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Say "NO" to plastic bags

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  • Essay length: 909 words
  • Submitted: 21/02/2011
  • Reviewed by: (?) parataxis
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GCSE Writing to Argue, Persuade and Advise

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The first 200 words of this essay...

Say 'NO' to Plastic Bags!

Gone are the days when our grandmothers used cloth bags and straw baskets to carry the grocery while going around in the market. For small items there were brown or newspaper bags, but now whether you buy clothes, groceries, meat, books or buttons, the shopkeepers only use plastic bags for the items.

Have you ever wondered the beneficial and dangerous side of using plastics? I have and I have found that plastics are very harmful to the environment, even though they are very useful to carry things around. You must be wondering how just a plastic bag, can be so detrimental to the environment. Allow me to tell you how.

Plastic bags are cheap and are light in weight. They are also water and chemical resistant and require less energy in manufacture.1 These are the advantages of using plastic bags, but above all these benefits they are still very harmful to the environment!

Let's begin with a story to give you all an idea what actually happens when you just throw away a plastic bag, without considering what harm it can cause.

A young boy asks

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Review of essay

Reviewed by: parataxis

Rating: 4 star(s)

Response to the question

This is an appropriate response to the set question which develops a detailed line of argument relating to the pros and cons of plastic bags. Numerous examples are used throughout in order to better substantiate the candidate's claims. The response opens with an impartial and effective introduction - I particularly like the image of "grandmothers [and] cloth bags" which is easily identifiable character to the majority of readers.

Level of analysis

The embedded narrative in paragraph five is an interesting addition to the piece; it adds a (perhaps unintentional) element of humour using the metaphor "bag of death". The story has a hyperbolic feel about it also which contributes to the general line of argument expressed that plastic bags are a terrible creation. The comparative statistic "whale is killed by a bag... one-thousandth of its size" is well-used, making the response read far more authentically. The candidate concludes strongly, with the suppositioning clause "if you have the guts to say 'NO'..." which leaves the reader with a somewhat 'niggling' conscience!

Quality of writing

Spelling and punctuation is largely faultless, with only a few minor inaccuracies as with "whale [then] mistakes it" which is not grammatically sound. However, the candidate is penalised for using exclamatory statements excessively, which impedes upon what is otherwise a finely polished essay. In paragraph eleven alone, we observe five instances of this, which then renders the device obselete - save exclamation marks for genuinely shocking statements. In order to develop what is a short conclusion, the candidate could consider explaining the terms "reduce, reuse and recyle" and perhaps offering examples of ways in which this can be achieved, for example, using charity shops instead of "evil" high street commercial giants. Or it is certainly my experience that during school I was bombarded with recycling propaganda often in the forms of jingles which could offer a dynamic ending for this response.

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