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Katherine Milligan's Final Checklist for Essays

Final Checklist for Essays


Katherine Milligan

1. Look your paper over for the word "is." If you use it too much, rewrite some of the sentences to avoid it.

2. Cite the page number (and the source, if you are using more than one source) for each quotation.

3. Place quotations of more than four lines in block quotation format.

4. Do not end a sentence with a preposition. E.g. My past is something I am not proud of. That is the building she went into.

5. Do not split infinitives. E.g. To boldly go where no man has gone before.

6. Check your commas.
a. Complete sentences should be joined with a semicolon, not a comma.
b. Final commas and periods generally go inside quotation marks. Semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points go outside quotation marks. This rule is superceded by parenthetical citation (see item #2).

7. "It's" is a contraction for "it is"; "its" is a possessive form. Do not confuse them.

8. The titles of novels, plays of more than three acts, and films should be italicized (or underlined). For short stories, essays, plays of fewer than three acts, and poems, use quotation marks.

9. Spellcheck.

Questions about style, grammar, punctuation, or paper format? Check the MLA Handbook.