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Those who know the written English language well

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by someguy0105, Mar 6, 2008.


  1. I need to write a paragraph about myself to get into an advance placement english course next year. I manage to forget about it until tonight when it is due tomorrow.
    I know it really isn't a good paragraph and it would be a big help if some of you could help me catch the technical errors in it.

    I am not your typical teenager. Rather than listen to rap and rock I’d rather being listening to smooth jazz or playing in my jazz band, Sax Appeal. I play multiple instruments in five different groups ranging from small jazz combos to large concert bands and marching percussion ensembles. My continuous practice is the only way I am able to remain active in these various groups. Instead of posters of famous people on my walls I have three pages of quotes ranging from music to life and atheism. I think that Anaïs Nin said it best when she said “When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” If you need to find me I’m the guy who is tapping his foot to music older than my parents and ponder some question with no answer.



    Thanks in Advance.
     
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I didn't look too hard, but in terms of errors, there should be a comma after "walls" and in the last sentence it should be "pondering" not "ponder" and either "a question" or "some questions" as it doesn't work as presently constituted.

    But it also seems a bit disjointed. For a one paragraph essay to go from your musical tastes/playing to how your room is decorated it needs to be done more smoothly.

    My question is, why on earth is a one paragraph essay in any way determining your placement in English? At my school, we as teachers made the recommendations for the next level based on grades and ability. Shouldn't your current teacher already know enough about your writing skills to make that decision?
     
  3. bassaficionado6

    bassaficionado6 Something about gumption

    Jan 7, 2008
    Napa, CA

    Perhaps they have too many kids that want to get into one class. That happend with our AP Gov't class.

    Also +1 on the disjointed thing. Make it flow. Like smooth jazz.:D
     
  4. Ive revised it so it flows better now.

    the paper says "...must have a B average and have a nationally-normed test score above 85%..." and then after talking about the writing part it says "Part of whether you will be admitted to the class depends on your ability to follow the directions of this assignment."

    Really its just a way to check for generally knowledge on how to write.

    There is a 150 word limit and this draft is at 149.

    I am not your typical teenager. Rather than listen to rap and rock I’d rather being listening to smooth jazz or playing in my jazz band, Sax Appeal. Instead of posters of celebrities on my walls I have three pages of quotes ranging from music to life and atheism. I play in five different groups ranging from small jazz combos to large concert bands and marching percussion ensembles. “There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.” (Alfred Korzybski). I try to not slide through life. I think that Anaïs Nin said it best when she said “When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” To find me, look for the guy who is tapping his foot to some jazz and pondering some unanswerable question.
     
  5. jwbassman

    jwbassman Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    This sentence is a bit awkward:

    Rather than listen to rap and rock I’d rather being listening to smooth jazz or playing in my jazz band, Sax Appeal

    Maybe it's the use of "rather" twice. "being" should be changed to "be"

    you may consider:

    Rather than listen to rap and rock, I perfer listening to smooth jazz or playing in my jazz band, Sax Appeal.
     
  6. Alright, my beef is mainly with the last two sentences. A quote is fine, and if you read into it enough, the quote makes sense, but it is oddly placed because it doesn't fully reflect what you were talking about. You didn't really explain it, and it is a little cryptic, especially since in the sentence after it (,the last sentence) you post a statement which is totally independent of everything. Though it is a cute little ender, it is also totally out of the blue. Maybe it is just me, but I would rework a new ending.

    This is all my opinion, I am just a college student so I don't know much you want to listen to me haha, but I think you should consider my criticisms and also a lot of the bolded changes I made to your paragraph.
     
  7. marcray

    marcray

    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    last line, shouldn't it be a question...?
     
  8. revisions.

    I am not your typical teenager. Rather than listen to rap and rock I’d rather be listening to smooth jazz or playing in my jazz band, Sax Appeal. Instead of pictures of celebrities on my wall I have three pages of quotes ranging from music to life and atheism. I play in five different groups ranging from small jazz combos to large concert bands and marching percussion ensembles. “There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.” (Alfred Korzybski). I try to not slide through life. I think that Anaïs Nin said it best when she said “When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” To find me, look for the guy who is tapping his foot to some jazz and pondering a unanswerable question.

    Thanks for the help guys.
     
  9. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I agree, though I would spell prefer correctly. ;)

    Considering that this is a paragraph that should demonstrate your writing ability, it seems a bit too much like you are trying to sell yourself. If I'm understanding correctly, the focus should be on how well you express yourself, and the actual topic(s) are really not that important.

    Perhaps instead of trying to explain a number of things about yourself, you should just pick one and show how it demonstrates what you are all about.
     
  10. marcray

    marcray

    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    an unanswerable question
     
  11. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Well, with the latest revision it should actually be "an".

    EDIT: Too slow! I am foiled again.
     
  12. Hmmmm very valid point. I will see what I can pull together on one subject.
     
  13. jwbassman

    jwbassman Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    I knew there was a reason I never won a spelling bee....;)
     
  14. I am not your typical teenager when it comes to my musical selection. Rather than listen to rap or rock, I would rather listen to jazz. Music is one the main passion in my life. I play in five different groups that range from small jazz combos to large concert bands and marching percussion ensembles. I have played a variety of different instruments and still want to learn more. I have played several brass and string instruments. I spend much of my time practicing, almost too much one could say. I rehearse with a jazz band every morning; work with the drum line two nights a week and on the weekend. I still have to manage to work in independent practice and school studies. When not practicing, I am often around town gigging with my jazz band, Sax Appeal. With out music my life would be empty.

    Getting better yet? I kinda get the feeling that the ending is choppy. This one comes in at 147 words.
     
  15. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    without is one word, not two. :p

    And this seems more like a resume than a description of yourself.

    Less "what I do" and more "why I love music" would, in my opinion, do wonders.
     
  16. While that is true, I'm not even sure how to begin to answer why I do.:p

    I should really catch these things, but I will credit it to being up for 16 hours and playing tuba, bass and sitting through the school day.:p
     
  17. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Agree on all counts. Also, the third sentence makes no sense grammatically.

    In my opinion, you are doing an OK job of explaining why you love music, but I don't see a real demonstration of writing proficiency. Mix in a metaphor, give a creative intro sentence, just something to catch the attention of the person reading this.

    From my own experience reading this type of stuff (Golden State exams, high school entrance essays) I can tell you that the person whose desk this lands on has likely read a ton of papers before they get to yours. It needs to stand out.
     
  18. derelicte

    derelicte

    Dec 25, 2007
    NJ/NYC
    I am not your typical teenager: rather than listening to rap and rock music, I prefer listening to smooth jazz. In addition, I invest my time and energy into developing my jazz band, Sax Appeal.
    The form of 'listen' should be in the infinitive to match the 'listening' on the second half of the sentence. Also, you state that "rather than listening to... i'd prefer listening to.. " adding the 'playing' throws off the balance of the verbs; listening and playing are totally different. your contrast deals with listening. adding it in later presents a new idea and gives support to your claim that you're atypical.


    I excel at playing multiple instruments in five different arrangements: from small jazz combos to large concert bands and marching percussion ensembles. Through dedication, hard-work and an unwavering notion that 'practice makes perfect', I actively pursue excellence in these various groups.
    Just thought this might spice up bland sentences, not only in word choice, but also in structure.


    While most people my age choose to idolize celebrities, I draw inspiration from the three pages of quotes tacked on my wall. These quotes have had a profound impact in cultivating my idealogy as a person and as a musician. I believe Anaïs Nin said it best: “When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.”
    Again, I'm choosing to go in another structure. I also don't feel you need to let the reader know what kind of quotes are there. By the quote you gave, we'll hope the reader draws an idea of what sort of quotes you cherish. I find the last sentence to be redundant; ending here is fine.

    Hope this helps, good luck to ya!
     
  19. OK, sounds like a plan. I think this is the last revision. I've already got two other AP classes and won't miss this one too much if I fail to get in.

    Once again thanks for all the criticism, it has helped a lot.
     
  20. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    learning to write well can never be a disadvantage.
     

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