In high school you must take care to write with academically appropriate language. Therefore, avoid taboo words and conventions. You are held responsible for knowing these words and conventions on all academic writing, including essays, homework packets, and vocabulary sentences. Use of taboo words will lower your grade.
Being and all its forms and, as much as possible, all its forms
There is (are) (there is a woman I know who is insane about her dog = A woman I know is insane about her dog)
Gerunds are words that take a form of to and add an ing to the verb “ Paul is reflecting on the war” should read “Paul reflects on the war.”
The author wants to show/the author intends (assumes)
Do not refer to the reader (the reader will see that....) elements
Do not refer to the quote (the quote is important because…)
Passive voice. The review will be performed by Ms. Miller = Ms. Miller will perform the review; Ms. Gerber’s food was cheered by all = Everyone cheered Ms. Gerber’s food
“What people don’t know/realize is” (assumes)
Rhetorical questions except in intro and conclusion
The author “is able to” – this implies a lack of qualifications.
Syllogistic logic – we aim to prove through explanations and examples
Awareness of your audience – Your teacher is your audience. When you write about a work your teacher assigned, assume your teacher has read it. You do not need to summarize the story or say things like Paul, the protagonist, or a confused teenager named Holden Caulfield.
Know your standard heading for class work and the standard heading for MLA. They are different:
Never critique (“Steinbeck beautifully and accurately portrays the life of disposed migrants.” This is not your job nor are you qualified to judge iconic American literature – simply argue your thesis).
Omit all summary – ARGUE instead
KNOW THY AUDIENCE – Your audience is me, your teacher, who has read the works countless times. You do not need to say “Jim, a slave, is set adrift on the vast Mississippi River.” I am well aware Jim is a slave. Nor do you need to relate that “The protagonist in the novel is a boy named Huckleberry Finn, who takes a journey down the river.” Likewise, you should assume I know the name of the protagonist. This type of writing reads as fluff and filler and a pretty clear indication that you don’t have much to say regarding your argument.
KNOW THY REGISTER – unless specifically stated, assume the register for academic writing is formal – do not adopt a friendly, casual demeanor with your reader, do not invoke second person, and do not EVER summon the egregious first person (I, we, us, our). EVER.