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Generally, ENG 101 papers should be analytical, rather than mere summary. Summarizing material may play a role in your papers, but it should be a small role that seeks to briefly inform readers of the background of an argument. The argument should be stated as the paper’s thesis or central idea. This thesis statement should be clear and concise, neither too obvious (in no need of argumentative support) nor outlandish (unable to be supported by the text). The analysis, then, should consistently support this thesis. This structure will demonstrate your ability to comprehend a text and demonstrate how it works . . . or doesn’t.
Though these papers should be, by and large, argumentative, the purpose of such “arguments” is, of course, to persuade the reader, which requires some understanding of audience and appropriate language. The paper should have the authoritative tone expected of a formal essay. The use of the personal pronoun “I” tends to undermine this (though some accept the plural “we”), as does the 2nd person “you.” Generally, the 3rd person will characterize these papers (though the individual instructor should judge what is appropriate for the assignment). The organization of these papers may follow the rudimentary, though solid, three point argument, but the goal should be the natural synthesis of ideas beyond a mechanical listing of related points.
The paper should follow the MLA format and include internal citations of quoted material and a Works Cited page