Paper and Exam Instructions

General Format

Type your papers.

Use 12 point (preferably Arial font).

Use 1 inch margins.

Double space (except for the header on the first page and long block quotes).

Put your last name and the page number on the top right header on every page.

On top left of page one include your full name, course, and date.

Have a title for your paper. Put the title in bold. Center the title on the first page.

Indent new paragraphs, including the first (there is no need to skip a line when double spaced).

Include the word count at the end of the paper.

Staple the pages together.

Separate long quotes (over 4 lines) from the main text.

Italicize movie and book titles.

Don't use ellipses (. . .) at the beginning or the end of a quote. They only belong in the middle.

Basic Mechanics

Make sure that you answer the question.

Have a thesis and argue for it.

Make sure that you write in complete sentences.

Write as clearly as you possibly can.

Writing Process

Think about how you will answer the question.

Explain your answer to someone or to yourself.

Sketch a brief outline.

Write a draft and revise.

Wait. Revise. Wait. Revise. Repeat.

Read the paper out loud.

Make sure that you have a thesis.

Make sure that your language is crystal clear.

Make sure that the logical flow is obvious.

Make sure that the transitions between paragraphs are clear.

Revise again.

Words and Phrases to Avoid

Never use business jargon or marketing speak.

Instead of “leverage,” say “make use of.”

Instead of “utilize,” say “use.”

Don't use “being” unless you are talking about a period of time.

The adjective “interesting” is empty. Think of a better term of praise.

Avoid empty clichés such as “thought provoking.”

Don't call ideas or actions “ignorant.” Only people can be ignorant. Since it's best not to call people names in your papers, you should avoid the term.

Don't use “disrespect” as a verb.