MLA rules…the nuts and bolts. Font is always Times New Roman, partially because it’s standard on all computers and partially because research shows that it’s one of the most easily legible fonts.
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Font is always Times New Roman, partially because it’s standard on all computers and partially because research shows that it’s one of the most easily legible fonts.
written about literature must be written
in literary present tense.
Literary analysis is always written in present tense – called the literary present. Just remember: If a reader opens the book today and then opens it again tomorrow, the same thing is going to be happening.
Converting passive voice to active voice – Good writing is clear and concise. Active voice is usually both clearer and more concise than passive. One subtle way to get passive voice out: Reword any sentence beginning with “there are,” “there is,” etc… This puts the focus on the subject you’re writing about instead of on the “there” and it also ends up cutting your word count.
Questions – never start an academic essay with a question. It’s just too easy. Come up with a better hook. Even if you use a question later in the essay, be careful that it doesn’t have “you” or “you understood” as its subject.
Literary Language—do no use slang. Refer to literary elements appropriately using the correct terms (ex: protagonist, antagonist, characterization, etc.)
Tone for formal papers is always an “academic tone . . .” keep it professional.
Essays, novels, biographies, memoirs, etc. are NOT STORIES!!! Do NOT use the word “story” in a formal essay. Don’t do it. Ever.
Avoiding 1st person – Do not use I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, ours. Basically, the emphasis should never be placed on the writer in formal writing. It makes it too personal, too specific to just the writer.
Using third person—refer to the characters in third person, use a universal “he” or “she” instead of he/she. It is understood that the gender is not exclusive.
Avoiding contractions – Contractions are used all the time in spoken language, for many reasons. It's faster. "Can't" is one syllable and "cannot" is two. It is more informal and puts a listener at ease as if to say, "Relax, this is just a friendly chat with nothing earth-shaking at stake." Formal written work is different. Speed of communication is not a concern. The use of more formal vocabulary and avoiding things unique to spoken language such as contractions and slang help to set a psycho-epistemological context for the reader that is more appropriate for, and prepares him for, abstract or difficult intellectual material. Also, in academic writing, the primary audience is the teacher, but the secondary audience is not always known. Formal language is more appropriate.