Pet Peeves of Writing

--Use of contractions

--Use of but, and, or to begin sentences. They are coordinating conjuctions!

--Misuse of the possessive its and of possessive forms in general.

--Use of you. When you write, you are not describing what I do, but what American or Russian or some specific group does. What do you use as an alternative?

--one. Remember that it is singular. One buys new clothes for himself.

--he or she or he/she. Be consistent! He or she buys new clothes for him or herself.
--Be specific. American...An American person...An American woman...An American man...American people...Then refer back to these terms with appropriate pronouns:  they, he, she

--Use of rhetorical questions. They do not advance your argument and simply restate. Move forward! Example: What is the purpose of American clothing distinctions? Instead, make a clear statement: We will examine the purpose of American clothing distinctions OR the purpose of American clothing distinctions is multifacted. It includes:...

--Use of so as a conjuction. So, we might conclude that...This is a conversational term, not a writing term.

--Use of also as a conjuction. Also, we might conclude that...We might also conclude that... reads better and is less awkward.

--Confusion of there and their.

--Careless spelling errors. Spellcheck is a wonderful thing, but it will not catch errors such as cress for dress or their for there, since those are all correctly spelled English words.

Writing a Good Paper

--Do not make assumptions. Be as specific as you can. While I am an American, I may not share your vision of epic or American life. You need to spell it out for me--details, details, details.

--Be sure that you address all facets of the issues. For example, you are being asked to discuss a particular set of data and various theories that apply to it. That requirement suggests that the paper should include a discussion of both the epics and the theory. Describe the epics fully; use both my information from class AND the epics you read as a basis for your argument. Avoid vague generalizations.

--Use supporting material from books, theorists, examples from the movie and the epics we read.

--Establish what you want to prove before you begin to write. What is the main idea/thesis? Where are you going with this topic? What data can you use to prove your thesis? I do not care if you disagree or agree with me/your classmates, but you need to argue, so that your points are well supported.