Authors’ first names
Are you BFF? Do they come to your house? Do they reply to your FB posts? Since I am certain the answer to all these questions is “no,” you do not know them well enough to use their first names. Instead use their last names only or first AND last.
First person pronouns
Academic writing is based on evidence supported by authoritative sources. You are not an authoritative source, so stay out of the essay.
Second person pronouns
Unless you are writing an instructional manual, you must avoid the words “you” and “your” in your essay.
“that” or “which” when “who” is required
Write about a person who or something that/which, not a person that/which.
Contractions and Apostrophes
Avoid the use of contractions in academic writing. It’s too casual. Only use apostrophes when you are trying to show the possession of something.
“Of” instead of “ ‘ve”
When you write this (could of, should of, would of, etc.) you are using a contraction incorrectly, so you have failed in two ways. Instead write “could have,” “would have,” or “should have.”
There is/There are/There will be...
Make your life simple. Just don’t say “there.” These constructions move the subject further into the sentence and leave the reader to wonder who or what is ACTUALLY doing something in the sentence.
“Fun,” “good,” “bad,” “nice,” “stuff,” “a lot,” and “hard” rest in peace because they mean nothing for various reasons. Do not resurrect them. We are not the Umbrella Corporation, and this is not Racoon City.
Misused rudimentary homophones
Too/ to/ two, they’re/their, where/were/wear, its/it’s, et al
I can’t even advise you about this folly. Just use them correctly because you know the difference if you give it a modicum of thought. We tolerate no lazy words and no lazy writers, thank you.
“Til” or “Till”
This is simple because “til” is not a word. NEVER use it. My monitor has a red spelling squiggle under this fake, slang word. If you mean “until,” write that. “Till” is a verb that farmers do to soil. You probably do not mean that, so do not write that unless your essay is about agriculture.
Coordinating conjunctions at the beginning of sentences
FANBOYS (for, and,…