Writing Tips for the AP English
Exam
26 Golden Rules for Writing
Well
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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.
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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
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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
__________________.
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Style
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Don’t show off
Take a risk
Be critical and analytical
Get to the point
Don’t moralize
Be yourself! Don’t apologize
Grammar
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Use active voice
Use present tense for literature
Use strong verbs
Physical Writing
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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
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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
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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:
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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
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Cannot be answered with a
simple “yes” or “no.”
Is not a topic;
Is not a fact;
Is not an opinion.
An Effective Thesis:
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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
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UNC
Indiana University
Northwestern
Purdue
***If these links don’t work, just Google “writing a good
thesis statement” and you will find these sites.
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26 Golden Rules for Writing Well