Summary Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

Paul Roberts, in "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words", talks about the mistakes that students often make while writing papers. One of the biggest issues with students when they are writing papers is the fact that they are too timid. Rather than thinking outside of the box, they focus on common issues and the simple, obvious answers to questions. To create a quality paper the writer must be willing to bring forth ideas that are not commonly used or else you will bore the reader. Another common mistake is beating around the bush, get to the point. Students are often under the false impression that loading up basic sentences with extra words can make a paper better, but they are falling victim to ...view middle of the document...

He provides a scenario of a student that has an assignment in the way of their much anticipated weekend. The use of this scenario allows anyone who is or was a student to relate to what is going on, and this type of things grabs the attention of readers. Roberts uses this realistic scenario in order to draw the readers in gives the reader an entertaining, yet informative, paper to read.
Paul Roberts discusses how important it is to avoid the obvious content. He says to dismiss all of the ideas that first rush into your mind because if they were your first thoughts then they were bound to be others' first thoughts as well. In order to avoid this obvious content you should make a list of the arguments that you can think of right away or ones that seem to be frequently used. When writing your paper Roberts says to look at this list and avoid any of the content on it. This will cause the paper to be more intriguing because it is something that the reader probably has not seen before and would give them something less generic to read. Reading papers that provide the basically the same ideas over and over again is a huge turn-off to a teacher. If the paper is something that they have seen many times they will be bored of it, and that is not a good thing. If you are original you are already starting off better than the other unoriginal papers. In his example about a paper against college football, Roberts wrote that if you are using reasons that are not everyone else's reasons then you are already ahead. Regardless of whether or not the reasons are keen and perceptive or trivial and foolish, using unused reasons is better than recycling the same-old reasons.
Professor Roberts also believes in taking the less usual side in a paper, or the "road less travelled". Rather than trying to take the side that everybody else tends to take and trying to think of fresh ideas, it may be better to just switch to the opposite side of the argument. Roberts uses an essay on dogs as an example. He says that instead of writing about how, all-in-all, dogs are man's best friend, you could choose to write about how horrible dogs are and how much you dislike them. If you are assigned a paper like this and...

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