Help! Quoted material in a paper and more…

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Chrissteeena, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    Jul 27, 2010

    One of my co-workers asked me to help him proofread/edit his paper for his English class. I agreed and started looking it over on my lunch today. He had already told me he doesn't like English because he can't seem to write out his thoughts and have it make sense. I wasn't too sure what I would be in for when I looked at his paper.

    The idea of it is actually pretty good. He had to use the movie Lethal Weapon to describe the Beauty and the Beast complex, which I think is very well done (and for some reason made me want to watch Lethal Weapon and Beauty and the Beast:whistle:).

    HOWEVER…… he likes commas. A LOT of commas. He uses a comma in place of a period because he is afraid that his teacher won't realize his thought continues (his words not mine).
    :crosseyed

    He also has TWO full pages of quoted material. Again all of this is separated by commas. There is one period in the entire first massive paragraph.

    I feel like I'm not explaining things correctly. I've tried to explain the commas, the use of and (he uses that a lot also), and the two pages of quoted material to explain two sentences is probably not necessary.

    I know he has a disability, etc (which I won't get into). I just don't want to make him feel like he isn't doing it right (because he is doing the assignment his professor gave him), it's just the use of commas and lack of periods… ACK! Is there anyway I could explain it to him better?

    :help:



    :sorry:if what I said at the end made no sense. I was trying to make it, make sense.
     
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  3. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Does his school have a disabilities service department that can set him up with a tutor? Mine did. We also had writing labs that would work with people and their papers.
     
  4. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    Jul 28, 2010

    Maybe you can help him switch some of the problems by using a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb; moreover, this would explain that it will allow his thought to continue. Ask him to combine sentences to make compound-complex sentences, rather than several simple sentences in a row. If he's in college, you really need to explain that comma splices can lead directly to an "F". An occasional use of a dash may be appropriate to continue his train of thought, but would still be inappropriate in excess. It is not usually a good idea to use such long quotations because many teachers will see this as padding the length of the paper, rather than an extended description. Quotations should normally be included withing a sentence, or followed by an explanation showing their relevance to the thesis. If you can't convince him of this, be sure that he follows the rules for long quotations for MLA. This is one of my favorite resources: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03/. However, this example is a simplified version: http://www.dianahacker.com/pdfs/hacker-daly-mla.pdf. Good Luck!
     
  5. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jul 28, 2010

    Can you just tell him that his work is excellent, but to get the grade it deserves he needs to revamp part of it? I helped a 60 year old who was starting back to college. He had writing issues. Many that you described and more. He gave the paper to me because he thought I was smart, doc. (His words.) He was accomplished in life, but felt very inadequate because he lacked a degree. I faced your dilemma--how much help, how to minimize embarrassment, etc. Ultimately, I just marked all the places for punctuation as though I were an editor. I also wrote on the top how much I enjoyed his ideas and that I felt he had a great way of expressing them. I told him I was adding the details that would just give the paper some polish. When we met face to face, I explained the same thing. He took it well. He thanked me for being honest. By the time we finished speaking, he understood that I was merely enhancing what he had done. I also told him that since he hadn't been in school for so long, he was rightfully out of practice in the details of punctuation, misplaced modifiers etc. He was happy when we were done. That was the only time we did that. (I would have helped him further, but he had passed away before he could complete anything else. What a great guy he was---I hate cancer.)
    Anyway, I think honesty and extra help will get him on the right track. Hopefully, he can catch on.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 28, 2010

    Joyful- that's a lovely story. :love:
     
  7. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Thanks. I'm glad I got to mention him. He's been in my thoughts this week. His wife celebrates her birthday this week and I know she misses him most now. He was a great guy. That experience reminded me of the brevity and fragility of life. It continues to remind me that my ability to be a blessing to others as a teacher is not confined to the classroom.
     
  8. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    Jul 28, 2010


    I was helping him with his paper again today. It was the last day, considering it was due in his class tonight. I explained to him why commas were not to be used in excess, he seemed to understand. I'm hoping he didn't just tell me he understood and doesn't though. I also explained to him why he shouldn't have two (it actually turned out to be three and a half after he finished his paper) of direct quotes.

    Since we were slow at work today, I worked with him as he told me what he wanted to write. I told him to use quotes but paraphrase and describe what's going on and then link it to the beauty and the beast concept. It turns out that he ended up with more material that way then completely quoting the movie.

    He also told me that the direct quotes were because he had a page count- it made it longer! :dizzy:
     
  9. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    Jul 28, 2010

    The story about the 60 year old you helped, that's a wonderful story. I'm so sorry he passed away.

    I get the feeling that my co-worker feels like can do it but can't do it; at the same time. From his paper I could tell he knew exactly what he wanted to say, he just had the hardest time putting it down without it being one massive sentence, etc. I had to remember the he came to me for help, so he knew he wanted it. In the end I think he got what I was saying. I told him that I loved his paper, but he needed to not use so many commas, add periods, and not have two or more pages of direct quotes. Since we re-worked it together [trying not to let people know since we were on the clock] he seemed to get the concepts I was talking about. Understood why I suggested ending a sentence in one spot or continuing it in another. I've given him a grammar guide which I used when studying for certain tests and I will write out other information for him so he has it for other classes. I just hope he uses it.
     

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