Here are some issues that kept coming up in the papers for both sections—points to be sure that you keep in mind for paper 3:

·       Do not use second person (“you”).

·       Do not talk about “some people.”  Have a look at “Forbidden” on our course Web site.

·       Make sure that all 3 parts of the thesis are about the focused topic.

·       Do not bury the focused topic in the “because” clause:  a focused topic is not an argument.

·       Be sure that your topic sentences echo the parts of your thesis.

        o       Background 1:  textual connection

        o       Background 2:  focused topic

        o       Arguments:  main clause + because clause

        o       Objections:  although clause


Here are my stock comments on paper 2 (fall 2011):

Substantive Matters

Your title needs to include more about your focused topic and textual connection. Try using a colon to create a two-part title.

Introduce the focused topic before the thesis statement.

The focused topic must be in all three parts of your thesis statement. The although clause must not be a true fact. Do not write the thesis about “people.” Do not bury the focused topic in the because clause as though it were an argument. Make sure that the although and because clauses are in true opposition.

The focused topic belongs in every par. except background 1. The textual connection belongs in every par. except background 2.

If something is in the thesis, it must also be in the body.

A par. is at least 5 sentences.

What You Should Do

Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses.

Use “that” after verbs of cognition like “think,” “realize,” etc.

After verbs of cognition, use the word “that.”

Give a signal phrase to mark the start of your borrowed information.

When referring to persons, use “who” or “whom.” The word “that” refers to things.”

What You Should Not Do

Do not talk about “people” or “most people” in your papers.

Do not use second person (“you”) in your papers.

Do not use “this” more than once per par. When you do use it, be sure to put a noun after it.

Do not use contractions in formal writing.

Do not say “today’s society” or “I feel.”

Do not call a book excerpt or an article a “story.” The word “story” is reserved for fiction.