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By Patricia Gray

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A random extract from a student essay 1.

“Humankind can’t continue their lives without desires. If one wants to be happy, surely, he has to discover his best desires that provide him a happy life. Some of these desires that help to continue our lives can be acceptance in our relationships, a good family life and strong social relations. Trying to satisfy these desires has a great meaning to achieve happiness for me.”

The above is a random extract taken from a student essay found on the internet. The passage contains errors, the wording used is clumsy, and it is not particularly focused. It is incorrect, for example, to state that people cannot continue their lives without desires, when obviously we can survive without them.

The contraction ‘can’t’ should not be used in a formal essay and ‘cannot’ should have been used instead. This one paragraph goes from the very general ‘humankind’ to the particular ‘me’ at the end. ‘For me’ in the last sentence is not required as the passage reads better without this addition.

It might be best to write the first paragraph about something general, such as humankind and universal desires. The writing could then progress to deal with personal desires and how to manage these to achieve good outcomes. This would then read ‘if we want to be happy, then surely we have to identify the desires which will achieve this.’

The writer states that some of our best desires help to continue our lives. Our most advantageous desires help to enhance our lives rather than continue our lives. Our lives would continue with or without desire. Our worst desires can become compulsions and addictions, which can destroy our lives.


We all have desires which should be identified, recognized, and definitely not suppressed or ignored. It is up to us to judge between good and bad desires and respond accordingly. Common desires are to be: rich, happy, successful, to travel, and to fall in love.

Desires change over the years and it may not occur to a young, healthy person to want to be healthy. The outcome of how we act upon our desires can mean the difference between happiness and failure. Acting on our healthy desires will result in strong relationships and therein hopefully happiness will surely follow.

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