P. Kay Formal Research Essay

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English Department

Mr. P. Kay

Formal Research Essay:
Style and Format Recommendations & Reminders:

  • Works Cited: remember to use a hanging indent for the second and third lines of a citation.

  • your Works Cited page is paginated (and in fact, may have more than one page) as per the essay proper.

  • if you have an embedded citation, it (usually the surname) must appear in the Works Cited.

  • spacing: double space all elements of your essay; do not add extra spaces between paragraphs; do not add extra spaces after your title; do not add extra spaces after your pagination; do not add extra spaces…

  • avoid changing your margin settings

  • know the significance of square brackets: “[W]hy he went to this trouble is evident…”

  • know the significance and proper usage of the ellipsis ( … …. )

  • do not use personal pronouns (I think; you begin to believe; we think)

  • do not use the verb ‘being’.

  • create an effective title for your essay; it should lead to or link with your theses; the title should not refer to the essay (i.e. Macbeth Essay); the title should not ask a question.

  • use the simple past; keep your tense consistent (do not switch tenses).

  • be careful with your preposition choice (where – wherein; that – who)

  • never use quotations side by side. (… in the end.” “Then he was…)

  • use single quotation marks within quotation marks [i.e.” Macbeth said, ‘Help!’ to anyone who would listen” (Smith, 24).]

  • avoid all tentative diction: somewhat, sort of, could be, may be, maybe could, might, possibly, in a way, evidently, it seems, though opinions may vary, of sorts, appears, likely…

  • avoid quotations in your Introduction paragraph

  • avoid stopping the essay and defining terms.

  • avoid short forms (etc., i.e. e.g.); avoid asking a question of the reader.

  • do not use anecdotal evidence (i.e. “my friend said…”)

  • avoid short forms and contractions of any kind (etc.; c-section; shouldn’t, couldn’t, haven’t, don’t…)

  • avoid short forms with numbers (i.e. do not use 1; write it out as one).

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