Posted: September 17th, 2017

Renaissance and the Enlightenment

The words you choose are very important. Choosing the best word to get your meaning across to your reader can mean the different between a successful essay and an essay that, as far as the reader is concerned, misses its mark. Yes, YOU know what you mean, but your reader might now if you language is not spot on.


“‎”So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”



The quotation to the top is from the film Dead Poet’s Society and makes a very good point about using the best verb to get your ideas across rather than relying on adverbs like “very” that are, as the quotations says, the lazy approach.

In writing his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King also warns against that nastly adverb. He writes, “The adverb is not your friend.” How correct he is! Just look at the difference between “very tired” and “exhausted” in the image at the left. The word “exhausted” says much more about the man in question than “very tired” can ever say.

Every essay you write for this course must have four things:

  1. Proper structure: an introductory paragraph, several body paragraphs, and a short concluding paragraph. The introduction should include the title(s) of the text(s) and the name of the author(s). It should start with something that introduces your thesis and end with the thesis statement itself. The body paragraphs include support for your thesis statement.
  2. Support: your ideas about the literature, quotations (source material) from the literature that support your ideas, and your interpretation of those quotations (more of your own ideas). Paraphrases may be used in addition to quotations, but quotations are the best choice. All source material, whether quoted or paraphrased should be introduced with signal phrases, also called introductory signals. Follow those samples in the assignment handout for introductory signals. (Note: Your professor may limit the percentage of quotations you can add to your essays.)
  3. Documentation: MLA Parenthetical citations must be placed immediately after all quotations and paraphrases. Sample citations are included in each essay’s assignment handout. Follow those samples carefully. See the important note at the bottom of this section.
  4. The Honor Code: The code should be listed at the end of the last page of an essay. See Ground Rule #4 in the syllabus for the wording. Just copy and insert your name into the blank.
  5. Directions and Requirements:There is an assignment handout for each essay, provided in the essay’s Module.Listed below are resources available to you for research and revision

    Revision Resources . . .

    • Global Revision Checklist (PDF)” href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Global Revision Checklist
    • Literary Paper Checklist (PDF)” href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Literary Paper Checklist
    • Sentence Level Revision and Editing

    Help with Grammar and Mechanics . . .

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