear with full documentation on the Works Cited pagel. Don`t forget them. Likewise, all the authors or sources listed in the Works Cited page should appear in the body of your essay. There should be no sources listed on the Works Cited page that were not cited in your actual essay.
If the source you`re quoting is unremarkable and dry in its expression or opinion, don`t bring that unremarkable, dry text into your own writing as well. Paraphrase this material instead, and follow up your paraphrase with the author`s name in parentheses (or the article title, if there is no author). Only quote catchy, memorable, quotable phrases, and keep the quotations short — one or two lines usually. In general you want to quote sparingly and preserve your own voice.
Don`t rely too much on the same source.
If you have four or five quotes from the same author, your reader will eventually just desire to read that author instead. Too much quoting also compromises your own voice and sense of authority about the issue. Rather than limiting your research to one or two authors, draw upon a wide variety of sources, and quote only snippets from each. Having variety will ensure that you are well read in the subject and that you`ve examined the issue from multiple perspectives.
Follow up your quotations with commentary, interpretation, or analysis.
Avoid just dropping in the quotation and then immediately moving on, assuming the reader fully understands the meaning, purpose, and application of the quotation just presented. You almost always should comment on the quotation in some way, even if your commentary is a simple reexplanation of what the quotation means (“In other words . . .”). Remember that you`re taking the quotation from an article you`ve read, but the reader only gets a glimpse of that whole article and lacks the context that you have, so it might be more difficult for the reader to understand it. Because the essay is supposed to represent your ideas, not just those of another, you must find some way to comment or analyze what you summarize or quote.
Use signal phrases to introduce your quotations.
A signal phrase is a clause before the quotation that identifies the author (e.g., “Jones says,” or “According to Jones . . .”). Signal phrases are essential to create a bridge between your own voice and that of another you are incorporating into your essay. If you identify the author in the signal phrase, don`t also identify author in parentheses following the quotation. Once is enough.
Also, don`t put the article title in the signal phrase unless you want to draw particular attention it. Including the article title in your signal phrase usually results ina long, clunky pre-quote phrase that takes the focus off the quotation.
Example of a clunky pre-quote signal phrase:According to the article “Censorship in American High School Reading Classes,” Twain`s Huckleberry Finn has been “sacrificed to the gods of political correctness, without any attention to its literary merits.” (Avoid putting the article title in the signal phrase.)
Better:According to the American Quarterly Review, Twain`s Huckleberry Finn has been “sacrificed to the gods of political correctness, without any attention to its literary merits.”
Even Better:According to Edmund Wilson, “Twain rewrote the American setting through his character Huck Finn.”
Example of redundancy:Mark Twain says the secret to success is “making your vocation your vacation” (Twain.) (We don`t need Twain identified twice!)
Special note–“qtd. in”:Suppose you`re using a quotation that appears inside an article written by someone other than the one saying the quotation. In other words, if you`re using, say, Judge William`s quotation that appears within Mary Jones` article, you cite it by writing “qtd. in” following the quote. If so, write “qtd. in Jones,” or whomever.
Example: According to Judge Williams, “just law is the foundation of a just society” (qtd. in Jones).
If Jones is just paraphrasing Williams, then you would omit the “qtd. in” and just write (Jones).
Step 10: Language
According to Truman Capote, “The greatest pleasure of writing is not what it`s about, but the music the words make.” As you edit the language of your essay, you are trying to make music out of the words.
In this step the content of your essay should be solid. If the idea itself needs discarding, you shouldn`t be tweaking the language; it would be a waste of time working on transitions if the organization and structure of your essay were in need of repair. Hence editing the language of your essay comes last. Here you are putting polish on a shoe that has already been sewn.
Editing the language can be tedious, but it is essential. You`ve got to proofread your essays dozens of times to catch all the rough spots and language errors. As you proofread you will be checking for misspellings, poor mechanics, bad grammar, awkward word flow and numerous other linguistic details that you can improve. Proofreading the language may take hours as you attempt to polish your language to the point that it is pleasing to read and has literary style.
Give Your Eyes Rest
The more you read your essay, the more blind you become to it. Soon you stop reading the words on the page and only begin reading what`s in your mind, which you falsely transpose onto the page. The actual letters could be Hebrew, or Greek, for all it matters at that point.
Don`t keep reading hour after hour until your mind registers the entire text at a glance, without seeing the details. What you must do is rest your eyes; take a break. Give yourself a day or two between revisions. (This is why you should not procrastinate your assignments.) When you come back to your essay with fresh eyes and a renewed perspective, you will see with added clarity all the rough phrasings and strange ideas that your eyes once glided over.
Know What to Look For
You can read your essay a thousand times over, but if you don`t know what you`re looking for, you will probably miss all the errors you`re attempting to find. If you`re going to work hard, make sure you`re putting all your energy to a productive use. Know what to look for when you proofread. See the criteria in the Grades section of this site. There are twelve areas to look for: logic, evidence, development, focus, structure, unity, integration, in-text citation, works cited, grammar, clarity, style. Check off each category as you examine your essay. Another help for proofreading is to ask yourself the same questions in the Peer Review, conducting instead a “self-review.” Finally, be sure to use the spell-checker and grammar-checker in Word.
You might want to ask a friend to read over your essay and give suggestions for change. This is usually advantageous. Some students, however, perhaps feeling pressure to bring their language level up to a more fluent, “A” level, might ask their friends to go beyond a few simple suggestions and instead to heavily edit or rewrite the language of their paper. While it is generally okay for another to get somefeedback from others on ideas and language, your friend or family member cannot take upon the role of an editor, changing your sentences and thoughts to reflect a linguistic and analytical level that is not yours and which is beyond your ability. Passing off another`s language as your own — even if the ideas remain original to your own mind — is considered plagiarism. Your work must be your own, and that includes the language and style, not just content.
Knowing that the work is your own, and that it represents your highest level of performance, you will feel a sense of achievement and personal growth that perhaps you have not experienced before. Each essay should seem to you that it is your best work to date. Only when you feel this way is the paper done.