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Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Day

Good morning and welcome to English 101, "Introduction to Writing."  This is the textbook we'll be using for this class.  It contains various pieces of writing.  Say "Hello,"  There, you've now been introduced to writing.  Ha ha.  OK, seriously.  In this class, you'll be learning how to write essays.  Now, the most important thing to know about essays is this: Nobody reads essays.  I mean, nobody really reads anything anymore, but seriously no-body reads essays.  Even I don't read essays!  Except yours, of course, but that's because I'm paid to read them.  Normally, you couldn't pay me to read essays!  Unless they're about unicorns or something.  What?  No, you can't write about unicorns. 

Anyway, the first thing you need for an essay is a topic.  Well, the second thing you need is a topic.  The first thing you need is a pen.  And paper.  So the third thing you need first is a topic.  Like unicorns.

After you have your topic, you write your introduction.  An introduction is like a beginning.  All essays need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  Not necessarily in that order.  You also need a thesis statement.  This is where you tell your reader what the main point of your essay is.  Now, when you write your thesis statement, you need to make sure that it is appropriate.  You need to make sure, for example, that if you take your thesis statement to a fancy dinner party it won't stick its elbows on the table or slurp its soup.  Your thesis statement also needs to be specific and arguable.  So you could write, "Unicorns are delicious," but this would prove nothing except your utter inability to write a thesis statement: "Delicious" is not specific enough.  You could write "Unicorns taste like mangos," but then I would laugh at you because you have merely stated a fact and therefore not composed an arguable thesis statement.  What's that?  No, "Unicorns don't taste like mangos" is still a statement of fact even though it's wrong.  I would hurl your paper back at you, and if I hit you in the face and gave you a paper cut on your cornea, you'd have no one to blame but yourself.

No, an appropriate thesis statement for this essay would be "Unicorns provide a nutritious and delicious alternative to many high-fat ingredients in Italian cuisine."  Specific and arguable.  But you still can't write about them.

In our next class, we'll discuss the body of the essay, which is very similar to the human body, only without quite as much cellulite.

1 comment:

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