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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

English Is Basically Maths - And We Can Prove It (with Mod A John Keats' Sample Paragraph Idea)

Woah, english and maths are completely different, right? One of them makes sense and the other one doesn't. Well my friend, don't be so quick to judge. We're going to be looking at how rules in Maths can help you understand English essays better.

Rule 1. Simplify things where you can.

Sometimes you could present your answer in a complicated way, and have a lot more information, but simplifying it will allow you to understand it better.

Take the equation:

You could write it this way, or you could simplify it to:

(Of course in simplifying it you're losing some information, you miss the fact that that x cannot be 2. But you can easily place a bracket next to it to remind yourself of that fact, just like you can use a short sentence to supplement your previous one in essays)

The following 2 expressions are equal, yet which one allows you to understand the relation better:



Which one is it easier to get the relationship from? That's why in Maths you are always required to simplify your answer.

Do the same thing for english. Strip your writing to the bare bones, abandon nuances to get to the point.

Don't say:

His hand resting on the gun represents his ambiguous relationship with violence, his desire to grip it is shown through the metonymy of his gesture as a desire to utilise violence, yet his inner reluctance towards moving towards this path is revealed in the inertia of the shot and the metonymy of the distance between his hand and the gun.

There are way too elements here. Your marker will have trouble understanding this. Instead write something simpler:

His inability to grip the gun is a metaphor for his reluctance to embrace violence.

The point is much clearer here. And ultimately that's what's important.

Of course there are limits to this. You need nuances, you cant be too simplistic in your analysis. But be careful, be too complicated and it'll be impossible for your reader to know what you mean.

Rule 2. Proofs are logical and each line is a result of the one before it.

There are a few steps to a good proof:

1. Your end goal should be stated in a brief and concise manner. Your marker knows what you're proving.

2. You need an axiom (a starting point). This is the information that you are about to break down, to work on. You're letting people know where they are starting. In English, this is your context sentence.

3. You reaffirm what you wanted to prove in the end, like a ∴ statement in Maths. This is your concluding sentence.

Context is the axiom of your argument

The entire proof should be presented as clear statements so the marker can follow it easily.

Your arguments should be clear steps following each other. In the maths proof we see a few things. We see that the steps clearly follow from each other. We can see why one is needed to get to the next and how it follows from the previous step. In order for the argument to make sense we need to see its progression.

Your argument should be clear steps which form a progression.

English arguments are the same. They need to be clear steps, which follow from each other.

Each step should also take us closer towards the final goal. In the maths proof, each step is a stepping stone towards the final proof, building to demonstrate the thesis. The same should also be true in english, the steps take you to the thesis, and prove it to be true.

Our English Proof, based on John Keats' Poetry:

What I will prove: Through the portrayal of anti-establishment ideals, Keats assert that the relationship human life has with the mysteries of nature triumphs over social convention.

Axiom (Context): Keats, as one at the forefront of the retrospectively named Romantic Movement, perceived nature to be the centre of all meaning and experience

Proof Line 1: His obsession with the imperfections and subjective appeal of experiences is captured in his subversive description within To Autumn [requires PETE here].

Proof Line 2: Keats' belief that nature’s mystery is what truly makes art worth observing and questions worth asking is asserted through Ode to an Grecian Urn [PETE required].

Conclusion: ∴Keats' acclaim for nature's imperfections and mystery reflected his Romanticist rejection of technological progression.

Don't let the long paragraphs daunt you - break it down and you will see that it's just another proof!

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