English 211 Pre-Paper-Turn-In Checklist

Follow these instructions to make sure your paper won’t needlessly lose points and so I won’t needlessly spend ink and scarce hand-strength writing the same tired comments about format over and over again.

1) Cite the Norton as your source for the literary text you analyze, and do it in proper MLA style, following the "article from a collection" format in the style sheet which I here reproduce for you yet again!

Tolkien, J.R.R. "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" (1936) Rpt. in R.D. Fulk ed.,  

             Interpretations of "Beowulf": A Critical Anthology. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana U P,


2) Make sure that when you end a sentence with a quotation, the quotation marks fall outside the period, in the American style, rather than inside the period, in the British style, as in this mention of the word, "sprezzatura." When you are citing a source with parentheses at the end of the sentence, however, the period does not fall inside the quotation marks, but follows the parentheses, as in this citation of a handbook’s statement that "usually the signal phrase includes the author’s name" (Hacker 326).

3) Your title must carefully describe the paper. An academic paper is not a poem, nor a novel, nor a newspaper article. Look at scholarly articles on your topic and imitate their titles. Your keywords and primary sources must show up in the title.

4) Your Works Cited section must be properly formatted, using hanging indents rather than normal paragraph indents or flush-left style, and it must include only works you actually cite. It’s not a "bibliography" of all works consulted.

5) Number your pages! If I have to do it for you, it will cost you points.

6) Staple your paper together, with the pages in proper order. Myers wants paper clips; Sanders wants staples. (The papers don’t fall apart that way.)

7) If you have indulged yourself in block quotations, only indent from the left and only five spaces or one tab. In general, there is no need to quote at such length unless you are going to comment specifically on the word choice of the passage you quote. Consider paraphrase, instead, and remember that the reader has read the primary source already. Don’t belabor him/her with a recounting of the obvious facts of the text.

8) Use a 12-point font, and don’t use anything bizarre that draws more attention to your typography than to your ideas. Give the paper 1-inch margins on all sides so I have room to compliment you on your genius. Include all necessary information on the first page so I know who wrote it and for what course.