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Writing Rules to Never Break

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years, 5 months ago

Courtesy of Mr. J. Nerf


Nerf’s No-No’s

An Incomplete List of Detestable Writing Errors

1. Use of second person: YOU. Do not directly address me in your essays. We are not pen pals. Do you understand?

2. Misspelling the author’s name. Shakespear did not write Hamlet. Look on the book cover if you become suddenly confused.

3. Pronoun and Antecedent Dis-Agreement: Everyone has their own opinion of this rule. Singular pronouns match singular antecedents. Remember:

Everyone and Everybody are singular; always use “his” or “her” (choose one ) when referring back to these pronouns. Everyone has his own opinion. Everybody forgot her manners.

NEVER USE everyone/their or everybody/their.

4. Forgetting that singular subjects use singular verbs and plural subjects use plural verbs. These kinds of mistakes makes me mad.

5. Using “alot” instead of “a lot” Alot ain’t a word!

6. Using unparallel form when listing items in a sentence.

YUCK: His hobbies include reading, surfing the Internet, and to go to the beach.

INTELLIGENT: His hobbies include reading, surfing the Internet, and going to the


7. Incorrect shift in verb tense. When writing your essays, remember that you were choosing what tense you are writing in. Do not have been changing your tenses unnecessarily.

8. Lack of transitions between ideas. The author uses transitions between her ideas.  Don’t eat uncooked hamburger meat. Huh? See what I mean? You must have a transition between your ideas so that your reader will understand how you got from point A to point B.

9. Failure to use the FULL NAME (usually first and last) of an author on the INITIAL reference. You may switch to the last name upon subsequent references. You are not William Shakespeare’s buddy, so don’t refer to him as William, Bill, or Big Willy!

10. Run-on sentences. I do not like them Sam-I-Am! There is no excuse for them in an AP student’s writing. Either write compound sentences by using a coordinating conjunction and a comma, by using a semi-colon, or by dividing your sentence into two or more shorter ones.

11. Sentence fragments. AAAARRGGGH! I detest these even more than run-ons. I am fully aware that Hemingway and other authors use frags and r/o’s. When I am teaching one of your novels or short stories in my AP class, I will no longer require that your writing be free from the little buggers.


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