But Alex’s professor doesn’t like it. She underlines the very first two sentences, and she writes, “This is simply too general. Arrive at 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 into the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the very last sentence in the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make a disagreement.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is trying to instruct this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph model), it is about making a disagreement. Her first sentence is general, just how she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But through the professor’s perspective, it is far too general—so general, in reality, so it’s completely outside of the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. read more