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As you submit your first essay, I wanted us to talk a little bit about academic writing conventions. Academic writing is often formal and has to follow certain requirements. Being able to write academically will help you in other courses, but it will also help you in other communication, whether that is within your workplace or elsewhere is society.


To remind us of what that looks like, please watch the video below and check out the handout after that. These will help as you write your final draft of this essay this week.


  1. Avoid using contractions in formal writing (can’t, won’t, isn’t, etc).
  2. Try not to begin sentences with connecting words like “and,” “but,” “so” or a vague pronoun, like “this” or “it.”
  3. Avoid using phrases like “I think,” “I believe,” or “In my opinion.”
  4. Make sure you do not write like this is an email. Any written assignment for this course other than a reflective journal is formal writing. Slang, symbols and abbreviations are not accepted. Particularly offensive items include the following: & = and, b/c = because w/ = with, lol – laugh out loud, w/out = without, u=you.
  5. Eliminate Passive Voice!!! While we may speak this way, this is not the most effective way to write. How do you prevent this? Make sure the subject of your sentence is actively completing the verb. Writing actively also eliminates wordiness, a. Passive – The paper was graded by the teacher b. ACTIVE – The teacher graded the paper.
  6. Avoid overuse direct quotes and paraphrased material. While these can work great as support, we want the majority of the essay to be your words, opinions, and analysis.

If you want to know more, check out the The Dos and Don’ts of Academic Writing. (Links to an external site.)


Once you have watched the video and read through the rules, answer the following questions:

  1. Do any of these rules surprise you? Have you been breaking any of them so far?
  2. What three things did you learn from these lectures that will help you as you do your final revision of Essay Project 3?
  3. Do you have any questions on any of these rules?

As you respond to your classmates, try to look at what questions they may have had and help them out if you can, or find commonalities within what you have learned.

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