1. Jecon

    Jecon Member

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Grammar Are these paragraphs stilted and unnatural for an essay or a speech

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jecon, Oct 21, 2014.

    1.) Every mother has a style of rearing her kids. I think some mother-in-laws see themselves as better mothers than their son’s wife to show their authority. Or, maybe their mother-in-laws treated them the same way when they were younger. Personally, I couldn’t care less about how a mother raises her kids. Not that I hate babies, I just don’t know anything about them.

    2.) Political surveys are good for nothing. We must ask how these surveys were conducted in the first place. What were the socio-economic profiles of the participants? Did they even have a political stance when the survey was conducted? Were they in the proper condition to answer the survey questions? Unfortunately, the groups that conduct surveys don’t usually tell how they got the data and why they did the survey. But people buy them despite these flaws. Sometimes, surveys do not describe social reality, but rather a tool for social engineering.

    3.) I don’t understand the fuss about getting a high grade in the bar exam. The bar exam only determines whether you have the basic grasp of the fundamental concepts of law. It cannot predict how good you will become as a practicing lawyer. Remember, law is not a purely academic discipline. You’re not supposed to stay in the university after four years of labour staking study. Your lawyering skills are determined by your actual practice, not by the bar exam.
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    For an essay, these extracts are far too opinionated, without giving any supporting evidence (rather like your opinion of Political surveys!). For instance, we now know that you think of "some mothers-in-law"...but is that 10%, of 90%? and what evidence do you have for that statistic?...and we know that you don't care about how children are raised, but how relevant is your indifference to the fact that the manner of child-rearing is likely to have a massive impact upon the future of this planet? e.g., if every child was reared as a fanatical nationalist for their own country?

    A couple of points...1/ What is "labour staking study"? I know what "pains-taking (the hyphen wouldn't normally be there, but I've included it to show the two words that make up this portmanteau word) research" is. 2/ I don't like (I suspect that our American readers will disagree!) the use of the verb "to lawyer", especially as you have then converted it into an adjective. 3/ Who supposes that you "stay in the university..."?
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  3. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

    Jan 5, 2012
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    It really depends on what kind of essay or speech you want to deliver. Your sample sounds like a personal reply to something, an opinion, rather than anything formal like an essay or a speech. If you want to voice negative and derogatory opinions that aren't supported by a shred of evidence, then you got the tone right. If you want to deliberately stir up controversy than this works. Not very well, though, because opinions need some verifiable evidence that justifies them.

    Your informal style, 'kids' 'good for nothing' 'don't understand the fuss' 'couldn't care less' don't belong in a serious essay or speech. But can be useful if you want to portray an opinionated, offensive radio Dj, for example.

    If you want to write an essay that will portray you as someone who truly considered both sides, you need to address the issues in more detail, lose the informal speech and provide relevant examples to support your position. You can stay controversial, but if you want to be taken seriously, you need to use more precise language.
    Catrin Lewis and GingerCoffee like this.
  4. Jilly

    Jilly New Member

    Oct 30, 2014
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    New York
    It depends on essay style. I saw a good essay writing guide on http://www.essaymama.com/ blog, there was a part about Styling the References. Maybe, there you could find the answers.
  5. United

    United Member

    Nov 8, 2014
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    It depends on your audience, really. Are you informing or persuading? Informational essays and speeches are generally objective, and persuasive essays and speeches are either mixed (objective and subjective) or substantially subjective (the former being the more 'nuanced' way of writing persuasive essays). If you provide facts and objective information, and tie those in with subjective information (personal opinions/analyses), then your argument(s) will be much stronger. It will be even stronger (typically) if you manage to frame that essay/speech in an objective lens/voice. But based on your examples, you are writing in a primarily subjective lens (because it sounds really personal to you). But that can have a different impact, depending on what you plan to achieve with your argument(s). Then again, this depends entirely on who your audience is, and what you want them to get from your message.
  6. lustrousonion

    lustrousonion Senior Member

    Oct 7, 2014
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    Stilted? No. Unnatural for essays/speeches? Yes. For all the reasons listed above.

    By the way, mothers can also have daughters, and the way you've phrased it makes it sound like women can only/must always have sons. Also, this whole sentence is strange: "I think some mother-in-laws see themselves as better mothers than their son’s wife to show their authority." You're saying that mothers believe they are something in order to demonstrate a different thing. That's like saying, "I believe I am a tree so that you'll eat dinner."

    Tell is a a transitive verb and always needs an object. Quickest is to replace it with say.

    "Good for nothing," when used as an adjective, should go before the noun it describes. For example, "These good-for-nothing surveys misinform the public." At the end of a sentence, just say something like, "These surveys are useless/misleading."
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  7. PBrady

    PBrady Active Member

    Dec 16, 2013
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    Nottingham UK
    If by stilted you mean malformed and awkward sentences, then the answer posed in the title is a definite yes.

    >Every mother has a style of rearing her kids.
    Possibly better as "Every mother has their own style of raising their children."

    You rear farm stock such as goats from kids, and raise children. The original version of the sentence is also de-personalised.

    >I think some mother-in-laws see themselves as better mothers than their son’s wife to show their authority.
    Close to being a meaningless sentence. Just becomes someone sees themselves as being good at something, it does not impart any authority.
    It could be improved with: "some mothers-in-law portray themselves as superior mothers in order to establish a matriarchal authority over their daughters-in-law." Some basis for this statement would be help to move it beyond what appears to be a slightly bitter diatribe.

    >Or, maybe their mother-in-laws treated them the same way when they were younger.
    Again, meaningless. Treated them the same way as what? You haven't established anything about methods of raising children yet for this contrast to have context.

    >Personally, I couldn’t care less about how a mother raises her kids. Not that I hate babies, I just don’t know anything about them.
    This seems to be in contradiction to your previous negative sentiments about mothers-in-law and child raising.

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