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09/08/2019

My professor gave me a bad grade for my essay?

QUESTION
My professor gave me a bad grade for my essay?
I just entered my 2nd semester of freshman year in college. Last semester I did really well and I have a 3.9 GPA right now. But I got my first essay back from my english professor (we had to analyze and make a thesis of our opinion). I analyzed the poem and made my thesis something about the poet’s life that related to the poem, but my professor said I did not connect them together, but I did… Anyways, she gave me credit for it but no grade. She said if we got no grade, it means we basically failed the essay but that she will not count this one. I honestly thoght I did a good job analyzing and stuff and I even went to her after class and she said I need to work on my writing (a lot). THat was the first time ever hearing that. I got a 10 on my SAT essay and all my other writing assignments throughout my school years, they were all pretty decent. Maybe I just suck at analyzing literature? I don’t know, but how do I improve if I just naturally suck at writing about other pieces of work? I’m scared for the next papers in this class and don’t know what to do

ANSWER
“I did a good job analyzing and stuff” – this is exactly why your writing skills aren’t on a college level. “And stuff”. You are also numerous several commas in your mini-essay here, have structural errors, and you have sloppy word choices.

You go back in and talk with her again. As suggested already, you ask specific questions and don’t get defensive. She says you didn’t “connect them together”. Tell her what you thought you were doing and ask how you could have improved that to make the connection more apparent.

To work on your writing, read it out loud. My guess is that you use slang and sloppy word choices regularly. I’m also guessing that you aren’t great at punctuation. I’m not even talking super technical stuff for you; your biggest glaring punctuation issue is your inability to create clauses and pauses using commas and the likes. No more “and stuff” and “anyways” and beginning sentences with But and laziness and redundancies. This is English class, not a forum, not texting, not e-mailing your mom.

See if anyone in the class is interested in a study session. See if there are tutors (like grad students) who can help you or the study group. Bring in rough drafts and have someone else read them out loud. Have each student grade another student’s work. Pay attention to the mistakes you are making and fix them in your daily writing.

At least once a week I correct someone’s English on here and I either get a TD or I get a “This isn’t english class” or even “You are stupid I don’t write like this in class and fu(k you for saying that moron”. What these folks seem to miss is that when someone is having problems in a writing situation, it starts with casual writing. Clean up your act everywhere and you won’t have to spend half a day putting commas into run-on sentences in your essays.

You are a far better writer than many of the 18-20 year olds we see on here, so that’s something. However, you also have dozens of easy errors just in your 214 words here. I’m not talking about minutiae, but basic structure. You can fix these with practice and by learning how to recognize the errors.

Good Luck