MATTERS OF CONVENTION
PARTICULAR TO FORMAT STYLE
Instructors have different preferences for the use of certain writing styles based on the course, genre of writing, and type of assignment. It is advised to ask your instructor which styles of appropriate for class assignments, especially if the writing assignment is more formal.
Cliches are phrases that are popularized in society through conversations, written works, and media. They are often idioms or metaphors that have a general or non-specific meaning. Although cliches are popular phrases, they are not commonly used in formal or academic writing, because they lack originality. Preferences for the use of cliches will differ based on the instructor and type of writing assignment.
"People tell me that learning a new language is difficult, but they are wrong—it's a piece of cake!"
A contraction is a shorten word that is comprised of two words together with an apostrophe. Contractions are very common in regular speech and writing; however, they are often unsuitable for academic or formal writing.
"They didn’t want to go camping anymore after she’d ripped the tent on a rock."
Did not -> didn’t
She had -> she’d
When starting a sentence with “and” or “but”, you are taking a word that usually connects two terms and using it to connect two sentences. This is grammatically correct, and sentences that begin with “and” or “but” only need to include a comma if the writer wants a pause between sentences. Starting a sentence this way is not commonly used in formal writing, so it is advised to ask your instructor if you can use this style.
"Many people believe that airplanes are dangerous due to the potential of them crashing. But riding in a car is more dangerous."
"Climate change is a serious issue in our world today. And, if we do not slow down on our use of natural resources, the planet will be in worse shape."
A rhetorical question is used to emphasize an idea and is not expected to be answered.
"How many could say that they would have done differently?"
A hyperbole is an exaggerated statement that is used to emphasize something and can be used to express emotions or create humor. This type of figure of speech is not meant to be taken literally and is used in media and as a literary device.
"It is so hot outside that I am dying of thirst!"
A creative title is a title that summarizes or relates to the contents of the paper.
Non-creative title: Final Philosophy Essay
Creative title: The Human Minds Tendency Towards Bias: The Idols of the Cave
The following items may differ based on the type of essay format (e.g., APA, MLA). See our list of style guide resources at our Format page.
An epigraph is a statement or quote at the beginning of a literary work that relates to the theme or context of the writing. Epigraphs are often written by a different author.
Pictures can be added to your writing assignment for a variety of reasons, such as to provide a supporting visual or add additional information to your paper. Pictures should be neatly organized and follow the format listed in the assignment prompt.
Changing the appearance of text by making it bold, italic, or underlined can add emphasis to certain parts of your writing and make it easier for the reader to identify important components of your writing. Titles and sub-titles are often bolded, italicized or underlined to help readers pinpoint areas of a paper.