Writing Tips for the AP English Exam 26 Golden Rules for Writing Well 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Don’t abbrev. Check to see if you any words out. Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct. About sentence fragments. When dangling, don’t use participles. Don’t use no double negatives. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent. Just between you and I, case is important. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should. Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary. It’s important to use an apostrophe’s right. It’s better not to use unnecessarily split an infinitive. Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object. 26 Golden Rules for Writing Well cont. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any twowords phrase. In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart. Watch out for irregular verbs that have creeped into our languages. Verbs has to agree with their subject. Avoid unnecessary redundancy. A writer mustn’t shift your point of view. Don’t write a run-on sentence you’ve got to punctuate it. A preposition isn’t a good thing to end a sentence with. Avoid clichés like the plague. 1 final thing is to never start a sentence with a number. Always check your work for accuracy and completeness. [ANON] Warning: These are supposed to be funny! Focus on the Prompt Must answer the question (the prompt). Use specific evidence to support assertions. Explain the purpose of the device-answer the “So What?” question. Thoroughly explain relevance of quote to the prompt-interpret!! Structure and Composition PLAN essay: What does text mean? What is author’s message? How is message delivered? Write introduction last (one sentence okay). Provide cues where ideas begin/end. KNOW your audience! Arguable thesis reflecting essay: Example: The text shows____________ in order to show/highlight/accomplish __________________. Style Don’t show off Take a risk Be critical and analytical Get to the point Don’t moralize Be yourself! Don’t apologize Grammar Use active voice Use present tense for literature Use strong verbs Physical Writing Large letters---PRINT…write legibly No hearts, smiley faces or big circles over I’s Use black pen Cross out mistakes and start over. Add arrow Avoid Reader’s response: “I liked” Lists: Writer’s use…,…, and … Fluff Personal discussions Apologies Plot summary Formulaic writing-esp. opening! Creating a title for your essay. Content Speaker=Author Characters=Audience/Speaker Evidence, Evidence, Evidence Use quotes (not just line #) Consider the point of view and the audience of the piece Be critical and analytical “Rules” for a Thesis: A thesis is never a question. A thesis is never a list. The thesis must advance an argument. A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational. Avoid being seen as moralistic and judgmental. An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. Say to yourself, “Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim.” A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible. Avoid overused, general terms, and abstractions. An Effective Thesis Cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Is not a topic; Is not a fact; Is not an opinion. An Effective Thesis: Has two parts. Should declare what will be argued. Should “telegraph” how you plan to argue. Should declare the particular support to be used to uphold the claim. Thesis Statement Websites UNC Indiana University Northwestern Purdue ***If these links don’t work, just Google “writing a good thesis statement” and you will find these sites.