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Rules of Formal Writing

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Kathrine Borsuk

on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of Rules of Formal Writing

"Rules" of Formal Writing
Formal Writing = Academic Writing
Informal Writing = Creative Writing

Make yourself an authority
Things to Avoid
Other formal conventions...
Remove Contractions
Write in the literary present tense
Introduce and Follow Up Quotations
don't = do not
won't = will not
shouldn't = should not
Formal writing about literature should be written in the present tense
Don't leave a quotation hanging!
Overly Figurative Language
The flowery stuffing isn't helpful; avoid metaphors, similes, etc. unless you are presenting figurative language that is part of the text you are studying.

Sentence fragments rarely have a place in formal writing.
Informal Language
colloquial words
simplistic language
Rhetorical Sentences
What's wrong with a rhetorical sentence?
"It's raining cats and dogs."
"makes the world go round"

Your reader wants to hear your words, so be original!
Remove 1st and 2nd Person Pronouns
I, you, me, us, we
Use Specific details to Create Unique Arguments
If you argue the "same-old, same-old," you seem less like an authority.
Avoid Statements of Judgement
"Creon is stupid." = "Creon's does not completely consider the outcomes of his decisions."

"Yann Martel is a great author." = "Martel's work is successful because he creates catharsis for his reader."
While we're on the topic...
"etc." is informal.
Quotations in Formal Essays
You should always work quotations into your paper as seamlessly as possible.
Don't Write:
"We create our fate every day we live." -Henry Miller. This quotation shows that Miller believes individuals are able to change their futures through the decisions they make.
Do Write:
Henry Miller's quotation, "we create our fate every day we live," exemplifies the idea that individuals have the ability to change their futures through the decisions they make.
Or You Can Write:
Henry Miller expressed the sentiment that "we create our fate every day we live." This quotation explains his belief that individuals have the ability to change their futures through the decisions they make.
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