Monthly Archives: November 2013

Finding Purposeful and Specific Textual Evidence

Imagine presenting the court case of the century, a trial whose outcome will impact people for decades to come…. without any evidence. The big-wig judge calls on you –the prosecutor– to approach the bench and present your case, and you have no forensic data, no eye witness accounts, nothing. Sound ridiculous? So should writing an essay without textual evidence.

The truth? You can't handle writing the truth without textual evidence!

The truth? You can’t handle writing the truth without textual evidence!

No matter how eloquent, no matter how grammatically sound, no matter how organized, no matter how correct– without evidence, any and all argumentation will fall flat.

Textual evidence is evidence, gathered from the original source or other texts, that supports an argument or thesis. Such evidence can be found in the form of a quotation, paraphrased material, and descriptions of the text.

The paragraphs that follow provide all the information you need to locate relevant textual evidence and to use it in your writing as a direct quote. Throughout this post, you’ll find step-by-step instructions and an example from the start to finish of the process.

[Continue reading to learn how to find terrific textual evidence!]

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Introducing and Integrating Textual Evidence With Grace

Integrating textual evidence is one of the most challenging, and yet, one of the most rewarding aspects of an essay. A well presented quotation can truly make or break an essay, so merely finding the right evidence isn’t enough. Imagine the timing and finesse of great lawyers, and channel this. (See Finding Purposeful and Specific Textual Evidence for more information on choosing what textual evidence to use.)

Frosting, the final defense of the dying.

Textual evidence, the first defense of the writing.

Once you have some words to highlight you must determine how on earth to include them in your essay. As discussed earlier, Peeta using the word “sweetheart” in itself isn’t funny, so there is some explaining that must be done. And, as it turns out, carelessly plopping the word into your essay with quotation marks around in the spirit of abstraction won’t do either. At this step you must consider the following two questions:  How can I introduce the quote? And how can I integrate it into a sentence?

[Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to introduce and integrate your textual evidence into your essay!]

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The College Application Essay: Part II – Getting Started

whats_your_storyLast week I debunked several floating myths concerning the college application process. Now let’s consider some more specific prompts to get the juices flowing with regard to writing that (overhyped) application essay.

[Keep reading for college essay writing tips!]

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The College Application Essay: Part I – Myth or Fact?

common-appWhether you are a high school senior in the agonizing throes of the college application process, or a sophomore simply curious about what has been called “the most stressful fall of your entire life” (disclaimer: it’s not!), it’s time to debunk some myths. Once you have the facts, you will certainly be one step ahead of many out there!

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What’s a Thesis Statement?

thesis_funnelYou’ve glimpsed its name between the pages of (maybe) your tenth-grade English grammar book. Your teacher might have written it on the board several times. Most probable of all, it has appeared numerous times in glaring red letters in the margin of your essays, right next to that first paragraph. That’s right: the thesis statement.

Most students shiver at the very name. But I want to prove to you that the thesis statement is not worth shivering over. It is certainly fundamental to every academic essay, and you will spend the rest of your time in school refining it as a skill. (Trust me; I’m about to graduate college and have only just figured it out!) Nonetheless, the thesis statement is quite simple conceptually. Starting to understand it now will make all of those future essays much, much easier.

[Continue reading to learn about the thesis statement]

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