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Leah Baker English Comp 1210 Critical Analysis September 28, 2011 Critical Analysis of an Ineffective Essay Author, Harriet Davids, of “The Extended School Day” believes all elementary schools should adopt an extended school day policy. Davids main ideas focus on the safety of the children, whether it be in the care of a nanny or home alone, safety is the number one priority. Davids not only states that an extended school day will be beneficial to the parents and the students, but also the teachers and staff involved in the after school programs.

In an affective essay there are seven essential elements that must be followed to skillfully create a forceful essay. Unfortunately, Davids lacks many of these elements in the entitled essay, “The Extended School Day”. The title of an essay should prepare the reader for the context of that essay, and, it should also state the personal position of the author. “The Extended School Day” does effectively prepare the reader for the topic of the essay, but lacks the personal opinion of Davids, which is essential when creating an appropriate title.

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An example of a proper title for this essay would be, The Advantages of an Extended School Day, which adheres to both aspects of an effective title. Another essential element of an essay is unity and coherence. This means that the author should keep the topic of the essay on one idea and keep sentences and paragraphs flowing in the right direction. Davids, although keeps the essay on one topic, fails to have effective paragraph and sentence flow. David creates weak flow between paragraphs two and three especially, and also between paragraphs four and five.

Paragraphs should flow gently into one another, but in the examples given above, Davids jumps from topic to topic, making it difficult for the reader to follow. Instead of going from the topic of children’s safety to the fact that many children dislike school; Davids should create a transition sentence at the end of paragraph two. An example being, “not only will parents benefit from extended school days, but children will too”. Adding a sentence such as that connects the paragraphs creating much needed flow. Unfortunately unity and coherence aren’t the only elements wrong with Davids’ sentences.

One of the most important components of an effective essay is effective sentences. Effective sentences are defined as complete thoughts. They should not consist of run on or incomplete sentences, poor grammar or incomplete thoughts. Effective sentences allow the reader to focus on the essay topic and understand the point of view instead of getting lost in the long sentences. Davids makes many careless errors when developing her sentences, many of them being fragments. As an author, Davids should automatically know not to start a new sentence with and, which she does several times throughout.

Instead of using ‘and’ Davids could have created compound sentences. Davids word choice also takes a toile on the effectiveness of the essay. Using words such as ‘they’ repeatedly (in paragraph two) makes for a chaotic ineffective essay. Finally, a conclusion paragraphs function is to summarize the main points of the essay. Davids, instead, chooses this time to add another point to her persuasion, talking about the great expenses of an extended school day. She chose not to summarize the original ideas what so ever, leaving the reader only to guess that the essay was over.

If it wasn’t for the fact that it was the last paragraph published, the reader would have never been able to label it as the conclusion. Davids essay “The Extended School Day” lacks many of the seven essential elements for an effecetive essay. She fails to state the opinion of the essay in the title keep unity and coherence throughout, create effective sentences, and end the essay with an effective conclusion. Over all, Davids essay can be classified as ineffective according to the seven essential elements.


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