Taboo Words and Forms to Avoid

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Taboo Words and Forms to Avoid

English 9 Honors

In high school you must take care to write with academically appropriate language. Therefore, you must 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.


  1. thing, things

  2. stuff

  3. a lot of

  4. okay, ok

  5. common adjectives (good, bad, happy, sad, mad) choose more precise language

  6. wanna

  7. gonna

  8. kid

  9. guy

  10. kind of/sort of

  11. Nowadays

  12. Common modifiers such as very, extremely, incredibly (chose a precise word)

  13. could of, would of, should of (could have, would have)

  14. & instead of and

  15. Contractions (won’t = will not)

  16. Text messaging terms: lol = hilarious, 2 = to, 4 = for, GF = death

  17. First person in academic writing except personal narratives: I, we, us, our, me

  18. Second person: you,

  19. numbers ten and under should be spelled out unless part of a date, street numbers or proper names. Numbers over ten are spelled out if they start a sentence.

  20. slang (my bad, emo, fugly, peeps, dawgs, homies, sup, rad)

  21. anything obscene (in direct quotes, use only the first and last letters, replace each missing letter with an asterisk = s**t)

  22. jargon (“technical talk” example: Bilateral probital hematoma (jargon) 
    for a black eye, or “shiner” (SLANG)
  23. prove – as it applies to arguing mean and matter (you do the proving)


  24. true or truly – as it applies to the essence of something

  25. The fact that = that

  26. In order to = to


Additionally avoid

  1. Avoid using “one” when referring to an anonymous person – reword the sentence.

  2. “Talks about” when referencing a writer’s statement in a novel

  3. Being and all its forms and, as much as possible, all its forms

  4. There is (are) (there is a woman I know who is insane about her dog = A woman I know is insane about her dog)

  5. Gerunds or verbs ending in “ing.” Paul is reflecting on the war = Paul reflects on the war

  6. The author wants to show/the author intends (assumes)

  7. Do not refer to the reader (the reader will see that....) elements

  8. Do not refer to the quote (the quote is important because…)

  9. 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

  10. “What people don’t know/realize is” (assumes)

  11. Rhetorical questions except in intro and conclusion

  12. The author “is able to” – this implies a lack of qualifications.

  13. Syllogistic logic – we aim to prove through explanations and examples

  14. 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.
  15. Know your standard heading for classwork and the standard heading for MLA. They are very different:





MLA Standard Heading

place on left side of paper

Double space – no more, no less

Note order and abbreviations




Standard Heading for

Gerber Work

(place on right side of paper, at the top)


Joe M. Student

Ms. Gerber

English 9 Honors

18 Nov. 2014

Joe Student

Period 1

November 18, 2014



Ms. Gerber




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