Formal writing does not use second person pronouns. Just as the writer
becomes anonymous as far as personality is concerned, so does the reader. The
writer does not address the reader as you. The informal you should be replaced
by one or another appropriate word or phrase.
Formal writing does not include contractions. Do not use can’t, won’t,
doesn’t, don’t, or other contractions when writing formal papers for this class.
NOTE: It’s is a contraction for it is and should not be used. Its shows possession
and is acceptable. Also, cannot is one word.
Slang is not appropriate for formal writing. Several words used in your
speaking vocabulary should not be included in formal papers.
Clichés are not appropriate for formal writing. Clichés should be eliminated.
Express your ideas in original terms.
Formal writing requires more complexity in sentence structure. In all
writing, sentence length and complexity should be varied; this is truer still of
formal writing. However, do not increase complexity at the risk of coherence.
Formal writing requires the most precise and correct choices from among
alternatives in grammar and usage. There are many questions of language
which cannot be resolved as "correct" or "incorrect." Be conscious of context
and clarity when making distinctions. In formal writing you need to choose
either who or whom, between or among.
Your grade on each assignment will be increased by three points if you correct
your errors.
You should correct each assignment in the following manner before you submit
the next assignment:
1. You need to correct only the errors that are marked with a correction
symbol or description. I will label the error number 1, 2, etc. and in the
margin I will write the handbook code for the error.
2. Begin with the first error marked in your paper. The number in the margins
of your paper corresponds to the handbook in the back of the text. If you do
not understand what is wrong with your sentence, look up that section in the
handbook and read the explanation carefully to see why you made the mistake.
After you understand the error, write the correction on a separate sheet of
paper stating which mistake you are correcting (number 1, 2, etc.) and rewrite
the whole sentence that contains the mistake. Do not rewrite your paper.
3. After you have looked up and corrected every error, write the word
CORRECTED on the title page of your assignment. Turn in the corrections
within one week. You cannot make corrections and receive extra points
after the due date for the next assignment.