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Fundamentals of Essay Writing. Helpful hints and tips. Format Tips. all pages should have one inch margins double-space everything in your paper your paper MUST be stapled papers that are clipped or not stapled will be returned unread

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fundamentals of essay writing

Fundamentals of Essay Writing

Helpful hints and tips

format tips
Format Tips
  • all pages should have one inch margins
  • double-space everything in your paper
  • your paper MUST be stapled
    • papers that are clipped or not stapled will be returned unread
  • foreign terms and words are to be either underlined or put in italics
  • use 12 point Times New Roman font only
  • fancy fonts are distracting and will not help
grammar tips
Grammar Tips
  • don’t tell your reader what you are going to argue--just do it. Don’t write “in my paper I will argue”; of course it’s your paper and of course you will argue!
  • avoid “nothing phrases” such as:
    • “in today’s society”
    • “etc.”
    • “a lot”
grammar tips con t
Grammar Tips (con’t)
  • sentence fragments
  • comma usage
  • semi-colon usage
  • contractions
  • possessive constructions
introductory paragraph
Introductory Paragraph
  • Introduces the paper and the topic
  • Must have strong thesis statement
    • your basic answer to the question
    • sum it up in one sentence
  • Indicates what supporting evidence will be and what primary texts will be covered
  • Think of it as an outline of your paper
  • Reader should not be surprised on page 4 with new information
body paragraphs
Body Paragraphs
  • each needs a topic sentence
    • like a mini thesis
  • cannot be one sentence; a paragraph by definition is several sentences
    • Expand, Combine, Eliminate
  • cannot be excessively long
    • If all one topic, find a logical place to put break
  • one topic=one paragraph
  • use appropriate transitions to go from one paragraph to another
  • avoid starting or ending any paragraph with a quotation
argument techniques
Argument Techniques
  • acknowledge your opposition and use their words/ arguments against them
    • however, don’t belittle your opposition
  • avoid melodrama, excessive emotion, hostility and defensiveness
    • you don’t want to turn your reader against you or make him/her defensive
  • keep vocabulary neutral, particularly when dealing with areas that people have strong feelings about--for example, religion
    • your reader may not have the same beliefs as you. Assume they do not
quoting vs paraphrasing
Quoting vs. Paraphrasing
  • Quoting involves writing down a source’s exact words
    • Enclose a direct quote in quotation marks
    • If you are quoting something that is already in quotation marks, you need to use single and double quotes: “’The results were false.’”
  • Paraphrasing involves writing the source’s information in your own words
    • Recheck against the original to be sure that the words and structure are your own and that they express the author’s meaning accurately
slide10
any information or ideas that are not yours must be properly documented using MLA format
  • check either a grammar handbook, the MLA Handbook, or information on the Internet for proper format
  • improper and incorrect formatting will seriously impact grades
concluding paragraph
Concluding Paragraph
  • restates (and rephrases) the opening paragraph
  • broadens out and hypothesizes
  • presents a possible compromise or solution
editing
Editing
  • reconsider introduction and conclusion
  • read draft aloud, paying attention to length, variety, rhythm and coherence of sentences
  • look for wordiness; nothing hurts an essay more than empty phrases
  • consider vocabulary for appropriateness
    • avoid slang and cliche
  • check for problems of grammar and usage
editing con t
Editing (con’t)
  • do not rely on the spellcheck
    • why not?
  • but do at least use the spellcheck
  • why the grammar check is evil
  • do not rely on others to proofread your work
  • proofreading problems? try proofreading your work backwards
editing con t15
Editing (con’t)
  • but do at least use the spellcheck
  • why the grammar check is evil
  • do not rely on others to proofread your work
  • proofreading problems? try proofreading your work backwards
final points
Final Points
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
  • review assignment to make sure you’ve met all requirements
  • make sure your name is on the cover page and that you have stapled your paper
  • don’t worry about a flashy title page
  • proofread one last time before turning the paper in to your instructor
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread