Some Frequently Asked Questions - Answered
Writing the paper Once:
Don't do it. The essence of writing is rewriting. It helps to
clarify your ideas and it helps to define orderly support of your ideas. Few
if any writers write clearly and effectively on a first draft. That is why we
write many drafts before the final paper or essay is written. Ask for feedback
and rewrite. That is the only way to write effectively.
This is the basic argument that you are advancing in the essay or paper
you are writing. This should be an arguable or debatable statement, not a
statement. It should be one you feel strongly about and it should be the basis
for all of the supporting material in the paper. All paragraphs should be
related to the thesis which is usually stated in the first paragraph of your
paper, and the thesis should be about the assigned
texts, not about the world.
The following paragraphs will itemize your support for your argument
in specific terms; point by point you will use supporting quotations or references
which will prove to yourr eader that your argument is worthwhile.
Why Can't I use "I think" or "I believe that:"
You can but I won't like it much. The essence of good writing
is clear, uncluttered, economic sentences. 'I think' is implied in the very
nature of the paper you are writing and to state it is redundant.
Unified, Coherent Paragraphs
A paragraph is the major tool for supporting your thesis. These are
the coherent blocks that give the reader a sense of your argument in
'chunks' with breaks in between each idea that you discuss. Each paragraph
and develops a supporting idea. The unifying idea of the paragraph is usally
stated in the topic sentence; most often this is the first sentence
of the paragraph. (Sometimes there is a unifying idea rather than a unifying
but this is extremely rare.) Whether implicitly or explicity stated, an
idea must unite the sentences of the paragraph. If the sentences do
then REMOVE them. Just as if the paragraphs do not RELATE to the THESIS,
A pargraph may make several points, but the points must be related
and the nature of the relationship must be indicated so that there is,
in effect, a single unifying point. Transitions help to make your reader aware
of the coninuity and coherence of the paragraph. Some obvious (but certainly
usable) transitions are; moreover, however, but, for example, the next,
in addition. Transisions help to take the reader from point to point
and make it easier to follow the arugment you are making and the support
you are using.
In-text MLA Citation
This citation mode is the mode which uses parenthetical citation within the
body of the text and is ALWAYS used with a works cited page. These citations
offer minimal information about sources, not enough for an interested reader
to locate them. That is why the works cited page in incoluded so that biblographic
information about each source referred to in the reading is available.
- the citation must appear in the same paragraph in which the quote or information
- the citation is usually at the end of the sentence.
- if there are several facts or quotes in the same sentence that come from
different sources then the citation comes immediately after the information
- place the last name of the author plus the page number inside the parenthesis
- if you have already introduced the author's name, just give the page number
- do not use "p" or "pg" for "page"; just give
- for a long quotation that is more than three lines, set it off by indenting
it and single-spacing it. End the quotation with a period and then place the
citation in a parenthsis without a period. When you have a longer quote that
is set of this way, you do not need to put quoteation marks around the quote.
- A site which may be of help to you IS:
Active and Passive voice:
Because I am always advising you to use the active voice in your writing, I
am providing a brief explanation of what that means:
The Active Voice indicates an action on the part of the subject; whereas the
passive voice states that the subject is acted upon. Excessive use of the
voice leads to a weak style; ample use of the Active Voice adds power to your
statements. Using the Passive voice tends to lead to wordy sentences which
usually less effective. An example:
The sculpture was carved by Michelangelo.
Michelangelo carved the scultpure. (shorter, better)