But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the initial two sentences, and she writes, “This is too general. Get to the point.” She underlines the third and sentences that are fourth and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I asked. What’s your point?” She underlines the final sentence, and then writes within the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the final sentence in the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make a quarrel.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to instruct this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph model), it is about making an argument. Her first sentence is general, just how she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But from the professor’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in reality, that it’s completely outside of the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. Read more