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struan80
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PostPosted: 23:10 - 05 Mar 2019    Post subject: English Ignorant Reply with quote

I left school 35 years ago with a D O-level. Most of my career was spent writing various procedures and reports. This was easy as everything had a step. It was easy to write one sentence.

How can I learn to write an essay?

Do you think the teaching of English has changed in the last 35 years? Or is it that I'm going to be ignorant forever?
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Riejufixing
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PostPosted: 23:57 - 05 Mar 2019    Post subject: Re: English Ignorant Reply with quote

struan80 wrote:
I left school 35 years ago with a D O-level. Most of my career was spent writing various procedures and reports. This was easy as everything had a step. It was easy to write one sentence.

How can I learn to write an essay?

Do you think the teaching of English has changed in the last 35 years? Or is it that I'm going to be ignorant forever?


Your "D" would probably be a pass today. You could re-do the exam., but it's not as easy as just sitting the paper. Teaching and exams. have changed, and I think it is necessary to "learn for the exam.".

I'd be inclined to look at online learning, either free, or an actual exam. course. Just having a go at essay writing would be a good start too!

Taking a course and sitting the exam. costs somewhere between £0 and about £300.

Try:

https://www.gov.uk/improve-english-maths-it-skills

(Edit: Quote: "If youíre over 16 and youíve left school, you normally do not have to pay to do: (English)", it says)


Last edited by Riejufixing on 23:59 - 05 Mar 2019; edited 1 time in total
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A100man
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PostPosted: 23:58 - 05 Mar 2019    Post subject: Re: English Ignorant Reply with quote

struan80 wrote:
I left school 35 years ago with a D O-level. Most of my career was spent writing various procedures and reports. This was easy as everything had a step. It was easy to write one sentence.

How can I learn to write an essay?



Lots of sentences, one after another...
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Ste
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PostPosted: 00:04 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Re: English Ignorant Reply with quote

struan80 wrote:
How can I learn to write an essay?

I've got some books of Teff you could study if you're interested.

Quote:
Hey, I really appreciate your replies. I'm going to save them and read them whenever I have a few doubts about motorcycling. They've really helped me understand where I should be going instead of just "winging it" as I go.

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences as well. Also, you have a very good point on the 125 being fast, it is! Faster than anything else I've had (cars don't really count I'd say). The problem's never the bike or even the outside world, It will always befall on the rider to do it right.

The riding and maintenance advice was very helpful, and even gave me a good laugh at points.

All in all, I'm glad you took the time to reply, and just wanted to assure you the words didn't go to waist.


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Sister Sledge
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PostPosted: 08:18 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^ Great advice already given.

Just to add: An essay is like a big sum - it's made of lots of little pieces and by doing each part, it grows into one long finished product.

I did night classes for computing. Previously I'd done no computer learning whatsoever at school - I took my school education towards engineering, technical skills and physics.
I was 32 when I did night classes. The reason being because my son (I was a single parent and brought him up) was now doing computing at school and he'd sometimes need help with homework - I'd not be able to help with the computing and why I did that course to ready myself.
My computing course was done after work at a local high school. It wasn't scary at all and you soon realise you're all at the same level! You know on The Vicar of Dibley when they had parish meetings around that table? That's what my class members reminded me of - it was good fun and we learnt a lot.
Now? I'm definitely no brain box with computers but I'm also not stupid. I moderate several forums too. Not bad for being a later learner.

It's great that you're thinking about gaining more skills like this. I'm a firm believer that we should always continue learning new things.
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Grubscrew
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PostPosted: 10:07 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crikey you got a D, lucky you. I took my English 6 times, and got 3 E grades and 3 Uís, ( which for those wanting to know the meaning of a U it is Ungraded!
Never passed it. Embarassed
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Nobby the Bastard
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PostPosted: 12:32 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grubscrew wrote:
Crikey you got a D, lucky you. I took my English 6 times, and got 3 E grades and 3 Uís, ( which for those wanting to know the meaning of a U it is Ungraded!
Never passed it. Embarassed


It shows.
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Jewlio Rides Again LLB
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PostPosted: 13:18 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobby the Bastard wrote:
Grubscrew wrote:
Crikey you got a D, lucky you. I took my English 6 times, and got 3 E grades and 3 Uís, ( which for those wanting to know the meaning of a U it is Ungraded!
Never passed it. Embarassed


It shows.


You don't need qualifications to do well, do you Nobby? Laughing
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Baffler186
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PostPosted: 16:42 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly, why do you need to write an essay now?

Secondly, I work with a lot of people with PhDs, Masters degrees etc. They are often quite thick when it comes to managing people and actually getting stuff done. It's the administrators with no degrees that can usually be relied upon to sort stuff out, whilst the clever bods throw their ideas around and generally make life a misery for everyone else because they are so disorganised and don't know how to interact with people.

Horses for courses, but if your course is grafting and/or getting stuff done, I would not worry about what qualifications you have.
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hellkat
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PostPosted: 17:58 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing is not to look at "doing writing" as hard.

(what people today like to call "overthinking")
If you know the subject you have to write about, you just put down what you are thinking about it.

Even if you don't know the subject, everybody has an opinion about most things, and everybody is thinking all the time.
Writing is just the act of putting it on the paper in front of you.
And creative (or academic) writing is "the art" - of making it interesting and/or understandable for other people to read.

Whilst the creative side is going on, you just bung down what comes in your head - then you can go back later to edit and move stuff.

There obviously is a certain level of strategic planning to the thing, you have to know what you want to achieve, what
to open with and lead the reader into a deeper discussion about, and then how to close.

But that's what you do when you write on a forum : gathering together the ideas you want to convey and then putting them in the right order to get your point across.

Same damn thing.
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hellkat
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PostPosted: 18:00 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

These days because you can edit, it really is as simple as writing down everything you think, and going back to edit later.

Even in English exams (and mine were in the 1970s, I always aced English) you could scribble down ideas and then put them down tidily in the right order on the exam paper.

You can even do it reasonably well whilst wankered off your tits. ^cold hard evidence in post above^
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hellkat
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PostPosted: 18:02 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baffler186 wrote:
Secondly, I work with a lot of people with PhDs, Masters degrees etc. They are often quite thick when it comes to managing people and actually getting stuff done. It's the administrators with no degrees that can usually be relied upon to sort stuff out, whilst the clever bods throw their ideas around and generally make life a misery for everyone else because they are so disorganised and don't know how to interact with people.


Holy shit, I've earned a good living out of that very premise Laughing
I do love a Prof, me.
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asta1
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PostPosted: 18:59 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Essays are easy enough, the key is in the structure, not the writing.

If I'm to do an essay, I start with a spider diagram. Write down every topic you want to cover in 5 words of less, then add in the supporting info off those points. You can also chuck in figures, references etc of these main topics to support your argument.

Next, look at the info you've compiled. This is what you are going to say, so what do you want the reader to take away? You should be able to summarise the 'point' of the entire thing in one, maybe two sentences.

Now you know where the thing is going, or what you're trying to communicate, go back to the spider plot.

You have say 10 main points, those are your main topics or sections or headings or whatever. Organise them in the best order to get your point across and write down these as bullet points. Underline them.

Now look at the supporting points of each one. Write down 2 or 3 of the most relevant ones under each underlined 'section' as defined, again as bullet points.

What you now have is a single introductory sentence communicating the point of the essay, say 10 main topics points, and 2 or 3 sub-points to make on each topic. These sub points are your paragraphs.

Now comes the easy bit. All you have to do, is take each individual sub-point and turn it into a short paragraph. Turning a bullet point into 200 words or so with a bit of exposition, some data, an opinion on the topic or whatever is easy enough to do.

Repeat for each topic.

Finally, go back to the underlined topics and turn these into a paragraph each as well. This should cover the top level info for that topic and explain how it ties into the main body of the text.

Your essay is now written. Add the original one or two sentence summary and bung it at the start of the piece. This is now your intro. Flesh it out a bit with some background on the area, the topic, why you care about it and why the reader should too.

Now take the same 2 sentence summary and do the same at the end. This is your conclusion. Flesh it out by supporting your original statement by referencing back to your main topic points from the body. The conclusion should basically tie the points together into a cohesive whole, but less is more. No more than 300-500 words or it gets confusing.

And that's it. A quick skim through to ensure it flows and check for continuity and you've won. If you're short on content, select a couple of the extra sub-points on the spider plot that didn't make it into the original plan as the top 2 or 3 sub-topics and ad them in. Too long, back to the plan and cut whichever is least useful to the overall argument.

As a side note, for a technical topic, I'd expect the initial building of the spider plot and structure to take roughly 2 or 3 times longer than writing up, so don't be too disheartened if it seems to take an age.

Once you know exactly what to say, you'll see the word count grow really fast.

So there you go. Essay writing for the OCD afflicted 101.
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hellkat
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PostPosted: 19:07 - 06 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

There ya go: Asta made some nice straightforward steps for ya to follow to essay-writing glory ... Cool Cool
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Lord Percy
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PostPosted: 07:54 - 10 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baffler186 wrote:
Firstly, why do you need to write an essay now?


For those who aren't so great at 'proper' English, it can weigh on them. Not badly, but the sense of inadequacy is there.

My mate has said a couple of times he wants to improve his English writing skills, which seems strange because his life and his work don't require it at all. I guess he just notices that the way he writes isn't quite as good as other peoples'.

Kind of like wanting to learn to swim, drive or ride a bike. Some people just want to, even if they don't really need to.
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waffles
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PostPosted: 11:10 - 10 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fishbones.

Introduction - set your scene, define any key terms, state the main points or questions that you are going to talk about but do so briefly. If you are going to use evidence or examples then outline them in your intro. This is the head of your fishbone essay.

Main body - your central theme (spine of your fishbone) will run through and your points must be connected to it. One paragraph per point. Follow PEEL to structure your paragraphs; Point, Evidence, Explain, Link. Your paragraphs should link together and then back to your central theme.

Conclusion - summarise your key points, clearly state your opinion(s), make sure that you have either answered the original question or shown evidence to support your central theme. Tie everything together to form the tail of your fishbones.

Anyone reading your work should be able to read the introduction and conclusion without the main body and still understand your position.
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steve the grease
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PostPosted: 02:04 - 25 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can sign up for an 'access to learning' course , for people who want to go to Uni. I didn't bother as I went to Uni at short notice. I think things would have been better if I had attended such a course. I completed the first year of my degree with flying colours. Back in the seventies I did English 'O' level twice, I acheived a grade 7 once and a grade 9 the second time. 6 was a pass back then.

The thing about essays it that it needs a structure, luckily with a word processor it is easy to change things around when you have a ' that bit should be there not here' moment . One paragraph should lead on from another . words like 'furthermore' 'additionally ' and ' however' are useful to link paragraphs ......I could go on.
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Hetzer
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PostPosted: 23:15 - 25 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It's easy, just do it like...."

So's playing the guitar. If you have an innate ken for it AND get gud teeching.

Those who have read absolutely shite novels, mediocre ones, good ones and the very best, know that writing is not a natural act for anyone to whom it does not come naturally. Just like any other fucking skill really. You either got it or you don't. That doesn't mean a poor writer can't be polished up a bit but he/she's never going to be a Hemingway.

But until you try you'll never know, regardless of how shite you were at it at school. Einstein was reputedly terrible at maths.
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stinkwheel
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PostPosted: 23:28 - 25 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read lots of books. You'll pick it up.

I always maintained (and still do) that English as a subject is an exercise in applied bullshit with a heavy dash of elitist snobbery.

I got 95% overall in my English Higher. I spent most of the year being thrown out of the class for being disruptive and did the literature exam on a set text I hadn't read.

I can thank the study of English for totally removing any enjoyment I may once have derived from a) Poetry (all of it) and b) the plays of shakespere.

There is nothing quite like being forced to analyse something line-by line to create a loathing of it.

It's like trying to make you enjoy riding a bike by making you sit down and calculate the compression ratio and exhaust compression wave dynamics. Yes, there is perhaps something to be learned about a bike by doing so but it does nothing for your appreciation of riding it.

I light my fire using pages torn out of second hand copies of novels by 19th century female authors (I'd use copies of the collected works of Phillip Larkin - now there was a grade A tosser if ever one existed- but you don't see them very often).

There is so much snobbery on the part of the "literati" I'm surprised they don't disappear up their own arses. "Oh, you're reading FANTASY? Why don't you try a proper book. Then hand you some piece of dreary nonsense where nothing at all happens other than the author self fornicating about how well their iambic rythm flowed.

The head of my school English department once told me that plot was the least necessary ingredient of a novel... Like there is ANY other reason for a novel to exist other than to tell a story to the reader. No plot, no-point. Not that a book with an amazing plot can't be really badly written to the point I put it down but the best written fiction in the world where nothing happens is just pointless.

I do not understand to this day why English is considered a "core" subject. The way it's taught, it gives little to no understanding of communication and structure and a whole boatload of extraneous bullshit that does nothing to further your understanding of other people or your ability to communicate with them. I swear it's been made mandatory so all the Eton-Cambridge-civil service set can feel their english and social sciences MA is actually worth something. If it was taught like foreign languages are taught, there might be some point to it. But even then.Who the hell are they to say the way I speak and write English is wrong. It's MY language.

Anyway. Good luck in studying your pointless subject. My advice is to read books. Read lots of them. If you want to get good at writing. Sit down and write. If you find you are not enjoying it, put it down and try another one. It's how you get good at English in the same way that you get good at riding motorbikes by riding motorbikes, not by measuring valve clearances.

Ooh.I got a bit ranty there eh?
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Diggs
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PostPosted: 23:42 - 25 Mar 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

To echo Stinkwheel, my kids are taught that it is more important to understand how a sentence fits together than its actual message, which I think is the wrong way of looking at English.

When I was at school many decades ago our old English teacher taught us that the best way to get a message across is to write down the main points in any order, then sort them into a logical sequence. Write an introduction that repeats the question or task so the reader is in no doubt about what you intend to communicate, then write a conclusion stating that you've achieved it so the reader is left in no doubt. A bit of filler so the main points flow and Bob's yer' uncle - you have an essay.
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Ribenapigeon
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PostPosted: 23:00 - 29 Mar 2019    Post subject: Re: English Ignorant Reply with quote

struan80 wrote:
I left school 35 years ago with a D O-level. Most of my career was spent writing various procedures and reports. This was easy as everything had a step. It was easy to write one sentence.

How can I learn to write an essay?

Do you think the teaching of English has changed in the last 35 years? Or is it that I'm going to be ignorant forever?


Grammarly. Simple. Its a sad indictnment of our times but its the way thighs are going.

Or corrected by Grammarly.

Simple. Its a sad indictment of our times but its the way thighs are going.
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kawakid
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PostPosted: 22:30 - 01 Apr 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I failed my English 5 times.

It was a pain, because I needed it for University.

In the end, private tuition was the answer, paid for by my parents.

My mistake it turned out was never reading books. I started to read and I mean really read, a book a week and I passed and got in to Uni.

I continued reading until perhaps about 3 years ago, but now I just type shxt on forums and read the Times on line, ohh and watch various sub titled stuff on Netflix.
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Jewlio Rides Again LLB
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PostPosted: 00:23 - 02 Apr 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a law degree. You'll soon be fucked off with essay writing.
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mpd72
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PostPosted: 09:19 - 02 Apr 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

So they can also make a sad attempt to pretend to be clever, by putting initials after their forum name?
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Diggs
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PostPosted: 10:08 - 02 Apr 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kawakid, we didn't do Simon's dad's drive together years ago, did we? Its a long shot but given your name and location it is just possible.
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