Summary “How to Say Nothing in Five Hundred Words” by Paul Roberts Srudents face different issues related to the matter of writing successful college essays. According to the author of “ How to Say Nothing in Five Hundred Words,” these issues are focused on the way students approach and make a subject interesting. Many subjects that students have to write about do not have enough information to develop the essays and make them absorbing for the reader. Also, the author explains that students write essays using obvious content to support their ideas which many others students have already used.
As a result, the essays cannot be original and leave the readers or professors thirsty for more. Avoiding these trite points and coming out with new ideas can help the writer improve and engage his or her audience. Another important way to generate better papers is by taking the less common side in a subject that students need to write about. Students sometime select the easier topic over the harder ones, however, the hardest topic can provide more interesting material to be developed.
It becomes easier to clarify different points of view if it hasn’t been done as frequently by other students and authors.
Students should try developing their arguments without worrying about the beliefs and opinions of the instructor. Nonetheless, the arguments should still be in the educational context educational and respectful. Essays have to convince the instructor. However, students put all of their attention on the broad and inefficient essence of the subjects they write about.
Students have to go from a general statement to more particular matter of the writing. Trying to avoid abstract concepts that don’t say anything concrete is recommended. An idea needs to be followed with relevant examples.
Padding can destroy any good piece of writing, so it has to be used in the right way in order to contribute real content. Otherwise, students should get rid of the padding. Those who want to use padding need to do a first draft and then find the details that connect ideas and make the writing stronger. The idea is to illustrate the topic with meaningful content. To be remarkable in a way that causes a strong impact on the reader is to call things by their names. Students have to have clear in their mind on what they want to say and how they will say it with determination and conviction.
Writing is an emotional tool whose principal function is to show the author’s emotion. Good writers avoid using pat expressions which are associated with and appeal to common knowledge. Phrases such as “the pure and simple truth”, “ stand up and be counted”, “told him time and time again”, and so forth do not contribute to essays. There is a risk that the reader does not know the meaning of such phrases causing a misunderstanding. Using the right or colorful words is another way to create a successful essay because these words can produce clear images or feeling to the reader.
The problem is that colorful words are correlated to the frame time of the piece, so some words that used to work have changed over time. Students should be aware that some readers would have trouble associating these words to a mental picture and therefore have trouble connecting to the writing. In addition to colorful words, there are colored words which readers interpret to have either good or bad meanings. Depending on the context, the colored words are words that readers see and associate to their own contexts.
For example, the use of words like “mother” or “mother-in-law” is totally distinctive. While the word “mother” is associated for most people with home, safety, and food, the word “mother-in- law” generates in the reader negative associations even if it is used in a good context. Finally, the most current issue that students have is with descriptive and meaningful vocabulary words. They write with “colorless” words which are words used in casual conversation. These colorless words do not fulfill the reader, and he or she is left feeling unsatisfied about the piece of writing.