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Annoying Ways People Use Sources, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 571

Essay

Aims

In his essay, Stedman talks about how distracting unconventional writing can be for readers. Indeed, he makes it clear that it is just as annoying as a driver who does not move out of the fast lane to give way. The author states that he is not listing rules or decrees, he simply highlights annoyances. The author would like to help students use quotations effectively, and in a way that they fit in the context naturally, and do not leave readers confused.

Methods Explained

The author (Stedman) uses powerful metaphors to represent each situation when quotation can go wrong. He uses examples, such as “not being in the right movie” or talking to Uncle Barry who is trying to impress us that he knows everything about every topic, and simply drops a bunch of unrelated information for us to pick.

One of the annoyances that the author lists is poorly introduced quotations. Indeed, it is confusing not knowing what the person’s statement has to do with the previous sentence, and readers can become annoyed. Quotations dropped without warning can also be distracting, as the reader has no idea why the quote is there, and why it is relevant. Transition between the main text and quotes is the most common fix for all the problems highlighted by Stedman. As a general rule of thumb, it is always better to start the paragraph with a quotation and expanding on it, instead of simply dropping a quote in the end of the paragraph.

Another insightful recommendation provided by the author is that quotes that simply relate to facts could always be paraphrased in order to make the text flow better, and avoid creating a list of quotes, often representing contradicting opinions or statistics. Piling up quotes makes the article or academic writing appear less professional and less original. Therefore, when quoting multiple sources, it might be better to paraphrase some of them, and only provide a direct quotation of the source that is worded the best.

For the sake of grammatical correctness, it is also important to ensure that the tense of the sentence in which the quote is included matches the quote’s. If the quotes do not fit in the grammatical structure of the text, they confuse and annoy readers. The easiest way of fixing these issues is to read the essay out loud and ensure that the entire sentence makes sense.

One of the most interesting thoughts represented by Stedman are related to the importance of citing correctly. As the author states, when writing academic papers, using the last name of the author helps readers find the source in the bibliography, should they want to look up the book or article. Further, when direct quotes are used, it is useful to provide page numbers, so the audience can check the context of the quote.

Materials Used

The final recommendation that the author (Stedman) gives readers is to ensure they use signals before they use quotations. Using the driving metaphor, he states that signaling in academic writing is just as important as it is while driving on the road. Using students’ essays as examples, the author is able to represent mistakes, without having to explain them and naming sentence structures or grammatical forms. The main rhetoric strength of the article is that it makes use of real life examples and clearly represents why each approach can confuse readers.

Works Cited

Stedman, Kyle D. “Annoying Ways People Use Sources.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing(2011): 242.

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