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Don’t Use Metaphors in Essays

Essays May Not Include Metaphors

Don’t Use Metaphors in Essays

“My life is a tree. It has deep roots, but it needs to be watered so that it can branch out and touch the sky,” Pablo wrote in his essay introduction.

“Wow! That tree needs to be pruned a bit; I would leaf the extended metaphors to your poetry,” I suggested.

“Oh, I get it. Only formal, literal writing for essays,” sighs Pablo.

Definitions and Examples

A metaphor is an implied (suggested) comparison of two unlike things. Example: Love is a rose

An extended metaphor continues the comparison through several sentences in a story or through several lines in a poem. Example: “Love is a rose, but you better not pick it. It only grows when it’s on the vine. A handful of thorns and you’ll know you’ve missed it. You lose your love when you say the word mine.” (Neil Young)

Read the rule.

Don’t use metaphors or other figures of speech in essays.

Practice

Write the sentences and [bracket] the metaphors.

  1. My heart is broken. I feel so blue, but I know that time will heal all wounds.
  2. That student is always fishing for compliments. She has absolutely no self-confidence.
  3. Life is a journey, but the first step is often the scariest.
  4. Working with her study group was worse than swimming in a sea of sharks.
  5. She is walking a tightrope with her boss on making a profit and cutting costs.

Revise the sentence by eliminating the metaphors.

Even if a metaphor hits a home run, it can be over-played.

Answers

  1. My [heart is broken]. I [feel so blue], but I know that [time will heal all wounds].
  2. That student is always [fishing for compliments]. She has absolutely no self-confidence.
  3. [Life is a journey], but the [first step] is often the scariest.
  4. Working with her study group was worse than [swimming in a sea of sharks].
  5. She is [walking a tightrope] with her boss on making a profit and cutting costs.

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avoiding Repetitious Writing

How to Avoid Repetitious Writing

Repetitious Writing

“All students should always include citations for their textual evidence, and every pupil must always include whom and where the fact or idea was found, and everyone in our editing group ought to do that as well,” advised Melanie. “Each writer need to always include these proper credits in their essays,” she advised.

“Good reminders, Melanie, but we students will have to always exclude you from our peer editing group unless you get rid of your repetitious writing.”

Definition and Examples

Repetitious writing involves repeating the same ideas, words or synonyms of those words, and sentence structure. Refer to the dialogue above for the following examples:

  • Ideas‒Examples: “citations for their textual evidence,” “whom and where the fact or idea was found,” “proper credits”
  • Words or Phrases‒Examples: “always include”
  • Subjects‒Examples: “students,” “pupil,” “our editing group,” and “writer”
  • Predicates and Verb Forms‒Examples: “should,” “must,” “ought to,” need to”, “have to”
  • Modifiers‒Examples: “All,” “every,” “everyone,” “each”

Read the rules.

  • Don’t repeat ideas.
  • Don’t overuse the same or synonymous words and phrases.
  • Vary sentence structure in terms of subject-verb-object pattern; types of sentences (simple, complex, compound, compound-complex) or (declarative, imperative, interrogative, exclamatory); and sentence length.

Practice

Write the sentences and [bracket] the repetitious writing.

  1. I like that idea because the concept is a brilliant thought.
  2. None of the athletes were ready, and not one of them had prepared.
  3. That’s a crazy thing to say, and that certainly requires an apology.
  4. I went shopping. I left. I came home. It had been an exhausting day.
  5. Don’t go there. Leave her alone, and stop pestering her. She will come back when she can.

Revise the repetitious writing in this sentence.

Every student should always avoid repetitious writing and each pupil must refrain in all cases.

Answers

  1. I like that [idea] because the [concept] is a brilliant [thought].
  2. [None] of the athletes were [ready], and [not one] of them had [prepared].
  3. [That’s] a crazy thing to say, and [that] certainly requires an apology.
  4. [I went shopping.] [I left.] [I came home.] It had been an exhausting day.
  5. [Don’t go there.] [Leave her alone,] and [stop pestering her.] She will come back when she can.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avoiding Parentheses

Avoid Using Parentheses

Avoiding Parentheses

Jesse complained, “Ms. Sherril banned me from using parentheses in my essays.”

“They can get annoying,” said Ryan.

“Okay, I’ll just use dashes or brackets instead.”

“Uh, no. Pretty soon you’ll be banned from writing anything.”

Definition and Examples

An appositive is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that identifies or explains another noun or pronoun before or after it. If the appositive is nonessential to the meaning of the sentence, parentheses (or commas) are used to signal and separate this identification or explanation. The appositive could be removed without changing the basic meaning of the sentence. Examples: An actress, Marta, knew how to project. Jane (the girl with red hair) acted childishly. If the appositive is essential to the meaning of the sentence, no punctuation is used. Example: The U.S. president Ronald Reagan was known as “The Great Communicator.”

Read the rule.

Avoid using unnecessary appositives. When you must use an appositive in an essay, use commas, rather than parentheses, to set apart the appositive from the noun or pronoun it modifies.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the appositives and their punctuation.

  1. Nancy (the pharmacist) advised my mom to buy the over-the-counter brand.
  2. Mitchell was talking to Wanda, Lisa’s little sister.
  3. By 1786, ten years after the writing of the Declaration of Independence, England was once again our largest trading partner including exports (chiefly cotton) and imports (mainly textiles).
  4. My sister’s bicycle (a bright green BMX) was stolen off the porch (where she left it).
  5. The women, Ms. Mears, paid for our trip (the flight, car rental, and hotel).

Revise the sentence, eliminating the appositive.

Parenthetical remarks should (usually) be avoided.

Answers

  1. Nancy [(the pharmacist)] advised my mom to buy the over-the-counter brand.
  2. Mitchell was talking to Wanda[, Lisa’s little sister].
  3. By 1786[, ten years after the writing of the Declaration of Independence,] England was once again our largest trading partner including exports [(chiefly cotton)] and imports [(mainly textiles)].
  4. My sister’s bicycle [(a bright green BMX)] was stolen off the porch [(where she left it)].
  5. The women[, Ms. Mears,] paid for our trip [(the flight, car rental, and hotel)].

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avoiding Clichés

Identify and Revise Clichés

Avoiding Clichés

“When an expression is overused to the point of becoming meaningless, it is known as a cliché,” Mr. Espinosa explained. “A cliché doesn’t show originality.”

“Why should we listen to Mr. Espinosa? Sam whispered. “He’s as old as the hills. It’s just a matter of time before he retires.”

“Maybe he’s still got something to teach you about clichés,” Arianna whispered back.

Definition and Examples

A cliché is an overused and worn-out word, phrase, or sentence, which has lost its original meaning or effect. A cliché can have a literal or a figurative meaning. Examples: awesome; plenty of fish in the sea; what goes around, comes around

Speakers often use clichés as conversational fillers to generalize or draw a conclusion.

Examples:

“Putting together that toy is challenging, but it’s not rocket science,” she said.

“Yes, but at the end of the day, those little challenges help us think outside the box,” he replied.

Read the rule.

Don’t use clichés in formal writing, such as essays. Instead of clichés, use original thoughts and more specific language. Some writers intentionally use a cliché, but revise the wording to provide an original idea.

Practice

Write these sentences and [bracket] the clichés.

  1. Those two a certainly a strange pair. Who knows what he sees in her. Love is blind.
  2. You’re never going to make them accept you. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  3. She’s a bad apple and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her parents have issues, as well.
  4. For Matt the grass is always greener on the other side, but experience is the best teacher.
  5. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Revise the the clichés in the following sentence.

In this day and age, using clichés is not a necessary evil.

Answers

  1. Those two a certainly a strange pair. Who knows [what he sees in her]. [Love is blind].
  2. You’re never going to make them accept you. [You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time].
  3. She’s [a bad apple] and [the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree]. Her parents have issues, as well.
  4. For Matt [the grass is always greener on the other side], but [experience is the best teacher].
  5. [You can’t judge a book by its cover], but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unsupported Generalizations

Avoid Absolute Words

Unsupported Generalizations

“Check out my thesis statement: ‘Everyone agrees that the school day should be shortened.’”

“How were you able to survey everyone? You never asked me.”

“Okay, I’ll ask you now. What do you think?”

“I’d suggest you re-write your thesis and avoid using unsupported generalizations.”

Definition and Examples

A generalization is a statement which applies to most all cases and to most all times. When writers combine specific points of an essay into a broader focus, this is known as a making a generalization. An unsupported generalization is a broad statement, which cannot be concluded from the essay evidence or details. Unsupported Generalization Example: All Americans support a strong national defense. Supported Generalization Example: The plan provides three workable ideas to solve the problem of plastic waste.

Read the rules.

  • Don’t include generalizations in the essay thesis statement and body paragraphs.
  • Writers can develop generalizations and include these in the essay conclusion, but generalizations must be supported by specific evidence and details of the body paragraphs. Never include unsupported generalizations.
  • Avoid absolute words, such as nothing, everything, none, all, everyone, definite(ly), worst, best, never, always

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the generalizations.

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but the girls liked the presentation.
  2. Mexican food is so spicy, but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that young people just do not vote, and so seniors have more say in determining who gets elected. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. The students all want more electives; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls, but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Revise the intentional fragment.

Writers should always avoid using unsupported generalizations.

Answers

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but [the girls liked the presentation.]
  2. [Mexican food is so spicy], but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that [young people just do not vote], and so [seniors have more say in determining who gets elected]. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. [The students all want more electives]; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. [Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls], but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wordiness | Eliminating Expletives

Eliminating Expletives

Eliminate Expletives

Manny said, “My teacher told me to stop saying ‘I think’ in my essays.”

“Anything you say or write is what you think or what you believe, isn’t it?” I asked.

“I believe that. At least I think so. In my opinion, you are correct.”

“Yikes! Listen to your teacher,” I advised.

Definition and Examples

An expletive is an unnecessary expression, which does not add meaning to a sentence. Yes, it can be a profanity, but it can also be a word like the “Yes” in this sentence. Often, expletives add emotion or emphasis to one’s speech or writing; however, well-chosen nouns and verbs can usually do the same job and do so with greater precision and brevity.

When speaking, we have quite a few expressions meant to fill space in conversations. Speakers may add, “um,” or “well,” or “you know,” or “uh” when talking to friends. However, in formal speeches, speakers try to eliminate these unnecessary expressions. While these speech fillers are generally not used in writing (except dialogue), writing does have its share of words and phrases inserted into sentences which do not contribute to the meaning.

Position Examples: I believe, I think, in my opinion

Grammatical Examples: There (here) are (were, is, will be)

Read the rules.

There, Their, They're Poster

There, Their, They’re

Avoid unnecessary expressions in formal writing, such as essays, which do not contribute meaning.

  • Do not refer to yourself as the writer in an essay with expressions which state your position or beliefs
  • Avoid using words or phrases at the beginning of sentences, which do not contribute meaning.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the unnecessary expressions.

  1. I believe all citizens should vote. There are no excuses not to vote in a democracy.
  2. Here is an important item for the class to discuss. I think students might have strong opinions on this matter.
  3. In my opinion and in the opinion of my friends, we should have a pizza party next week.
  4. There were four contestants in the science fair, which had innovative projects, I think.
  5. Here will be the sign-up list on the table. I believe everyone should volunteer to do something.

Revise the sentence by eliminating unnecessary expressions.

In my opinion, using “I think” or “I believe” is unnecessary.

Answers

  1. [I believe] all citizens should vote. [There are] no excuses not to vote in a democracy.
  2. [Here is] an important item for the class to discuss. [I think] students might have strong opinions on this matter.
  3. [In my opinion] and [in the opinion] of my friends, we should have a pizza party next week.
  4. [There were] four contestants in the science fair, which had innovative projects, [I think.]
  5.  [Here will be] the sign-up list on the table. [I believe] everyone should volunteer to do something.

*****

  1. Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

    Teaching Essay Strategies

    For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

    Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avoid Attention-Getting Alliteration

Avoid Poetic Devices

Avoid Alliteration

“I want my fans to pay attention to my magnificent mastery and manipulation of the English language in this argumentative essay,” explained Teddy.

“I’d rather focus their attention on my evidence,” said Cherish. “Save the attention-getting alliteration for your poetry.”

Definition and Examples

Alliteration is a poetic device in which the initial (first) consonant sound is repeated. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Read the rule.

Don’t use poetic devices, such as alliteration, in formal writing. Poetic devices focus the reader’s attention on the writing itself, while essays are designed to argue a point of view or inform and explain. Essays focus on the content of the writing.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the alliteration.

  1. The bear buried its nose in the berry patch.
  2. My cat cowered under the couch, afraid of the vacuum monster.
  3. Sam simply asked if the salmon seemed a bit under-cooked.
  4. The four hyenas paced nervously in their constricting cages.
  5. Amaria never noticed that the champion chihuahua was dressed in a fur-lined sweater and diamond dog collar.

Revise the sentence to eliminate alliteration.

Always avoid attention-getting alliteration.

Answers

  1. The [bear buried] its nose in the [berry] patch.
  2. My [cat cowered] under the [couch], afraid of the vacuum monster.
  3. [Sam simply] asked if the [salmon seemed] a bit under-cooked.
  4. The four hyenas paced nervously in their [constricting cages].
  5. Amaria [never noticed] that the [champion chihuahua] was dressed in a fur-lined sweater and [diamond dog] collar.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coordinating Conjunctions | Writing Style

Coordinating Conjunction Fragments

Coordinating Conjunctions

“My told me not to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions unless I finish them,” Peter said. “But I won’t.”

“Won’t what?” I asked. “Start sentences with coordinating conjunctions or finish them?”

“Oh… now I get it. You’re pretty clever.”

“And so I am.”

Definition and Examples

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. The seven coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered by the acronym, FANBOYS (For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So). Examples: Jack and Jill; thinking quickly; but acting slowly; She left her job early, so she would be able to clean the house before the guests arrived.

*****

Read the rules.

Frequently, teachers will tell their students not to begin their sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Teachers give this advice because many students who use these sentence beginnings often fail to complete their sentences and wind up with fragments. However, writers many begin sentences with coordinating conjunctions under the following conditions:

  • An independent clause (a subject and predicate expressing a complete thought) must follow the beginning coordinating conjunction.
  • Don’t begin too many sentences in an essay with coordinating conjunctions. Sentence variety is important, so don’t overuse the same sentence structure.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the conjunctions.

  1. Byron and Jake were late, not Pedro or Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, but hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy yet loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, nor will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing and snowboarding, for these sports cost too much and take up so much of their leisure time.

Re-write the sentence to eliminate the fragment.

But do not start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction unless you finish it.

Answers

  1. Byron [and] Jake were late, not Pedro [or] Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, [but] hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy [yet] loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, [nor] will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing [and] snowboarding, [for] these sports cost too much [and] take up so much of their leisure time.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,