Thanks ChrisLuke and Katiss for these two essays. It's a good topic.
Here we have are two similar essays, but one is much easier to read than the other, and, frankly, is much more interesting. Why is Katiss' essay easier to read? (It's the one with all the greens in the pics).
I’m going to compare some numbers in a table from the useful statistics at one of the two readability links at the top of this page- the one at read-able.com. I’ve also added two pictures of the results. Look at all the greens in the essay by Katiss.
|Number of Complex words
|Percent of Complex words
|Average Words Per Sentence
|Average Syllables Per Word
|Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease
|65.8 (higher is better)
ChrisLuke's essay is higher on almost all counts (that's not good) but the main difference between the two essays is the huge number of passive sentences in ChrisLuke’s essay. Over 40% of the sentences are passives. Here are some of the phrases:
- The controversy… has drawn much attention.
- This…is a subject that is both supported and refuted
- Both sides of the argument will be analyzed
- …before a reasoned conclusion is shared.
- It is felt that…
- it is argued that
- From this point of view, to start education at a normal age of 7 is well-advised
ChrisLuke, why use these passives? Yes, they are correct, mostly, but passives are very formal and very deadening. You are trying too hard. A lot of these passives add nothing except difficulty and pseudo-authority to your writing. You don’t need them!
Another problem is that they are very often standardized phrases: your thesis sentence could be used in a million essays! Make every sentence specific to the topic. Find out more about Thesis sentences here.
You can see more examples of tired old phrases and generic sentences here and here. Try to avoid using these phrases!
Let’s have a look at your topic sentence in the second paragraph. You wrote:
It is felt that the advantages of early admission to school are pleasantly palpable. (14 words)
Well, ‘palpable’ is a nice word, but who feels it, and what does it mean exactly? ‘Palpable’ means you can feel something, so the entire sentence means:
it is felt that going to school early can be felt, pleasantly.
Leave out the very awkward passive. Who feels? It’s an opinion essay! Give YOUR opinion, and give examples from your experience! We don’t need to know in 40% of the sentences whether other people feel/think/believe/argue/consider/say/support – it’s YOUR opinion essay.
Here are some possible rewrites for the topic sentence in Paragraph Two:
- There are many advantages of going to school early OR
- For me, I couldn’t wait to go to school OR
- I was very happy to start school early OR
- I was very lucky to be able to start school when I was only 4 OR
- Starting school early has many advantages.
Task 1 can often offer you a chance to use passives to report or describe objectively. But Task 2 is your opinion! Don’t be afraid to give it!
Pronouns: 'One' is dead. Only the Queen uses it anymore.
Who is ‘one’ in these sentences?
Firstly, a child advances one’s emotional and intellectual development. Even if one may face more difficulties and failures, the experience gained could help grow mature and sensible.
The pronoun ‘one’ in these sentences has two references. Very confusing! One is far too formal. Only the Queen uses it.
Don’t try to be complicated and fancy - just tell us your opinion about early school and give some examples from your experience. Where is the writer? Where is ChrisLuke921221?
Here’s your second paragraph:
It is felt that the advantages of early admission to school are pleasantly palpable. Firstly, a child advances one’s emotional and intellectual development. Even if one may face more difficulties and failures, the experience gained could help grow mature and sensible. Further, early education does not [just] offer the students the knowledge and social experience, but also alleviate the parents’ burden. For instance, the parents can allocate more time to their work and private life. Thus, it is apparent that the students who accept early education bear more advantages.
Here’s my rewrite. I’ve kept the same ideas, but made them into three points, not two, and each has an example or a supporting sentence. There are no passives and the sentences are shorter. Your final sentence is just padding!
Starting school early has many advantages. First, it can really help the child’s emotional development. Children at school meet new people and make new friends. Away from their family, they learn to be responsible and independent. Secondly, an early start also helps the child to grow academically and intellectually. Good schools offer many new experiences and can be more stimulating than many home environments. Finally, it’s easier for parents if children can start school early. They can do more work, have more leisure time, and be less tired when their children come back from school.(95 words, 8 sentences, 11.5 words per sentence, zero passives)
ChrisLuke - I know you are a capable writer, so I’m going to challenge you to throw away these passives and crutches and just write. How about a complete rewrite of Paragraph 3 and the conclusion?