How to write the WORST paper ever
...
(It’s worse with a dumb font.)
by Mark J. Boone,
edited by UWC staff
(© DBU University Writing Center)
What this presentation is
all about . . .
 DBU students deserve to know how to write
as badly as possible. With this in mind, the
DBU Writing Center arranged for this
convenient summary of useful tips for
writing horrible, terrible, nightmarishly
monstrous, hideous, disastrous, and possibly
even overly embellished papers.
 The following tips will help you write the
worst possible paper . . .
Firstly, be sure to format
incorrectly . . .
 One-inch margins are pretty standard, so don’t use those.
 Use unacceptable fonts, like blades and wingdings.
Don’t use Times New Roman, because this is always a good
font. Fonts like Courier New and Arial don’t go very far
towards bad writing, but you might still be able to lose points
with a few professors by using these fonts.
 Consider using bad spacing; single-space because this is
almost never a good thing. Make your paper longer with
triple-spacing, because professors are certain to notice this
and get really angry! Or, be sneaky and use 2.2 spacing and
find out how observant they really are!
 Oh, and Strong Bad’s advice will also ruin your paper.
Make poor use of your
computer . . .
 Don’t use spell-check!
 If you do use spell-check, assume it knows when
you spelled the wrong word correctly!
 Pretend that a computer can actually be taught
grammar, and let the grammar-check make all
your corrections! This is a sure-fire way to have
at least a few instances of bad grammar because
the computer’s grammar-check is often wrong.
Putting too much trust in the computer is a surefire way to write a really bad paper!
Be careless with your
grammar . . .
 Commas!
– Use comma splicing; connect as many complete sentences
as possible with a puny little comma instead of the
stronger semicolon.
– Use unnecessary commas every now and then, or
whenever you feel like it! Unnecessary commas are
especially painful when professors see them hanging
around between a subject and its verb!
– Leave out necessary commas! Say “January 4, 2001 was
a good day” instead of “January 4, 2001, was a good
day.” Also leave out the second comma in “Dallas, TX, is
a nice place,” and “Martin Luther King, Jr., was a good
man.” This is very useful for aggravating certain Writing
Center employees.
Be more careless with your
grammar . . .
 Incomplete sentences are wonderful when you’re trying
to write badly! To use incomplete sentences, be sure not to
proofread your paper while looking out for incomplete
thoughts; don’t check to make sure you have a subject and
a verb in every sentence.
 Make your sentences as long as possible because overly long sentences
can be really annoying to professors and to Writing Center staff, and can
be at least as bad as having only short sentences because they represent
poor writing style and they also represent an inability to divide your
thoughts into different sentences and they also show that you can’t put
your thoughts into concise statements but can only talk on and on and on
about something that could have been said very quickly and still have
meant the same stupid thing. Run-on sentences are usually fused
sentences they go straight into a new sentence without so much as a lowly
semicolon these can really mess up your writing.
Be still more careless with
your grammar . . .
 Don’t let your English professors or the Writing Center help you learn
the difference between objective and subjective pronouns! For
instance, don’t learn that who is a subjective pronoun to be used as a
subject or a predicate nominative (Who would have known that?) and
that whom is an objective pronoun (From whom came such an
annoying rule, and whom will I tick off if I break it?).
 Prepositions are better left dangled. Keep them at the end of the
sentence. See how dumb it sounds if I say to keep prepositions “the
end at the sentence of”? See how sophisticated I sound when I say,
“To whom have I the honor of speaking?”? You really don’t want to
sound sophisticated in your writing, do you? No, of course you want
to sound unsophisticated; not only will this keep your grades low, but it
will also help you not get a good, high-paying job!
Be absurdly careless with
your grammar . . .
 Using those things with unclear antecedents can
really cause a lot of confusion. Are you confused?
I hope so. (I was talking about pronouns).
 It’s also fun to have your pronouns disagree in
number with their antecedents. Each professor
pulls their hair when a student forgets their
agreement rules.
 Subjects and verbs needs to disagree if you wants
a bad paper. Subject-verb disagreement is really a
wonderful way to write carelessly.
Spelling . . .
 Like we said, don’t use spell-check and if
you do, expect it to know when you spelled
the wrong word correctly!
 Mistakes are easy to make if you don’t learn
how to spell homonyms! You could try
picking just one spelling of words like
“there,” “they’re,” and “their,” and then
being consistent.
Vocabulary . . .
 Don’t use a thesaurus! This is too valuable a
resource to have near you when you’re writing bad
papers!
 Use the adverb ‘very’ very, very, very often
because it will pad your paper a little bit.
 Ambiguous words are always good. Don’t be
precise in your language; you want your reader to
read till the end of your paper and not know what
you were saying.
Proofreading . . .
 Don’t proofread silently to catch your mistakes!
 Don’t read your paper out loud in front of a mirror! If you
do, you might realize you don’t like something about the
way you wrote it!
 When you write something down and then read it
sometimes you see what you meant to write and can’t see
what you actually wrote. Don’t let your friends proofread
to make up for this problem!
 Most importantly, don’t start on your paper early enough to
have any time left for proofreading!
Procrastination . . .
 This is the single most important thing you can do to make your
paper pathetic. Skilled procrastinators have been known to
write things as pathetic as this presentation is!
 Good papers need to be started early, so that you have plenty of
time to make corrections and thoroughly mull over your
thoughts, as well as enough time to go over your paper with
peers and make corrections on the problems they find.
 So be sure to never start earlier than you think you might need
to, and especially don’t start on time!
 Wait until an hour before the paper is due before you take it to
the Writing Center for help; don’t go in time to get advice from
the Writing Center and still make corrections!
Develop key long-term
habits . . .
 The single most important thing you can do to be a
bad writer is to read good books and quality
magazines as little as possible.
 Also, be sure to mistake the Writing Center for an
editing and proof-reading service, useful for
bringing up your grade on a few papers! You can
especially multiply and perpetuate key
grammatical errors if you don’t use your local
Writing Center for as a valuable source for
teaching you useful grammar rules.
Plagiarize . . .
 An easy way to plagiarize is to just write your paper and do some
research and never know that you’re supposed to use quotation marks
and to follow the instructions at our website for citing things correctly
in MLA or Turabian or APA! This sort of thing could get you a 0% on
a paper.
 Let other people do your writing for you! Take their whole paper and
call it your own! This is such a great way to write a bad paper that you
can get expelled from school by doing this!
 Steal ideas from others without giving credit, just like how the guy
who wrote up most of this PowerPoint shamelessly stole ideas from all
his co-workers without thanking them even once. (Jerk.) It’s always
useful for writing bad papers to never learn that anything that’s not
your knowledge or common knowledge has to be cited.
Poor thesis . . .
 Be sure to have an unclear thesis statement.
 Don’t think critically about your own ideas.
 Confuse the purpose of the introduction and conclusion.
Forget that the introduction is really meant to do three
things: catch the reader’s attention, introduce the topic, and
present the thesis statement. Forget that the conclusion’s
purpose is to restate the thesis and bring some kind of
closure without adding any new information.
 Develop a thesis statement and don’t talk about it at all.
This will make your paper disorganized.
Poor thesis . . .
 There are two basic strategies for making the thesis and the
paper say the same thing. One way is to start with a thesis
statement in your introduction and then be careful to talk
about the same thing in the body of your paper. The other
way is to write the body of the paper and then to go back to
your introduction and make sure the thesis statement says
the same thing. Of course you can mix them by writing
the thesis statement, trying to follow it in the body, and
then going back to the introduction and modifying the
thesis.
 If you’re trying to write a bad paper, don’t do either!
General tips for poor
writing . . .
 Try to talk in first person as much as possible because this
is usually considered a bad thing in academic writing.
 Try to write the paper so only you know what you’re
talking about, and the reader doesn’t have a clue! Never
consider the audience and their needs because the paper is
all about you.
 Most importantly, avoid asking the professor what to do
when you’re not sure how to go about doing something.
(Oh, and: never consult the class syllabus or the Writing
Center.).
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How to write the WORST paper ever