Getting an A on an English Paper

Jack Lynch,
Rutgers University – Newark


Your use of language should be precise. Never, ever, ever use a word or phrase whose meaning you don't know exactly. You might have heard words like deconstruction or ideology, and think they'll spruce up your paper. If you don't know their precise meanings, don't use them in the hopes of sounding impressive.
One special subset of precise language for English papers: literary terms. If you refer to an essay as a “story,” or call a stanza a “verse,” you do yourself no favors.

With this in mind, I've been preparing a Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms in my . . . erm . . . spare time. It's still far from complete, but even now it should help you to avoid the bigger blunders. In particular, check out my page of Easy Confused Terms.

from Jack Lynch's guide,
Getting an A on an English Paper

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