POLISHING FORMAL, ANALYTIC WRITING
Mechanics and Style:
- Avoid first person (I, my, me, we) and second person (you, your).
- Avoid contractions (isn't, can't, etc.).
- Use formal diction. Avoid colloquialism and slang.
- Avoid verb tense shifts: Use present tense for fiction and past
tense for nonfiction.
- Use active voice and action verbs. Avoid passive
voice. Avoid is + -ing verbs.
- Avoid vague pronouns (it, this, these, those, that) and vague
words (things, many, a lot).
- Properly identify your literature as a short story, novel, play,
or poem, and properly punctuate titles accordingly: use quotation marks
for short stories and poems; use italics (underlining when handwritten)
for novels and plays.
- Mention title and author in thesis statement.
- Avoid using the actual word "quote" (e.g. "In this quote…"); use
- Avoid "stacking" quotes, e.g. placing quotes one after another
- Spell out numbers less than 100.
Preparing your typewritten paper:
- Using your outline, prepare your rough draft on the
computer. Although you may prefer a handwritten rough draft, it
will be easier to write it on the computer: editing will be easier, and
the bulk of the writing task will not have to take place the "night
before" the paper is due. Additionally, changes during peer
editing will be easier for your peers to make on a typewritten draft.
- Use Spell Check and Grammar Check initially to proofread your
paper; however, Spell Check will not catch all your errors (for
example, the use of the word two for to); therefore, before you print
the final copy, work through the paper line by line, examining it
closely for spelling and grammatical correctness.
- Following the format required by your teacher, make sure you have
placed a heading (your name, class name, date, etc.) and a title in
- SAVE and PRINT out two copies, one of which you will keep at
home, or in your notebook, in case your original is lost or
misplaced. Furthermore, you should always keep a saved copy on
media (floppy disk, zip disk, e-mail, TurnItIn.com, memory stick, etc.)
outside your computer until the end of the semester in case your
computer has problems. "My computer crashed," is not an