Quick Tip: show, don't tell

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
doing_it_in_a_car
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:43 pm

Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:20 am

Hey there,

I'd like to suggest a tip that universally applies to good writing and certainly to personal statements. Show and don't tell. Imagine a stand-up comedian went up on stage, and instead of telling a joke, stood there and said "I'm very funny. I make all of my friends laugh. My mom says I'm funny." Would that convince you that the comedian was indeed funny? What if a politician campaigning for votes gave a speech and said, "I'm very intelligent. I'm very moral. I'm very honest. I'm the best person for the job." Would that convince you that the politician was any of these things?

There are plenty of in-depth guides on this topic if you just google it. I just wanted to bring this up as something to keep in mind as you're writing.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your cycles!

cgw
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby cgw » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:43 am

This is probably the single most important thing when writing a PS. It is also perhaps the hardest thing to accomplish, particularly when the subject is personal. It is really easy to forget that the person reading you're essay doesn't know everything that you do. They're not in your head; they need explicit details and connections. The trick is to constantly be thinking about this while writing. After everything I wrote, I asked myself, am I demonstrating what I'm describing? Is there a better way to demonstrate this? Would this sound persuasive to someone who knows absolutely nothing else about me? And if you find that you can't convey something with concrete examples, maybe you need to reevaluate your subject.

PRgradBYU
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby PRgradBYU » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:31 pm

Great post, OP. I heard about this concept last summer and it completely changed how I approached my PS. (Now we'll have to wait and see if it did me any good.)

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Gradvocates Editing
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:22 pm

Re: Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby Gradvocates Editing » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:44 pm

doing_it_in_a_car wrote:Hey there,

I'd like to suggest a tip that universally applies to good writing and certainly to personal statements. Show and don't tell. Imagine a stand-up comedian went up on stage, and instead of telling a joke, stood there and said "I'm very funny. I make all of my friends laugh. My mom says I'm funny." Would that convince you that the comedian was indeed funny? What if a politician campaigning for votes gave a speech and said, "I'm very intelligent. I'm very moral. I'm very honest. I'm the best person for the job." Would that convince you that the politician was any of these things?

There are plenty of in-depth guides on this topic if you just google it. I just wanted to bring this up as something to keep in mind as you're writing.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your cycles!


This is a great tip that applies to more than just personal statements. You should always strive to fully illustrate your points by using examples. An experienced lawyer does not just ask the court for relief by citing a general legal principle; instead, he or she explains how that principle was applied in cases involving similar facts, asking the court for a similar result.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby ph14 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:45 pm

doing_it_in_a_car wrote:Hey there,

I'd like to suggest a tip that universally applies to good writing and certainly to personal statements. Show and don't tell. Imagine a stand-up comedian went up on stage, and instead of telling a joke, stood there and said "I'm very funny. I make all of my friends laugh. My mom says I'm funny." Would that convince you that the comedian was indeed funny? What if a politician campaigning for votes gave a speech and said, "I'm very intelligent. I'm very moral. I'm very honest. I'm the best person for the job." Would that convince you that the politician was any of these things?

There are plenty of in-depth guides on this topic if you just google it. I just wanted to bring this up as something to keep in mind as you're writing.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your cycles!


Highly credited.

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3|ink
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Quick Tip: show, don't tell

Postby 3|ink » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:38 pm

Suggested name change: doing_it_right_in_a_car




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