First, thank you to everyone who sent submissions. I really appreciate it.

Second, there are no “right” answers. Essays are about having the skills necessary to participate in an ongoing conversation. Testers who think there is a “right” answer (subconsciously if not overtly) are introducing their own biases into the system. That’s a flaw in testing, not the ideal result.

So, let’s begin.

Submission #1

Yes, cell phones are good for society. We can’t live without a cell phone, these days. It is very useful in times of emergency. For example, if our car breaks down on the way to work, and there’s no public phone, we can use a cell phone to call our friend to lend a hand, or to call our workplace telling someone that we’re in in hot water, and couldn’t make it to work at some time sharp. Today, even children have a cell phone. I think that is positive, because their parents could ensure their safety, particularly, when they are out with their friends going somewhere, or to school. A cell phone is also very useful, when there’s an accident, we can call the authority for help.

With a cell phone, we could stay in touch with our family and friends. It is a form of communication that bridges everybody, no matter whoever they are or wherever they may be. Obviously, it is way quicker, than snail mailing or telegraphing. In fact, it is also more convenient to speak with someone, through a phone call than e-mail. It is also a form of two-way communication that enables us to get information and response, immediately. Therefore, it is more effective and efficient, though it is a little costly. Besides, today’s cell phones resemble computers more than they ever used to be. So, they are smarter and better. Gadgets such as i-Phone, Blackberry and other smart phones, have become so powerful. They are almost like a computer that we can put in a pocket. Even some gadgets could do more tasks than a computer.

In a nutshell, a cellphone is not just a communication tool, but also a tool for work and learning.

Comment #1

The only real problems here are in terms of structure. On a formal test (which this is not, mind you), the lack of a clearly defined introduction and the conclusion being well-defined, but only one sentence, would cause a lower score.

In addition, let’s take the second sentence.

Before: “We can’t live without a cell phone, these days.

After: “These days, we can’t live without a cell phone.”

For the third sentence, we’d want to change to “They are very useful in times of emergency.” Cell phones = plural.

These are minor issues.

The Good:

  1. Clarity. I have absolutely no difficulty understanding the writer’s intent, or the content of his position.
  2. Active voice. Proper use of “I think” when referring to the self is great to see.
  3. Authoritative tone. Proper use of the 3rd person when writing about facts. Again, good to see.

Also, “In a nutshell” was used correctly.

Nitpicks:

Besides, today’s cell phones resemble computers more than they ever used to be.” <- The “be” is redundant. “ever used to” conveys the same message with one less word. As a result, we should eliminate the “be” part, solely because it is unnecessary.

It’ll come up on tests, so I mention it here for everyone to see.

Overall:

By the standards of writing to convey a message and writing for the real world, this is undoubtedly a good essay. I point out the minor shortcomings only to encourage even better writing, especially for formal tests.

Stay tuned for the next posts! There are two more submissions for this topic, but we’re already at over 600 words so I’ll do one blog post each.