AP Lang. Argumentative Essay Round One Notes

Here are a few things I noticed in the first round of reading your papers, with links, if applicable:

Works Cited/Citations

Kudos if you had outside sources and tried to cite them properly! Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of errors in this area. I strongly suggest you consult a good website, like Purdue On-line Writing Lab, and carefully follow their format. Also, remember, you can’t just make up your own format for a works cited entry. There are rules for EVERY type of source you can think of, so look it up! For example, several people included something from our anthology in their works cited. Well, you can’t just make up your own way to format that. Here are OWL’s directions (NOTE: spacing and indentations are not accurate on my blog; to see actual format, click here and scroll down):

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:

Lastname, First name. “Title of Essay.” Title of Collection. Ed. Editor’s Name(s). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.

Some examples:

Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. Print.


Well, some people are really trying. But to write a good COLLEGE-LEVEL title, check out this very handy information, courtesy of Mrs. Sommer:

The Great Title Tutorial


  • If you use a quote as your attention-getter, be sure it isn’t a “floating quote.”
  • Make sure you have a “logical progression of ideas” in your intro. Many people have three distinct chunks: an attention-getter, the quote, and the thesis. But there isn’t really anything linking the three chunks together.
  • By the way, do include the quote inyour intro!

Topic Sentences

One common issue I’m seeing here is that topic sentences are missing transitions. Make sure you are using these BETWEEN paragraphs as well as within paragraphs!

Body of the Essay:

OK, I haven’t really gotten into the body of any essays yet. But, as I’m checking other stuff, I’m noticing A LOT of essays that seem to have only one paragraph in the proof/confirmation section. All I can say is, if you only have ONE reason to support your opinion, it better be a REALLY GOOD reason…and you better have A LOT of specific, compelling examples. (In other words, I’m suspicious that the proof/confirmation sections of these papers are not developed enough.)

Comment Decoder:

Here’s the sheet you need to understand what all those little marks on your paper mean: comment decoder


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