1. Stylistic/Technical Mistakes
a. Italicize the title of a major work (novel, play, movie)
Example: The Merchant of Venice
(if you are writing it out, you underline the title)
b. Put the title of short works in quotation marks (essays, short stories, poetry) Example: “The Fall of a City”)
c. Structural Continuity
• The way your thesis is written dictates the order your essay will follow. If your thesis says “Teddy is kind, imaginative, and intelligent” your first body paragraph will discuss kindness, second imagination, and third intelligence. Also, when you restate your thesis in the conclusion, it must be written in the same order.
a. Stay consistent in the present tense or past tense whenever possible.
• Example of events that happen during the story:
Antonio lends money to his best friend Bassanio. He is sure that his ships will return in time to repay Shylock.
Antonio lent money to his best friend Bassanio. He is sure that his ships will return in time to repay Shylock.
b. Ambiguous Pronoun Reference (APR)
• When discussing a character you must always refer to that character using his or her name at least once in a sentence, sometimes more (especially when discussing two or more characters of the same gender in one sentence).
Incorrect Example: Antonio would do anything for Bassanio because he
loves him like a brother.
In this sentence, it is unclear who loves who like a brother.
Correct Example: Antonio would do anything for Bassanio because
he loves Bassanio like a brother.
Incorrect Example: She agreed to marry whoever solves the riddle correctly.
Who is this sentence referring to?
Correct Example: Portia agreed to marry whoever solves the riddle correctly.
c. Always use formal language.
• NO Slang
• NO Contractions (it’s; he’s; that’s; etc)
• Only use the third person (NO first person “I” “me” and NO second person “we” “us.”)
• Do NOT refer to your essay or any part of your essay.
Incorrect Examples: This proves my thesis because…
This quote shows that…
In my next paragraph…
As I stated in my introduction…
Therefore, my essay has proven that…
• Imagine your principal and your grandmother are going to read your essay; it must be FORMAL.
d. Transition from one idea to the next.
• Use transition words or phrases to connect ideas between paragraphs
ie) Bassanio’s friendship with Antonio is one of loyalty, even to the point of death.
Nevertheless, Bassanio is committed to Portia as his wife and faces a conflict of interest when Antonio encourages him to give away his ring.
3. Structural Mistakes
a. Always relate your point back to your thesis at the end of a paragraph.
ie) The risk which Antonio took for Bassanio demonstrates that true friendship is based on supporting each other, no matter the circumstance.
b. Always analyze your quotations; NEVER assume your reader will understand. Use the PEE strategy (Point Evidence Explanation)