Several students wrote very good essays. I suspect that some people even enjoyed looking at the monographs and this shows in the quality of their writing. The only fault that I would find with most of these essays was that people may have been too shy to comment on gaps in the coverage of the monograph that might be perceived as deficiencies. The list of questions to consider was supplied as guidance for adding substance to your essay, even if all that could be said about them was "hybridization is not discussed", "there are no changes to nomenclature because the classification used is unchanged...", "the synonyms listed do not include the date of publication so it is impossible to tell whether priority decisions have been correctly made unless an extensive search is made of other taxonomic literature", etc.
Approaching a scientific monograph as if it were a piece of rhetoric, and criticizing the author for not emphasizing points sufficiently strongly, misses the point that this is science, and that may be reflected in the grade.
Some other points:
The university has a writing support center, which is described at http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/
Your essay should include a list of references (including the monograph itself) at the end, and every work that you refer to should be cited in the text using the author and date. Web pages consulted would also be listed in this way (see http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/document.html#elec). The monograph should be cited early in the text.
Number the pages. This is for your own protection: if a page is missing from your paper, the person reading it might just think that your writing is poor, and never realize that a page is missing.
When you abbreviate genus names, for example C. punctata, it is always correct to use a lowercase letter for the species epithet, and for most species names it is not correct to use a capital letter (C. Punctata is not correct). Microsoft Word has a default setting that makes this rather difficult. If you decide that this is troublesome enough to want to change that default setting (on either Macintosh or Windows): from the Tools menu choose AutoCorrect, then turn off the option "Capitalize first letter of sentences" (similar controls exist in WordPerfect as well).
A number of students have confounded the genus and the family. It is worth knowing the standard endings for the different ranks above the genus level (-aceae for family, -ales for order, etc), especially as this is covered in the course text and on the course website.
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