Essay Myths Debunked
When I was a junior in high school, I had an English teacher who left such an impression upon me with all the essays she assigned us to do. So naturally, I grew to hate essay-writing. My teacher had given us that standard five-paragraph essay formula and all those stuff in-between any high school student should be familiar with. My teacher insisted that if we followed this formula, our essays would turn out fine. Well, I thought my essays were dry as hell, but I was the student and she was the teacher, so who was I to argue?
It wasn't until I stumbled upon this website that I started to think essay-writing can actually be fun. Just as I had suspected, like everything else, anything from high school is applicable only in high school. In the real world, meanwhile, the possibilities are limitless. There are no rules! You are free to express yourself in any way you want.
So what are those "stuff in-between" I mentioned earlier that are true only when you're in school?
"You need an introduction, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion." Lies. I've seen essays scattered here on this website that consist only of one, two, or three paragraphs, and they do just fine. Although their contents are often times generalized and banal, we get what the author is trying to say just fine, and that's the whole point of having an essay written, right?
"You need a thesis." Yeah, right. Theses are overrated. I never get what we need that one sentence that states our opinion on a certain subject for. If you talk constantly about something and kind of refer to what you think about it, won't the readers eventually get the idea what the essay is all about?
"You need to plan your essay carefully." Why? Most essays here on this website do not take even fifteen minutes of the author's life, and while they are flowered with multiple grammer errors and mispellings, that's all right because content is all that matters. Those silly mistakes are absolutely ignorable and do not at all take away the credibility of the argument as long as it sounds intelligent and well-thought out.
"You can't be ambiguous." My teacher liked to take a mark off every time we use words such as "thing" and "stuff" and all that junk. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. As fellow human beings, wouldn't it be safe to assume that the authors are pretty much on the same page with the readers, and that they can understand what they're trying to say?
"You can't use personal pronouns." Oh, this one is my teacher's favorite pet peeve. The moment she spotted any "I," "you," and "we" in an essay, she would refuse to read the whole thing unless those pronouns are within quotation marks. But it's so silly. We're trying to convey our ideas to other people, after all, so how can we do without occasionally referring to ourselves and the other guys?
"You can't use informal/spoken language." I haven't ceased wondering why, if we're allowed to speak in a certain way, we can't write in that exact same way. How is spoken English different than written English, pray tell? Besides, the supposedly "correct" written English can sound pretentious sometimes. For example, who really refers to "everyone" as "he or she"? It's so much easier to lump everyone together and call them for what they are: "they." Vulgar language is also supposed to be a no-no, which is weird, considering how effective bad words can be in strengthening our points and stuff.
"You can't go off-tangents." But that anecdote that just crossed my mind is so interesting and funny! I'm sure my readers would want to know all about it. Besides, I'm just flexible; a-ha, maybe that's why I refuse to have one of those constraining theses.
"You need a catchy title." No, no, no. What you need is a catchy subject. You can be extremely witty with your title, but if your subject is boring to begin with, no one's going to read your essay once they find out what it's about. But mention something about, say, God or homosexuality or abortions or those other controversial issues, and you're guaranteed readers. Even if your title begins with "Why ::insert random opinion here::."
And these still arenot everything I've learned. Man, writing an essay is so easy and entertaining! If only my teacher had taught us how to write essays the real world way—as opposed to the high school way—probably more of us would consider essay-writing as a career. Ooh, and by the way, do you know what the best part of writing essays on this website is? REVIEWS. Oh, those supportive fellow writers and their long-awaited comments. Of course, what with the state of a typical essay found here, who can blame them for not being able to offer more helpful criticisms?