You are on page 1of 2

Rules of Formal Essay Writing

Avoid Passive Voice You do this by eliminating all of your by and of the phrases. Passive- Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. Better: Salingers novel, Catcher in the Rye. Use Transitions Moreover, Ultimately, However, Thus, Furthermore, Additionally, Subsequently, Consequently, Therefore, Accordingly, Similarly, In essence, Rather, Conversely, Particularly. External Organization Your paragraphs clearly connect to your thesis statement. Your introduction provides general background information and a concise thesis statement. Internal Organization Individual paragraphs provide details which are connected through the use of transitions. These details are introduced, used, and explained. The paragraph should never end abruptly and the main goal should be revisited in the last sentence. Avoid beginning each sentence the same way. Paragraph Development You must provide an adequate amount of quality details. Details that do not relate or do not strengthen the points you have touched upon, will only hurt your grade. Failure to supply a variety of details may result in an underdeveloped paragraph. Avoid Colloquialism Use written English, not spoken English. No run-on sentences! No sentence fragments! Avoid Wordiness Get to your point, dont waste time. You dont want to be fancy and sound wordy. This actually hurts your language level score. NEVER USE: SORT OF, Kind of, probably, most likely, things, a lot, example, quote, In conclusion, basically No Slang Don't use slang like "guys," "I like, really, dont think so," "cops," "flunked," "he was really cool," etc. No Contractions Write out "he is" not "he's"; write out "who is," not "who's"; write out "do not," not "don't"; etc. No Extra Words Avoid extra words like "well," "anyway," or "you know" that have no meaning. Don't write "I think" or "in my opinion"; because this is your writing, the point of view is clearly yours. Avoid First or Second Person In a formal paper, only third person is acceptable: he she, it they, and related forms (one, the reader, etc.). Don't use first (we, I, me, my, us, our, etc.) or second (you, your, yours) person unless approved by the teacher.

Write Out Numbers Spell out numbers: "six" not '"6"; twenty-three" not "23." Dates and long numbers may be written numerically: 1997, 1845, 1,234,890. Titles: Underline titles of major works or place them in italics: novels, plays, movies, etc. Short works (short stories, poems, etc.) should be in quotation marks. Proofread Check your paper for typing, spelling, and grammatical errors. Quotations NEVER copy an author's words without using quotations and crediting the source. The essay should customarily have some quotations. Use them sparingly and only when they really illustrate a point well. You should mostly paraphrase your evidence and examples. As with cutting and pasting do not let the quotations do the talking for you. Always include your own evaluation and explanation.