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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Post We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    Today, my teacher handed back my written proposal on the theme of ideas of progress, which addressed the subject on the debate of transhumanism.

    Unfortunately, he told me that the usage of vocabulary and the structure of my sentence and paragraphs are not supposed to be overly well written. He said and I quote, “we are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type research paper”. I found this to be very disturbing and unjustified. Hence, the reason why I am here today seeking further clarification on the judgement brought upon my paper.

    The main problem that has been raised, is the fact that I have used a set of academically styled vocabulary in an excessive manner. I agree that this may be truthful. However, I find that the harshly barred out fragments of my paper have been treated disproportionately to the actual stylistic flaw. In the introduction, there might be a usage of sophisticated vocabulary, though the core is completely relevant, clear and to the point. Yet, the professor put question marks above certain words that had proper reasoning and importance in the sentence.
    Afterwards, I heard his explanation and I found it to show the lack of comprehension and faulty interpretation of the sentence.

    - Here is the only fragment of a paragraph that has been questioned, other than punctuation leading to the off-topic type of barring on the whole paragraph:

    “As much as the theme of the ideas of progress, projects a very aspiring, positive and courageous trajectory of human endeavors; it also entangles both ambivalent and controversial debates.”

    - ‘Ambivalent’ was used because the transhumanism debate raises a diversity of conflicting reactions which contains positive and negative approaches.
    - ‘Controversial’ the teacher pointed out that any debate is controversial. However, this is not true. For example, a debate on the adoption of school uniform does not need to be controversial, it is a yes or no debate. A debate on uniform differs immensely from a debate on let’s say on euthanasia. Hence, the reasoning behind why I chose to use illustrate my debate with the word controversial.

    Here is the whole paragraph showcasing my writing style (introduction) :

    “Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals [...] It can also buildgigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm tossed humanvessel”, says Bryan, a former United States Secretary of State. As much as the theme of the ideasof progress, projects a very aspiring, positive and courageous trajectory of human endeavours; italso entangles both ambivalent and controversial debates. In virtue of this, adopting a positionengulfing rigorous criticism and moralities, is quintessential following the undertaking of suchprogress. Furthermore, in the last century, the disastrous repercussions ensuing the majorinnovation of nuclear power left the world completely shell-shocked. Hence, assessing from amoral and ethical viewpoint, the next revolutionary scientific advancement of our century, willallow us to leap forward with precaution.

    If someone could please help me understand why this whole paragraph was barred out for stylistic reasons, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Also, if someone would like to read the rest of my essay I would happily transmit it to you.

    Thank you for your time,

    Last edited by emsr2d2; 05-Dec-2015 at 16:13. Reason: Removed formatting to make it all readable

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    #2

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    I agree with your teacher. You're trying to write above your level of competence with grammar and usage. 'Take it down a notch' (or two) and your writing will be much better.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 05-Dec-2015 at 06:54.

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    #3

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    I think you may be a bit trying too hard; I suspect you may be getting more into the flow and the sound than the close meaning. For instance, you say 'engulfing rigorous criticism and moralities'. Engulf is normally negative in meaning, so it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the content, which suggests that this criticism is essential. Also, on a factual note, much of the work on morality should be done beforehand in science- that is why they have ethical committees, isn't it?

    It is clear that you are keen and trying hard, so I can see why you feel it's a bit unfair. I would say that the vocabulary you choose may be a bit too colourful for the content, and adopting a slightly drier tone might be effective. I wouldn't have taken the whole paragraph out, but I would quibble with some of your choices.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    Firstly, I agree that some debates are controversial and some aren't.

    But you have used a lot of words that don't seem appropriate. Some examples: entangle, trajectory, engulfing, ensuing (without a following pronoun).
    Also, you should not put a comma between the subject and the verb, as you've done twice - once in the excerpt you've cited. The semicolon is also out of place assuming I'm parsing the sentence correctly. I'm taking "theme" to be the subject and "projects" to be the verb.

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    #5

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    By writing above my level of competence with grammar and usage, does it result in my paragraph being difficult to comprehend and a nuisance to the lector ?
    It is difficult for me to understand this because when I read my paragraph orally it flows and sounds very appealing.
    Also, this is not only from my perspective, I have read this passage to my classmates and they found it to be maybe a bit excessive, but formulated eloquently.
    Is this not what academic writing using rich vocabulary supposed to be ?
    I cannot help to see how this may be a negative aspect in my writing style.

    Thank you for your response,

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    #6

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Firstly, I agree that some debates are controversial and some aren't.

    But you have used a lot of words that don't seem appropriate. Some examples: entangle, trajectory, engulfing, ensuing (without a following pronoun).
    Also, you should not put a comma between the subject and the verb, as you've done twice - once in the excerpt you've cited. The semicolon is also out of place assuming I'm parsing the sentence correctly. I'm taking "theme" to be the subject and "projects" to be the verb.
    I used entangle as a way to express the necessity of precising that the subject is approached by both negative and positive perspectives. Entangling those adjectives "ambivalent" & "controversial" meant that the subject cannot be approached or described any other way.

    Also, the usage of the word 'trajectory' was aimed to illustrate the direction in which the objective of the subject would take us (idea of progress).
    Ensuing simply meant in this context 'following the nuclear disaster' or what came after.

    I would like to point out that I have not used these adjectives or words simply to make my paper colourful, every word has its own reasoning behind its usage.

    I could have also just used a simplified terminology as it would have resulted in the same core meaning. Although, by using a rich vocabulary it puts the reader in a position that differs from what he is used to read on a regular basis.

    The result is that the reader will have to exploit and understand every subtle meaning the writer has laid down. It would make him understand, that the importance is superior to what it would be if it were said in more simpler terms.

    I find the understanding and lecture to be more interactive and exciting by taking it up a notch, it does not make it incomprehensible but more interesting.

    Then again, I can be wrong these are just my positions which I find to be legitimate.

    Thank you for addressing my questions,
    Last edited by Chendal; 06-Dec-2015 at 06:02.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    Quote Originally Posted by Chendal View Post
    By writing above my level of competence with grammar and usage, does it result in my paragraph being difficult to comprehend and a nuisance to the lector ?

    Maybe. Why not ask him? He's probably more interested in giving you valuable feedback.

    It is difficult for me to understand this because when I read my paragraph orally it flows and sounds very appealing.

    That's a common trap. Do you ever watch X-factor or any of those talent shows, and wonder how come no one has ever told them they can't sing. I'm not saying you're that bad, but we are not always our own best critics.

    Also, this is not only from my perspective, I have read this passage to my classmates and they found it to be maybe a bit excessive, but formulated eloquently.
    Is this not what academic writing using rich vocabulary supposed to be ?
    I cannot help to see how this may be a negative aspect in my writing style.

    Thank you for your response,
    No, the vocabulary should not be so rich that it diverts your reader from the message, and makes your reader wonder about the words you're using - especially when you're using some of those words in odd ways.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: We are 16-17 years old and should not be writing as if we it was a PhD type paper

    Quote Originally Posted by Chendal View Post
    I used entangle as a way to express the necessity of precising (what's this?) that the subject is approached by both negative and positive perspectives. Entangling those adjectives "ambivalent" & "controversial" meant that the subject cannot be approached or described any other way.
    They aren't entangled though. They are two independent variables. The debate is to some degree ambivalent; to some degree controversial. But those concepts are not entangled - as far as I understand entanglement.

    Also, the usage of the word 'trajectory' was aimed to illustrate the direction in which the objective of the subject would take us (idea of progress).
    Yes, OK, that wasn't the worst error. I was thinking that humans endeavours would have multiple trajectories.


    Ensuing simply meant in this context 'following the nuclear disaster' or what came after.
    Then maybe "ensuing from"? "Ensuing" doesn't mean following, when used like that. "The repercussion ensued. The repercussion ensued from the innovation." But the repercussion didn't ensue the innovation. It's not a transitive verb.

    I would like to point out that I have not used these adjectives or words simply to make my paper colourful, every word has its own reasoning behind its usage.
    But you need to considered whether that reasoning is valid and sound.

    I could have also just used a simplified terminology as it would have resulted in the same core meaning. Although, by using a rich vocabulary it puts the reader in a position that differs from what he is used to read on a regular basis.
    Yes, in this case, it takes the readers mind away from the message. The reader is not helped to understand when you use the wrong word, or when you say that the ambivalence and controversy in entangled.

    The result is that the reader will have to exploit and understand every subtle meaning the writer has laid down. It would make him understand, that the importance is superior to what it would be if it were said in more simpler terms.
    I find the understanding and lecture to be more interactive and exciting by taking it up a notch, it does not make it incomprehensible but more interesting.

    Then again, I can be wrong these are just my positions which I find to be legitimate.

    Thank you for addressing my questions,
    You need to keep learning. I agree that good writing can lift a piece of banal prose; but you have to use the words correctly, in a way which is objectively understandable. It doesn't help if only you know how the words are supposed to work to produce the effect you want. Good luck.

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