English 9

Mr. Leib


Do not transition out of a paragraph.

In other words, your transition between paragraphs should appear
at the BEGINNING of a paragraph, not at the end of a paragraph. Everything in a paragraph must relate to its topic sentence, just as everything in an essay must relate to its thesis statement. Using the end of a paragraph to introduce what is in the next paragraph violates this rule.

Do not use the phrase “in conclusion.”

If you begin your conclusion with the words “in conclusion,” you say
to the reader, “Hey, reader. You’re A Idiot. You can’t even figure
out that the last paragraph of my essay is the conclusion. What a maroon!” Alternatively, you say to the reader, “Sorry, reader. I’m
such a lousy writer that you won’t be able to figure out that this is
the conclusion, even though IT’S THE LAST PARAGRAPH of my essay, you jerk.” Find another way to begin your conclusion.

Do not ask questions.

A writer once wrote, “Did you ever wonder what it would be like to dive out of an airplane?” The reader said, “No,” and stopped reading the essay. Whenever you ask a question, you may not get the answer you expect or want. So don’t do it.

Do not use the word “I.”

An essay is, as we know, an opinion. The opinion belongs to the writer. That means that there never is a reason to use phrases like “in my opinion” or “I believe” or even the word I or me (or we or us). The reader knows it is your opinion. Your name is on the first page (and
in the running head of every page after that, per MLA style).

Do not use the word “you.”

When you write an essay, you are speaking to the reader. Who is your reader? You do not know. You know nothing about what kind of person your reader is, what sort of life he or she has led, what constitutes his or her belief system—even what your reader’s gender is. Using the word “you” is presumptuous. The writer is making assumptions about the reader that may very well not be true.