As I am approaching graduation after five long years of college, it is hard to believe that English 200 was my first English class of my college career. I have concluded that during my four writings that there have been three areas that I needed and have improved on during this semester. Over the course of these few months, it has become apparent that my writing skills have improved in the areas of finding the appropriate target audience, finding new language to use in persuasive essays, and finally the way to format a works cited page. The appropriate target audience had been a continual problem throughout the semester. One way that has helped me solidify the target audience has been to find out who I want to hear the message I am trying to get across. The first challenge picking a target audience came during the second writing. During this writing I had prepared a response to the NCAA about college athletes going pro.
Ultimately at first I was confused with who had the ability to make these changes and the authority to go along with it. I would have to say that during all four of my writings this semester it continually came back to finding out who had the major authority within the organization or group of people I was trying to approach. After gaining some insight into who the appropriate target audience was during the second writing, it greatly affected the way that I approached the third and fourth persuasive writing assignments. I put a great deal of emphasis on who was going to be able to make a difference in the topic that I was trying to discuss. In my third writing especially I was able to come up with a target audience by first assessing what type of people I wanted to reach out to and how I was going to make that happen. My third writing was about an alternative way to dieting in the form of fasting. I found that the target audience was people that were searching for a diet in the first place and how I was going to be able to provide them with an alternative position on the topic.
The second change that has been a drastic development has been the use of persuasive language. Until this semester I have always struggled with grammar and how to make the target audience stay engaged in the writing. This language that has helped to get my point across has become stronger as the semester has gone on. This is an important aspect because it is what drives your essay to really hit your audience. Beginning with the first two writing assignments it was evident that we were going to be easing our way into the types of persuasive essays in the semester. I found that it was easier to start with an argument essay where I was able to express some of this persuasive language in a much more natural writing environment. As we approached the next three writings, it challenged me more and more to find new ways to keep the language in an engaging way for the audience.
I learned an enormous amount about persuasive language and thought that the way of easing into it throughout the semester has provided me with the tools to become a better writer in everyday life for other classes and a future career. The final improved aspect of writing had to have been the works cited page. I was unaware how important this aspect was to the paper and how to properly construct this page. I feel more confident now on the format and what information needs to be provided in this area. After getting the first writing assignment back I realized that I had no idea how to properly format the works cited page, let alone how to cite those sources in the actual writing. I had a lot of errors, for example I was unaware that I was able to use the last name of the author at the end of the cited sentence to properly give credit to the author. There were only minor improvements on the next writing which made me realize that this was an area that I was going to have to really work on.
On writing three and four I decided to put more thought into the works cited page as a whole. This was also the same time as to when we started highlighting in our sources where we found our information and whether or not we paraphrased it or took it straight from the articles. This helped make me realize which type of citations to use and when the appropriate time to use them was. I believe that the toughest part about making the works cited page is the format. While there is not a huge difference between MLA and APA, it can become confusing when two different teachers prefer different methods. Knowing the differences and correctly applying the changes was one of the aspects that I improved on greatly this semester. Over the course of the semester the works cited, persuasive language, and the target audiences have been the areas of writing needing the most improvement. I feel more confident now in picking the language and target audience, along with being able to construct a proper works cited page for these writings. As each paper came along I provided with more opportunities to learn the proper ways in which to approach these three aspects and how to put more emphasis on them.
Courtney from Study Moose
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