Department of English

Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University



Quick Reminders (more detailed discussion and examples below)


"Go for the jugular." 


Be clear and precise. 


Support your ideas. 


Use complete sentences.


Avoid colloquialisms.

6. Proofread for spelling, other grammar, logic, argument, substantiation, etc.

Tips (Exam Writing)


Read the exam questions and make sure you are doing what the questions are asking you to do.


Pace yourself.

3. Write legibly. 


noun-verb agreement
noun-pronoun agreement
colloquialism/using informal expressions
word form
wrong word
absolute statements
being vague, broad, too general
dangling modifier
run-on sentence
showing v. telling
coherence, unity
substantiation, use of sources

not being argumentative enough (too descriptive)


"Go for the jugular" (as my English teacher used to say) means get right to the point from the beginning of your essay (or paragraph, as they case may be). This is meant to remind students who like to begin their writing with sentences that are truistic or too general (like "It is difficult to learn a new language" the truth of which is so obvious as to not be worth mentioning) to jump right into the topic, define your focus, scope and stance, and set up the structure of your essay/paragraph and the progression that you would like to build. For example, you would show more focus if you began your paragraph on "problems you have with English language learning" in this way:

  • My fascination for and problem with the English language began with the film My Fair Lady.

Be clear and precise in your writing. Vague and general statements (like "Knowledge is everywhere," "Sources of knowledge are important," or "Communication is complex.") are easy to write but they are not very informative. Readers are kept wondering "Where?" and "How?" Instead of waiting to reveal more detailed examples later and waste one sentence, go ahead and show clear places where  knowledge can be found and the ways in which the source of knowledge matter. Your illustration will be more effective and the points you make will be stronger.

  • I learn a lot from various sources of information. (vague, colloquial, uninteresting)
  • I learned about Korean culture from the TV show Sponge, shopped for hard-to-find books on, and checked my pronunciation in the Sound and Structure class sound lab. (clearer explanation of what your learning involves and more specific examples that illustrate each source for learning.)

Avoid contractions and colloquialisms in writing academic English. Some awkward contractions and chatty language that students have used include:

  • My discussion will show how beautiful or ugly they're.
  • This's all because of the antagonist.
  • She kinda makes him talk.
  • Normally the mother should ask like are you ok?


Literary Present Tense

It is the convention in writing about literature to write about character actions in the present tense.

MLA Style

If you are asked by your instructor to use the MLA format and citation style, follow the guidelines in the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.


If you are asked to hand in an outline by your instructor, here is the outline form that you should use:

Outline style is taken from

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009. 45. Print.


Name Last Name

2202111  English I

Acharn Puckpan Tipayamontri

July 5, 2012





I.   Your text

A.   Your text

1.   Your text

a.   Your text

(1)   Your text

(a)   Your text

(b)   Your text

(c)   Your text

(2)   Your text

b.   Your text

c.   Your text

d.   Your text

2.   Your text

3.   Your text

4.   Your text

B.   Your text

C.   Your text

II.  Your text

III. Your text


Example of a sentence outline.



Example of a topic outline.




Proofreading Marks



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Last updated February 6, 2015