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From the file I provided, identify TWO writing techniques that have become habits for you and TWO that you want to work on in the next couple of weeks.

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Checklist for Essays
Checklist for Essay_______
Review your essay before you submit it and place an â??Xâ? in the first column after youâ??ve ensured
that each item has been addressed.
Paper Layout
For more information, youâ??ll find the Sample MLA paper in Course Materials in Blackboard. Tip: Create a
template now that youâ??ll open up, rename, and use throughout the semester.
My paper has 1� margins.
My paper is double-spaced throughout. (There are no extra line spaces
between paragraphs.)
My paper includes a correct MLA heading.
My paper is written in Times New Roman 12-point font.
Each page includes my last name a space and the page number in the header at
the upper right hand corner of each page.
When required, my paper includes a correctly formatted Works Cited page.
Introducing Authors and Works
Authors are referred to by their full, correctly spelled names the first time.
Authors are referred to by their correctly spelled last names, thereafter.
If introduced, an authorâ??s profession or area of expertise is stated.
Titles of Authorsâ?? Works are Stated and Correctly Punctuated/Capitalized
Unnecessary Words are Eliminated when Introducing Authors and Works:
NO: In the essay titled, â??Plate Tectonics,â? by Jo Chan, the author argues thatâ?¦
YES: In â??Plate Tectonics,â? Jo Chan argues thatâ?¦
Titles of Source Materials
The titles of shorter works (Essays, Short Videos, Poems, Chapters in Books) are
placed in quotation marks (i.e., â??Plate Tectonicsâ?). The first letter of each key
word in the title is capitalized.
The titles of longer works (Books, Journal Titles, Longer Films) are italicized
(i.e.., Anatomy). The first letter of each key word in the title is capitalized.
Audience and Authorial Command
This text is written to an academic audience outside of this class. The text does
not assume that my audience has read the same things I have and essay fully
explains key concepts and provides context.
Throughout the essay, statements are made that reflect my judgment based on
my interpretation of evidence and my reasoning. They are not based on
personal belief and opinion.
My statements demonstrate that I have arrived at conclusions that I am
committed to, recognizing that my audience wants to read works by authors
who take clear stands and support them.
Statements like, â??There are many ways to look at a problem and itâ??s hard to chooseâ?
arenâ??t helpful because it is always the case that there are many ways to look at a
problem and it is hard to choose. Thatâ??s why our writing and thinking matter. We must
select a way to look at a problem and make a choice (draw a conclusion), as the author
does so convincingly, below.
YES: Example from Class that Demonstrates Commitment to an Idea: â??It is crucial for
writers and thinkers alike to understand matters on a deep level before being able to
arrive at a solution. Before a meaningful conclusion can be reached, a correct
assessment and interpretation of the issue must be achieved, followed by a thorough
understanding on deeper levels.� Ian Brown
Use Present Verb Tense When Referring to Source Texts
I use the present tense throughout the essay when referring to source texts,
unless the source refers to something that actually happened in history or is
expected to happen in the future.
We generally refer to our source texts in the present tense. â??The author claims,â? not
â??The author claimed.â? Itâ??s a matter of convention: literature is always referred to in the
eternal present.
Sometimes, even in the same sentence, we must combine two tenses because weâ??re
referring to the thinking, theorizing, and statements of an essay and to things that
happened in history:
§ â??The author reminds us that over sixty million people died in World War II.â?
Using Accurate and Appropriate Verbs
For lists of academic verbs, find the Powerful Verbs and More Great Verbs in Course Materials in
Blackboard. Youâ??ll also find several in your They Say/I Say textbook.
I use rhetorically accurate verbs (e.g., argue, assert, claim, examine, explain,
identify) to characterize the statements I and other authors make.
Chan assertsâ?¦
I concludeâ?¦
I argueâ?¦
Class Example: As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie theorizes, those that do not look deeper
are affected by the â??single story.â? Ashley Bunce
I donâ??t use â??saysâ? or â??mentions.â?
The first is too general and the second is too casual.
More on â??Mentionsâ?: Remember, in our essays and those of our sources, we/they
make considered statements that support a focused argument. â??Mentioningâ?
something is we do as an aside. Itâ??s not the main meal. For example, a plumber quotes
a price for a job and mentions a good pizza place s/he knows of. The person weâ??re
dating proclaims that they want to marry us and mentions that they ripped their pants
getting out of the limo. The plumber doesnâ??t mention the cost of a job and a lifemate
doesnâ??t mention they want to marry us. Make sense? When our sourcesâ?? words are
mischaracterized this way, it suggests that we donâ??t understand the importance of
their statements (or that they really want to marry us!).
I donâ??t use â??I believeâ? or â??In my opinion.â? Instead, I refer to my â??judgmentsâ?
based on evidence sound reasoning.
Again, an academic audience wants to read about your considered judgments. These
judgments can be debated. Beliefs and opinions cannot be debated. Putting them on
the table is like bringing a ball to a game that no one else can play with.
MLA Citation Format
Create in-text citations accurately and consistently every time so your eye becomes accustomed to the
correct format. For more information about MLA formatting, find MLA In-Text Citation Cheat Sheet in
Course Materials in Blackboard or to Purdueâ??s Online Writing Lab (OWL)/MLA formatting (be sure not to
use APA).
Basic In-Text Citation
Not Especially Fun Fact: This is called an in-text citation because it is placed in the body of the text.
A citation follows every paraphrase, summary, or direct quotation.
Each citation is placed at the end of a sentence.
Each citation is placed in parentheses. EXAMPLE: (Chan 7).
Generally, in-text citations are formatted, as follows: (AuthorLastName Page#).
EXAMPLE: (Chan 7).
NOTE: There is no â??pg.â? before the page number, only a space. Commas are only rarely
used in in-text citations. See the In-Text Citation Cheat Sheet for examples.
If authorâ??s name is used in the signal phrase (for example, â??According to Chan,â?), then
only use page number in the in-text citation. EXAMPLE: (7).
If the authorâ??s name is unknown, use the title of the work and page number in the intext citation. EXAMPLE: (â??My Essayâ? 7).
Punctuation of In-Text Citations
Periods are placed AFTER the closing parenthesis of each citation, not after the
According to the author, â??Planetary terraforming must be studiedâ? (Chan 7).
According to Chan, â??Planetary terraforming must be studiedâ? (7).
If an author uses an exclamation point or question mark, this special punctuation
remains and a period is also placed after the citation. This is to preserve the authorâ??s
intent or emotion that would otherwise be lost:
According to the author, â??Planetary terraforming must be studied!â?(Chan 7).
The author asks, â??Is it necessary to study planetary terraforming?â? (Chan 7).
There are no commas or other punctuation between the author and the page
number in the basic (Author #) in-text citation.
Incorporating Quotations in the Text
Every direct quotation is surrounded by quotation marks and accurately/exactly
records the words from its source text.
Every quotation is introduced (or ends with) a signal phrase.
According to Chan,
Chan asserts that â?¦
Every quotation is explained in my own words.
Quotations are not placed at the very beginning or end of a paragraph.
Quotations flow grammatically with the rest of the text.
§ Itâ??s often ideal to use only part of a quotation, as long as the portion of text used
doesnâ??t change the meaning of the original quotation. Example, According to the
director, acting is really about â??reactingâ? (Simon 14).
§ Make slight changes in capitalization or verb tense, for example, by placing the
slightly altered text in [square brackets].
Omitted words are shown using ellipses (but these are only used in the middle
of a quotation). I do not use ellipses at the beginnings or ends of quotation
when omitting words.
ORIGINAL: According to Chan, â??Planetary tectonics are really, really important!â? (7).
USING ELLIPSES: According to Chan, â??Planetary tectonics are â?¦ important!â? (7).
NO: According to Chan, â??â?¦ Planetary tectonics are really, really important!â? (7).
NO: According to Chan, â??Planetary tectonics are really, really important!…â? (7).
â??Single quotation marksâ?? are used when a title or quote is placed inside of
â??double quotation marks.â?
According to Chan, â??The recent article, â??My Favorite Planet,â?? is a must-read for all
aspiring geologists� (10).
Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar, â??Etc.,â?
I have checked my work and corrected awkward phrasing, wordiness, grammar
errors, and incorrect words (often typos).
I have read my work aloud to catch additional awkward phrasing, wordiness,
grammar errors, and incorrect words (often typos).
I have placed periods and commas inside of quotation marks when they are
directly next to each other. (Remember that sentences with in-text citations
have no periods or commas until after the in-text citation.)
I have eliminated â??etc.â? and replaced it with â??for exampleâ? or â??including.â?
Specific Grammar Issue: Pronouns â?? â??Youâ? and Pronoun Shifts
First person (the person speaking):
§ I (singular); we (plural)
Second person (the person being spoken to):
§ you (singular and plural)
Third person (the person being spoken about):
§ he/she/it (singular); they/them (plural)
â??the author,â? â??the ratsâ? are also third person
I donâ??t use the pronoun â??youâ? in this paper.
We typically write in third person in academic writing (â??the author,â? â??the rats,â? â??Lauren
Slater,â? â??the issue,â? â??the theory,â? for example). We write â??aboutâ? things.
Using “we”/â?ourâ? and â??Iâ?/â?meâ? are perfectly fine to use, as well. The words â??weâ? and â??our,â?
for example, convey a sense of community that can be inclusive and perfectly appropriate.
When making arguments, I/me works too. Itâ??s honest and up front to say, â??I argue,â? â??I claim,â?
â??I assert.â?
You may want to use â??youâ? because you recognize that you are actually communicating with
an audience. That is fantastic. The problem is, itâ??s too informal and itâ??s disruptive. It would be
as if an actor on the screen stopped battling zombies, turned to us, and said, “Hey, what do
you think about these guys?” Our immersion in the experience would be lost. Instead of
imagining weâ??re thwarting a zombie invasion, weâ??d remember that weâ??re really just sitting in a
chair with popcorn on our shirts. Itâ??s like being called out in an overly familiar way. Readers
fully participate in what theyâ??re reading without being pointed to with a â??you.â?
I donâ??t make unnecessary shifts between first-, second-, and third-person
pronouns in my sentences and paragraphs. Students often shift wildly from we,
you, it, they when talking about the same thing or when itâ??s unnecessary,
creating confusion.
NO: L It is important for a person to be sure before you get married.
The writer shifts from third person to second person.
YES: It is important for a person to be sure before he or she gets married.
NO: We are happy with our lives in the town. You can get anything you need there.
The writer shifts from first person to second person.
YES: We are happy with our lives in the town. We can get anything we need there.
NO: A huntsman must spend his time hunting. They will use their bare hands to catch animals
if they must.
The writer shifts from third person singular to third person plural.
YES: Huntsmen must spend their time hunting. They will use their bare hands to catch animals
if they must.
Specific Grammar Issue: Verb Consistency
I have corrected shifts in verb tense (e.g., past, present, future, conditional).
During revision, review sentences to ensure that youâ??re not making unnecessary shifts
in verb tenses that confuse and distract the reader. Examples from Purdue OWL
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/2/22 :
NO: If the club limited its membership, it will have to raise its dues.
YES: If the club limited its membership, it would have to raise its dues.
NO: As Barbara puts in her contact lenses, the telephone rang.
YES: As Barbara puts in her contact lenses, the telephone rings.
NO: Thousands of people will see the art exhibit by the time it closes.
YES: Thousands of people will have seen the art exhibit by the time it closes.
Specific Grammar Issue: Singular/Plural Agreement
I have checked my sentences for singular/plural agreement and corrected any
Often in our writing, we refer to a thing (for example, a group of people, a theory, a
cake) and then refer back to that thing using another word (I made a cake and liked
it!). We do this because it sounds weird to say, â??I made a cake and liked the cake.â?
BUT, when we do this, we have to make sure that the word thatâ??s doing the referring
(in this case, it) agrees with the original word it refers to (cake). The sentence, â??I made
a cake and liked them!,â? doesnâ??t agree in number, as is probably clear. â??Cakeâ? is
singular and â??themâ? is plural.
This is a common error in student writing. Go through and look for any words that
refer to something else: it, them, they, his, her, these, those. Make sure that they
agree â??in numberâ? (singular or plural).
NO: Since the doctor went to medical school, they should know the answer.
YES: Since the doctor went to medical school, she should know the answer.
NO: When cars break down, it needs to be fixed right away.
YES: When cars break down, they need to be fixed right away.
NO: Animals donâ??t read books, so it doesnâ??t know any better.
YES: Animals donâ??t read books, so they donâ??t know any better.
Iâ??ve addressed all aspects of the prompt.

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