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How do you start writing a paper? Is "I will discuss... " okay?

bandXtrb

Banned
May 27, 2001
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In high school I heard that having yourself 'talk' in a paper is a bad idea. But I recently heard the opposite from my philosophy TA -- he wanted us to start off our papers with: "In this paper, I will discuss..." So why are there such mixed feelings about it? Sounding conversational is a bad thing? Am I supposed to ask each teacher what he or she wants every time? :disgust:
 

brtspears2

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2000
8,659
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I did that last quarter in my phil class in college. Got hung. Lucky I got a rewrite on it.

If teacher/instructor/professor/TA says to start that way, follow their guidelines!

 

Azraele

Elite Member
Nov 5, 2000
16,515
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In my experience in college, each professor wanted a different thing when it came to papers. One accepted only footnotes done in a precise way, for example.

There are standard guidelines of course, but if a teacher wants you to adapt them toward what they want, just do it, but bear in mind that what one professor wants to see may not be the same with another.

And you're right, generally using "I" in a paper is a no no.
 

Buddhist

Golden Member
Jan 15, 2000
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"In this paper, I will discuss..."

I personally think thats a poor form of opening a paper as it REALLY doesn't do anything to grab the attention of the reader... but if thats what your teacher really said to do...do it for s/he's class and ONLY that class cause papers that start with "In this paper, i will discuss..." are really weak openings...

Just my opinion...

-M.T.O
 

Soccer55

Golden Member
Jul 9, 2000
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The best thing to do would be to write your paper and ask your professor if you could talk to him/her about it. Bring it to his/her office, let him/her give it a quick read and ask for suggestions on how to improve it. I don't know that all professors will do that, but the ones I have had thus far have been more than happy to sit down with me for a half hour and help me with my paper. That way, you can find out what they want in the paper, AND it shows them that you want to do well on the paper, care about the class, etc (regardless of whether or not that's the truth, that's how it comes across to the teacher). If your professor won't meet with you, then just see if you can ask a few questions. It goes a long way, and sometimes can be the difference between say a B+ and an A-.

-Tom

EDIT: FWIW, I would not use "in this paper I will discuss....." as an opening
 

stingbandel

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2000
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just follow what the teacher wants. It doesn't matter which one is right. To determine if it's right or not wait til the class over and see your grade. A means you are totally right. C means you don't do it right. :)

Darno
 

perry

Diamond Member
Apr 7, 2000
4,018
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My professors would laugh in my face if I turned in a paper using the word "I" in it. There are ways around using "I", just gotta be creative.
 

bigbootydaddy

Banned
Sep 14, 2000
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yeah, never use "I", if you have to, replace it with one.

I always used a smart question, as an attention grabber. so i started with a question, whether based on an interesting fact or whatnot. but be careful, if you grad the readers attention, your paper better be good or else will be left dissappointed.
 

shopbruin

Diamond Member
Jul 12, 2000
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in many of the articles that i read for classes arguing something this way or that the writer will usually go "i will prove that blah blah blah"

as everyone said, if the ta wants it, write it that way. they can be really picky about things. also realize in a large university the TA is probably grading at 60 some odd papers at once.

usually professors/ta's will talk about the format that is acceptable. there's also this concept... its called "office hours." go talk to the ta/professor there and ask for any specific guidelines you should follow.
 

bandXtrb

Banned
May 27, 2001
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"office hours"?

Fascinating..



No, I would definietly ask in specific situations, I just wanted to know generally.
 

BigSmooth

Lifer
Aug 18, 2000
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I never referred to myself (the writer) as "I" in my papers unless specifically instructed to do so by a professor. You should avoid doing that.
 

dafatha00

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
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I took philosophy last quarter and it seems appropriate to being your paper stating your opinion. Normally, its a bad habit to use first person though..
 

bmd

Golden Member
Feb 17, 2001
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Buddhist:


<< do it for s/he's class >>


Obviously you are an expert on how to write. =P jk ;) :p
 

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