One of the mainstays of high school English classes is the essay assignment. Students are required to write several essays each year on various topics. Sometimes students are allowed to choose the topic and other times one is chosen for them, or they may have to write an essay in response to a question. Regardless of the reason for an essay, there are certain things that should never make their way into a high school essay.
The hallway, the lunchroom, the gymnasium, these are the only places that slang should be used. Never use slang in an essay unless your essay is on how slang has evolved over time, and even then it should be used sparingly in examples. Think of your audience when writing your essay, typically it’s your teacher. Teachers want to read an essay that shows that you have a working knowledge of the English language.
We live in a world that is always connected, we IM people, text them and communicate through social media. While each of these social networking tools has its own special lingo that people use to communicate quickly, none of them should make their way into your essay. While "LOL" may seem funny, it’s not. So, don’t end your essay with "ttyl" or your teacher might give you an ‘F’ sooner than later.
Everyone has their own opinion, but your personal opinions have no place in an essay unless they are substantiated by fact and the evidence to support them. You can, however state your point of view on an issue authoritatively and then back it up with adequate support. Your thesis statement is the place to express your point of view in an essay. Once substantiated by fact, your thesis becomes the vehicle for you to express your position on a certain subject.
Dangling prepositions and misplaced modifiers: your essay doesn't need them or any other glaring grammar mistakes. Make sure that you use standard usage when writing your essay and make sure to edit your work before you turn it in. Once you've written a first draft, step away from the piece and then revise it before turning in the final copy. Stepping away from a draft makes it easier to look at your work more objectively. When you first write a draft your perspective can be different because you are so close to your writing. Taking time to let your draft sit and then coming back with fresh eyes will help you to effectively revise your essay.
Stacy Alleyne is a certified English teacher with a BA in English and graduate work in English, education, journalism and law. She has written numerous articles and her own dining column for the "Gazette."