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Author Topic: I'm so taking advantage of my teachers "make it as short or as long as you want"
Blayne Bradley
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Basically I am writing a take home exam, some of us asked what the word/page limits were.

She said "make it as short or as long as you want just write something".

I am currently almost at 3000 words, I am so taking advantage of this!

I had to write 5 ids/short notes/etc whatever their called and 2 essay questions.

The only disadvantage is going to be the cost of printing. [Mad]

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Lyrhawn
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3000 words is what, 10 pages double spaced?

Printing shouldn't be that big a problem.

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Fusiachi
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Quantity != quality.
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Carrie
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quote:
Originally posted by Fusiachi:
Quantity != quality.

QFT.
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Samprimary
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I read this as "I'm taking advantage of an opportunity to annoy my teacher"

so yeah wtg

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Blayne Bradley
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Ended up as 4000 words, I like overwriting my essays its less work on me.
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Hobbes
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Blayne, it's possible that this is exactly the reaction you were hoping for when you started this thread. If so, please ignore the following advice.

Advertising the length of your paper is the undergraduate equivalent of listing your ... ho-hum ... Freudian girth. It smacks of egoism, and is made more foolish by speaking to a crowd that include many who write very long reports for a living. I'd advise not seeking praise for it at all; but if you must you'd have at least better probability of success asking for it directly than hinting around about it. Perhaps something like: "I'm proud I was able to write more than the teacher asked for at 4,000 words", or "I'd like to share an important, personal accomplishment from school".

Not that this guarantees accolades, but I think you've got a better shot asking for it honestly than trying to trick some rather intelligent people into complimenting you. If it takes a trick, is it really worth it anyways?

So saying all that, I'm glad you were able to express your creativity, and hope you do well on your paper. [Cool]

Hobbes [Smile]

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Blayne Bradley
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I see it as akin to walking into the living room holding up my paper in triumph.
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Tarrsk
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Ended up as 4000 words, I like overwriting my essays its less work on me.

Congratulations, you've written half an essay. If your teacher deserves the title, he'll grade you appropriately.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
I see it as akin to walking into the living room holding up my paper in triumph.

Blayne, in college I could write a 15 page paper in 3-4 hours. I could write a good 8 page paper in 12 hours. A good 25 page paper once took me 4 months.
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Dogbreath
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I can see you're excited about going above and beyond what's expected, and I don't want to discourage you, but make sure you're using all that extra space wisely.

One thing professors universally despise is padding. *If* you have enough meaningful content to fill a 10 page paper, then write 10 pages. If your ideas could be expressed succinctly in 3 pages and you pad it out to 10 pages, your professor will, at best, think you're incapable of properly excising your own work. Expect lots of crossed out lines and possibly having to rewrite your paper. At worst, he'll think of you as an insufferable sycophant and/or showoff. Expect having to work twice as hard to get a decent grade from then on.

quote:
Quantity != quality.
If someone had ever told Robert Jordan that, then the Wheel of Time would've been a single book.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
From Orincoro:
A good 25 page paper once took me 4 months.

That's where I'm at right now. In fact, as of right now, around 5am, I've been reading the Congressional Record for the last four hours in conjunction with my research of labor law reform. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. All for a 25 page paper due in eight days which I've only haphazardly actually attempted to get down on paper. Hopefully I can get this thing done by tonight (Tuesday) so I can get some feedback from my prof and others in the class before it's actually due, but man, this semester has been a real killer. 4,000 words is nothing. I have 4,000 words of notes just on Congress.

If I have all the material already read for the paper in question, I can probably produce a very good 15 page paper in five hours. If I'm just BSing something halfway decent off the top of my head, I could probably do it in one or two hours. Polishing takes time of course.

Apologies if that came off grumpier than usual. Cooing about a 4,000 word paper just strikes me in a certain negative light given the paper writing nightmare this semester has been for me, especially when you're more proud of the length than the quality. It's a lot harder to learn how to cram a 10 page paper into a 5 page paper, which is what a lot of professors demand with space limits, than it is to fluff out a shorter essay into a longer one. You've got your priorities mixed up Blayne. Learn how to write a nice, tight, succinct paper, and you'll find it's a far more useful skill.

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Orincoro
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Yeah, the actual writing of the paper was pretty swift compared to the grueling work of actually coming up with my theories and figuring out how to express them. It drove my musicology adviser mad, I do believe, that I would come in every week with 5 ideas and no more pages written. He knew I wasn't that lazy, but when you're writing an original analytical piece, it takes a lot of time just to seep your ideas out of the jumble of reading you do.

That was a weird one, because it was an original paper, and my adviser ended up actually giving a lecture on my theories, but my own thesis presentation was slightly embarrassing- I had spent so much time writing the paper, I never devoted any energy to preparing a lecture on the subject, so it ended up looking pretty amateur. But I feel justified in that my thesis presentation happened the day before my composer's concert, and the professors understood that I had spent the last few weeks feverishly revising scores and rehearsing musicians- and the concert went so well they forgave me my lackluster performance at the presentation. I have pictures of me and my partner on that day (we shared a two hour concert) and we both look puffy and pasty like Alec Baldwin on a bad day. I think everyone understood.

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Lyrhawn
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I sort of know the feeling. I had to present a first and second draft in front of a small group of 15, and I kept spending so much time on research that my actual writing was pretty awful. I mostly copy/pasted my notes into the draft and tried to clean them up a little. The result was disastrous.

I never allotted myself enough time to stop researching and start writing. And like yours, it's an original work of scholarship, so I'm sort hanging out there with dozens of pages of notes from dozens of sources and my head is spinning on how to put it all together.

On the bright side, I just finished working on the Congressional Record, which means the bulk of my research is done, hooray! I still have to go back through and type of some notes, read about a hundred newspaper articles, and double check some technical terms with regards to labor law, but I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Maybe this week won't be so bad after all.

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BlackBlade
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Good luck Lyrhawn. Your problem sounds similar to mine when writing large research papers. What makes it even worse for me is churning out the words, then looking at them and deciding that they don't adequately describe the research I just did. I think my biggest nightmare was being 90% done with a paper, then looking at my data and realizing that while my interpretation of the data was valid that I had completely failed to account for another very valid interpretation. I nearly changed my mind completely on which POV I thought was more correct, which of course would have been disastrous if I'd had to rewrite so much of the paper.

I ended up briefly mentioning the alternate approach in the paper, and hid behind the "more research is needed" statement and moved on.

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The Rabbit
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Blayne, Congratulations on having completed your essay. I hope your professor is pleased with your results. As a word of caution, longer is not necessarily better. In fact, longer is often worse if you have included information that is not directly relevant or have written your way around the question without clearly answering it.


Lyrhawn, Good luck with writing your research paper. I think the problem you are facing is an extremely common one when trying to report on original research. After all the research you've done, you have developed a "vision" of what all that data means but communicating that vision clearly and persuasively isn't as simple as seeing. Plus, there is a temptation to want to include everything you've done but doing so tends to muddy the waters making it even harder to communicate the main points.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Ended up as 4000 words, I like overwriting my essays its less work on me.

I'm the opposite. When I was in college, I had a professor who gave us papers he said had to be "between 5 and 100 pages" (because some students wouldn't let him get away with "whatever you want"). I never bothered counting words; you write whatever it takes to get your ideas across. If that turns out long, fine. If it turns out short, also fine. If I'd had a four page paper in mind, I would have turned it in to the professor, and I have no doubt that he would have been fine with it.

Blayne, you shouldn't even consider what the teacher said. It sounds like you're letting him dictate your actions.

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Blayne Bradley
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Not quite an 'essay' it was 4 IDs and 2 essays oh which no minimum or maximum amount was alloted.
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Eaquae Legit
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Blayne, Congratulations on having completed your essay. I hope your professor is pleased with your results. As a word of caution, longer is not necessarily better. In fact, longer is often worse if you have included information that is not directly relevant or have written your way around the question without clearly answering it.

This. When marking papers, one of my most common irritations was having to bracket off whole paragraphs and scribble "how is this relevant?" in the margins. Papers should be concise and to the point. If a long paper is easier, it can either be that you need the space to describe results OR that you're too lazy to edit. If you're not doing original research, it's probably the latter.

All of that aside, congrats on finishing and I hope it goes well! [Smile]


quote:
Lyrhawn, Good luck with writing your research paper. I think the problem you are facing is an extremely common one when trying to report on original research. After all the research you've done, you have developed a "vision" of what all that data means but communicating that vision clearly and persuasively isn't as simple as seeing. Plus, there is a temptation to want to include everything you've done but doing so tends to muddy the waters making it even harder to communicate the main points.
This too. Good lord I have such problems with this. It doesn't help that neither of my supervisors come from the same discipline(s) as me. We're ALWAYS talking cross-purposes and they're annoyed that I didn't follow THIS standard methodology and I'm annoyed they don't understand THAT methodology that I was taught, or something similar. A lot of our meetings end up being around these issues.

[ December 01, 2009, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: Eaquae Legit ]

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BackwardBlackbird
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What's irritating is that some teachers do consider longer to be better. Particularly my history teachers, but also some English teachers that I've had. I had to transition from last year's history teacher, who refused to accept essays longer than 3 pages, to this teacher, who won't read anything shorter than 5. To me, it's really about how in-depth the teacher wants you to go. Many of the essay topics we get people could write (and have written) books about. For me, my writing speed is definitely connected to topic.

On the other hand, good for you! Congratulations! I think finishing a mega-paper is one of the most satisfying feelings there is. [Smile]

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Blayne Bradley
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To me the longer I wrote the more time I had to elaborate my arguments and to answer the 'questions'.
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Phanto
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3,000 words is a 12 page paper. No offense, Blayne, but that's not that impressive.
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TomDavidson
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Blayne, it's worth noting that shorter papers will be easier for you to proofread.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Phanto:
3,000 words is a 12 page paper. No offense, Blayne, but that's not that impressive.

4000 words and it was 17 pages.

Also I find no issue with proofreading my work even if its longer. It is my work after all.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Also I find no issue with proofreading my work even if its longer. It is my work after all.
Forgive me, but I know for a fact that you have difficulty proofreading your own work. I cannot imagine that it is easier for you to proofread your longer pieces.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Also I find no issue with proofreading my work even if its longer. It is my work after all.
Forgive me, but I know for a fact that you have difficulty proofreading your own work. I cannot imagine that it is easier for you to proofread your longer pieces.
Huh, when? The last time I posted an essay it was because I DIDNT proofread yet and went with my brother to proofread it afterwards.

Since then I've always reread my works as I didn't realize how badly it was without proofreading it.

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Orincoro
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Tom is pointing out that nary a post of yours is free of simple grammatical errors, subject/object confusion, spelling problems, and poor sentence structures generally. You will have problems proofreading your papers if you can't actually manage to craft effective sentences most of the time.

quote:
Since then I've always reread my works as I didn't realize how badly it was without proofreading it.
This sentence, for instance, is a cluster****. If you are missing the word "written" as in, "how badly it was written," then you still have a subject/object confusion because the primary object in this sentence is "my works." You need a secondary object in the form of "that paper," or else the reader connects "how badly it was written" with "my works," even though they don't match. Furthermore, you've added "without proofreading it," which could modify either "how badly it was written" or "I didn't realize."

You do this ALL the time. You are better than you were a few years ago, when you wrote as if English wasn't your first language, but your writing is still not good.

Do you know these things Blayne? I'm not an expert on grammar, but I know how to write a sentence that doesn't utterly befuddle the person reading it.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Since then I've always reread my works as I didn't realize how badly it was without proofreading it.

Emphasis mine.

It's just a human fact that every person is the worst proofreader of his or her own stuff. That's true even of very good writers with a thorough command of English grammer, and you are not of that company.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:

That's true even of very good writers with a
thorough command of English grammer...

I don't believe that at all, unless you're just talking about things like misspelled or omitted words. Good writers can manage to write long pieces without bigger problems, even if it takes a long time. I don't think Hemingway needed his works edited for grammar.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I don't think Hemingway needed his works edited for grammar.
Well, he may have needed it, but he certainly didn't tolerate it. [Smile]
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Orincoro
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Well, in my opinion he didn't need it, is what I'm trying to say.
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Tara
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I think swbarnes2's point was that even great writers make careless errors, if not honest grammar mistakes.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Well, in my opinion he didn't need it, is what I'm trying to say.

It isn't a matter of opinion really. Did Hemmingway have an editor or proof reader? If so, did that editor/proof reader ever find errors that needed fixing? If not, are there any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors in Hemmingway's books?

You may not know the answer to those questions, but there is an answer. Speculating about what that answer may be is the same as having an opinion.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
are there any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors in Hemmingway's books?
Well, there's certainly one in Hemingway's name.
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Fusiachi
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
are there any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors in Hemmingway's books?
Well, there's certainly one in Hemingway's name.
...an Ernest mistake.
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Lyrhawn
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I should direct my grandpa here. The humor is right up his alley.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Fusiachi:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
are there any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors in Hemmingway's books?
Well, there's certainly one in Hemingway's name.
...an Ernest mistake.
Should we forgive them?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Fusiachi:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
are there any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors in Hemmingway's books?
Well, there's certainly one in Hemingway's name.
...an Ernest mistake.
Should we forgive them?
It is important.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Orincoro:
[qb]
You may not know the answer to those questions, but there is an answer. Speculating about what that answer may be is the same as having an opinion.

I'm sorry for not being clear, I believe I *do* know the answer, which is no. However I don't know where I got that information- probably a class I don't remember.
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