Please come talk to me about your papers:




My comments:

·      squiggly lines: grrrrrr…..

·      Strong underlines: yes!

·      When I ask rhetorical questions, the answer is almost certainly NO (is this relevant?)


Big Picture: Writing Formal Essays

·      This is very different than our blog entries

·      Stick to the TEXT: only talk about what is in the text.

o  Do not worry about your vague sense of the summary of the background of the story

o  Don’t worry about your vague sense of what other people think of the issues you’re discussing

o  Instead, think only about what Homer (or whoever your author is) is saying

§  What are the words he uses?

§  What does he emphasize?

§  Why do you think he’s doing this? 


·      Quotations:

o  Quote wisely: quote evidence, which will support your argument directly.

o  Ask yourself: is this quotation directly related to my thesis?  If not, lose it.

o  Don’t use quotes to provide basic plot summary

§  Basic plot summary is completely unnecessary: remember your audience


·      Beware of moralizing

o  “Achilles shouldn’t do this…”


·      Make sure your comparisons are balanced:

o  “Antigone is not as fierce a warrior as Achilles”



·      Avoid contractions (won’t don’t couldn’t) in formal writing

·      Avoid rhetorical questions (“Who wouldn’t be upset?”)

·      Use Italics for title of large works (Iliad, Odyssey, Antigone, Lysistrata)

·      Don’t say “I think”

·      Don’t use / as in “if/when Achilles returns to battle”

·      Avoid colloquialism:

o  “Antigone from the get go has a bad rep that is showed in her wanting to commit a crime.”

·      Whenever you start a sentence with the word IT, go back and think “what is ‘it’, exactly?”