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The Never List

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 2 years, 9 months ago

The Never List





  • Begin papers with "universal" statements about history, mankind, women, or "all" of anything.
  • Begin a sentence with “Now,” “Well,” "Yes," or "Sure"
  • Use page or line numbers anywhere in your prose except in citations
  • Begin paragraphs with obvious or incontestable facts
  • Use “very,” “really,” “totally,” or “definitely” or similarly empty adverbs
  • Ask a rhetorical question (a question whose answer is obvious)
  • Use “way,” “such,” or “so” as an adjective or adverb
  • Begin your conclusion with “In conclusion”
  • Tell your reader any of your evidence “proves” anything (unless it’s a mathematical proof!)
  • Bet anything (as in, "I'll bet...") or assume everyone shares your experience (as in, "We've all seen...)
  • Tell me that you or your reader "can relate" to a situation, character, person, etc.  The phrase you usually want is "identify with."
  • Tell me "it's up to the reader to decide."  In your papers, you're the reader: decide!


Almost never:


  • Use “you”
  • Begin a body paragraph by introducing a quotation.
  • End a paragraph with a quotation: quotes require analysis.
  • Use any verb tense besides the present when discussing literary works: Authors "write," "describe," "show," etc.  Characters "say," "lament," "find," "lose," "live," "die," etc. So avoid "is writing," "is saying," and of course wrote, said, stabbed, etc.


And be especially wary of the pronoun "this."  If you use it, we must know exactly what it refers to (for example, "this plot turn," "this image," "this emphasis on...").


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