1. Formal essays should be written in the third person. Do not use any of the following pronouns in a formal piece of writing: me, my, I, we, us, or you.
2. Do not use slang words (Indian vs. Native American) or internet speak (u).
3. Do not use ambiguous terms such as “thing” “stuff” “ones”, search your vocabulary for a better and more precise word.
4. Do not reference your own essay while writing a formal paper. Example: “In this essay I will discuss…”
5. Be concise with the words you choose. Don’t throw in unnecessary words as “padding”.
6. Try not to use too many contractions in your essay (don’t, won’t). Usually more than 5 is too many, write out the words to make it sound more formal.
7. Make sure you underline the title of the novel. If typing an essay you may put the title in italics. If you are writing about an article or a poem you put the title in quotations marks.
8. The first time you use an author’s name, you must use the full name. After that the last name is enough.
9. Correct MLA citations if using quotes or paraphrasing information that is not your own.
Example: “The someone dim coal fire was the only light” (Hawthorn 25).
Example: The only light in the house was a coal fire that was someone dim (Hawthorn 25).
10. NEVER begin or end a quote from an novel, essay, article, etc. with an ellipsis (…). Only use an ellipsis to combine two parts of a work into the same quote. Example: “It was impossible for Spangler not to notice the girl’s isolation…He reached the girl, paused a moment, and kissed her on the cheek” (Lee 78).
11. Make sure all words at the beginning of the sentence, names, essential words in titles, and other words that should be capitalized are capitalized.
12. Any number 99 or below should be spelled out (ninety nine). Numbers over 99 can be left as numerals.
13. Use specific and concrete examples to prove your thesis.