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Rules for Writing Essays

by: cat_difilippo95

Rules for Writing Essays ENGL 02101 5

Marketplace > Rowan University > English Department > ENGL 02101 5 > Rules for Writing Essays
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If you struggle with a few things when writing essays, or essay writing in specifically may not be your strong suit, these rules to follow and notes to keep in mind should be of help to you. They d...
Catherine W. Parrish
Class Notes
english, writing, essays, key, notes, for, #criticism





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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by cat_difilippo95 on Thursday September 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 02101 5 at Rowan University taught by Catherine W. Parrish in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see LIT STUDIES FOR ENGL MJRS-RS in English Department at Rowan University.


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Date Created: 09/08/16
P a g e | 1 LIT Studies for ENG MRJS-RS Week 2 9-8-16 A lot of times when taking notes in English it may be difficult to remember different rules for punctuation, grammar, sentence structure etc. Unlike what most people may assume about English notes (that they may only be essays or give insight to stories read in class) my notes will focus on the issues above that way you can strengthen any weakness you may have with writing skills for essays, reviews, or whatever you may need to type up for anyone! PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: When I was in English II at a community college, before switching over to Rowan, there were some interesting points that my professor made about how to write papers. Although these notes were for how to write a paper in his class and pass, I find that these notes on essay writing may be effective in any class you have when you need to write an essay. As I have said, these notes helped me write essays to pass his class, some of them may vary with other professors. However, I still think that they are useful. Once I am done with these I will get into the notes I have for Shot Fiction, Poems, and Plays. NOTE: If you’re writing a paper to criticize another piece of work, always remember that criticism can be bother positive and/or negative. It doesn’t necessarily always have to be negative just because the professor may be asking for your criticism. Three things to avoid when writing: 1.) Avoid referring to one person as “they.” Ex: “A person may think they know. . . .” In the words of my former professor, “Unless this person you are talking about is a hermaphrodite or a schizophrenic, they should not be used!” Stick to using he/she when you come across sentences like this. 2.) Avoid using the word “now.” When you use the word now some people (like my professor) may get a little fussy with the word, because they may think that you mean right now, this very second. Try other words to get around it, such as “presently” or “currently.” 3.) Avoid using the word “you.” Have you ever read a short story, or (don’t ask how I know this) a piece of fanfiction online and the writer says, “you trembled as he walked toward you. . .,” but then in your head you think, “I wouldn’t do that.” Well guess what, you aren’t the only one who finds that to be annoying. Avoid bringing your reader into the essay, short story, or whatever it is that you are writing. P a g e | 2 Problems with Essays MAJOR 1.) In the intro, make sure to answer three basic questions: What, why, and how. Note what you will criticize. 2.) Sentence structure can be an issue for a lot of people, especially if writing isn’t someone’s strong suit. Ask someone to read over your paper and look for errors when you know you struggle when you write. 3.) Paragraph organization used to drive my professor crazy, almost as bad as sentence structure. Keep your paragraphs organized. If in your opening paragraph you brought up a point about 1 then 2, but your second paragraph was about 2, you need to go back a rearrange a few things. 4.) Use specific examples. For instance, if you read a book over the summer and were asked to write your opinion on it, you can’t make an accusation about a character if you don’t have prof to back it up. Ex: “I believe that in Americanah Ifemelu’s character was a little too immature to be in a relationship with Kurt. After all, in chapter 32 she admits that she cheated on him simply because she was “curious about her neighbor.” 5.) Don’t summarize. 6.) PROOF READ This last problem is one any professor will tell you to fix before handing in an essay. No one wants to read a paper that was sloppily thrown together at the last minute. Problems with essays Minor: 1.) Spelling can be difficult for those of us (like myself) who are natural born terrible spellers. While it may not be a big deal to one professor, another may think differently. Always use a dictionary (or dictionary app which I love) when you aren’t sure how to spell a word correctly. 2.) Punctuation is key in an essay, and for me this was one of my issues when I started this class back then. If you don’t P a g e | 3 know how to use a comma properly, an ellipsis, (. . .) or a semicolon then look up the rules for how to properly use them. I had a book from another English class when I was homeschooled, and it had 21 rules for commas. I learned them all, and the ones I didn’t know saved my essays from failing. 3.) Remember what I said about avoiding the word “you”? In college writing you never use second person. You can say “the reader” or “one” but avoid writing “you.” 4.) ALWAYS TITLE THE PAPER Notice that I highlighted this note? This was one of my biggest issues when I was in any English class. All my life I never liked to name things, whether it was a stuffed animal, a painting, or a small story I tried to write. I’m just not good at it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fly well with professors, so always title your work. Rules for Proof Reading: 1.) Always proof read out loud 2.) Never proof read after writing 3.) Always proof read more than once Note: Many people may or may not know this, but there are special ways to punctuate certain titles to things. For instance, book titles, movie titles, and T.V. shows, and plays must all be italicized. In the old days these titles were underlined because writers used typewriters and so they could italicize. However, in today’s day in age where everyone is on a computer, if someone saw something underlined in a PowerPoint or a syllabus they may think that it is a link to a web page. Poems and short story titles, however, are put into quotation marks.


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