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Student Composition:
Self confidence, you help me a lot

(See Corrections and Revised Composition Below.)

My friends often ask me the same question “why are you so (1) blithe all day?” I think the answer is simple --- (2) it owns a great debt to self-confidence.

(3) When it comes to self confidence, someone will call it (4) “conceited” and I guess it is, but it really makes me feel at ease (5) I am doing something.

I still remember my first experience of an English Competition: 3 years ago, I was (6) singled out by my classmates to take part in a Speaking-English competition. When I went up to the stage, I had butterflies in my stomach. All at once, my mother’s words came to me. “If you want to do something with style, it costs nothing but self confidence.” Since I had the chance to stand here, it meant that I had the ability. (7) “Restore to balance.” I said to myself. “Don’t you forget that you have (8) drawn yourself in preparing this competition for a long time? You are the best.” Strangely, my nervousness vanished after I flattered myself. I began to speak. The feeling was wonderful. All the (9) audiences applauded after my speech. I was successful!

The self confidence helped me (10) win the success. My courage and optimism are all based on it. We will be faced with different difficulties occasionally and unavoidably in the future. If we come to terms with them, we are (11) bound to fail. Taking it for granted that we are capable of handling them will (12) benefit to build up confidence and success.

My friends, why not have self confidence? We are not (13) the most excellent, but we always do out best to achieve our aims, don’t we? Self confidence will add happiness (14) into our own lives.

Joe's Comments

The writer's sentence structure is not too bad, so the message is communicated fairly effectively. However, the misuse of many words and expressions sounds strange and is often confusing.

(1) The word blithe is used today only in certain, limited expressions, and then mostly in written English, not spoken English. The writer's friends will more likely say "carefree". Also, instead of "all day", the writer's friends probably mean "every day".

(2) The expression is "owe a debt", not "own".

(3) The whole phrase is unnecessary. It would be better just to say "Some people may call self-confidence 'conceit'".

(4) The noun form is "conceit". In addition, it seems strange to say "someone will". It's a possibility, not a certainty, so "someone may" is better.

(5) A clause connector is missing here. Perhaps the writer meant to use "when I am doing something". Also, "something" is too vague. The writer could improve it by changing it to "when I am trying to accomplish something" or "when I have a difficult task to face", etc.

(6) "Be singled out" is a special expression that should be used only in special situations. It gives the impression that something is either extremely good or extremely bad. The simple word "chosen" is more appropriate.

(7) "Restore to balance" has no meaning in English. "Unbalanced" in English can mean "crazy", so I don't think it's safe to write something like "become balanced". "Balance yourself", on the other hand, sounds like a physical action. A common expression used in American English under similar circumstances would be "Get a hold of yourself".

(8) I also can't imagine why the writer chose the expression "drawn yourself". Why not just "you have prepared for this competition"? Some students try to add unnecessary words in order to sound impressive, but often end up getting just the opposite result.

(9) Obviously, "audience" is a non-count noun so the "s" is not needed.

(10) I think I can understand what the writer means by "win the success". Probably the meaning is simply "succeed", although it's also possible the writer meant "win the competition".

(11) Writing "bound to fail" was probably a mistake made while the writer was tired. The writer either meant "we are bound to succeed" or "if we do NOT come to terms with them, we are bound to fail".

(12) "Benefit to build up confidence and success" should be changed to simply "build confidence and lead to success".

(13) "We are not the most excellent" sounds a bit odd. Again, we cannot be certain, so "We may not" is better. "Most excellent" should just be replaced by "best".

(14) The expression "add happiness into" is unnatural. If the writer keeps the idea of "adding happiness", then the word "in" instead of "into" is correct. However, the whole expression could be made better. For example, we could write "make our lives happier".

It seems the writer's self confidence is a double-edged sword. Confidence can help us do more in our lives, but it can also lead to careless mistakes. You should be confident, but also be a bit careful. Then you will have the best of both worlds.

Joe's Revised Essay

The Value of Self Confidence

My friends often ask me, "Joe, why are you so carefree all the time?". The answer is quite simple. I owe my carefree attitude to self confidence. Now, some people may say that self confidence is a form of conceit, and they may be right. However, my self confidence allows me to feel relaxed no matter how difficult a task I face, so it is extremely valuable to me.

I remember the first time I partipated in an English competition. Three years ago, my classmates chose me to speak in an English competition at our school. When I went onstage, I had butterflies in my stomach. Suddenly, my mother's words came back to me: "If you want to do something, it costs nothing but self confidence". Since I was chosen to be there, it meant I must have the ability to succeed. "Get a hold of yourself", I said silently. "You have prepared for this competition for the past three months. You are the best". Strangely, my nervousness vanished after I spoke to myself with such confidence. I began to speak onstage - the feeling was wonderful. The whole audience applauded afterwards. I was successful!

Without my self confidence, I could not have succeeded. My courage and optimism are based on this self confidence. Various difficulties will certainly come into our lives from time to time in the future. If we face those difficulties, if we come to terms with them, we are bound to succeed. Knowing that we are capable of handling any difficulty will build our confidence and lead to success.

So, my friends, be confident! Even if you're not the best, it doesn't matter. Don't you always do your best to achieve your aims? Of course you do. That's enough to give you confidence, and confidence will make you happier.

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