2. When you make an assertion back it up with precise evidentiary material. Look at the following statement, the opening paragraph by Ervand Abrahamian in the London Review of Books [Vol. 31 No. 14 · 23 July 2009][‘I am not a speck of dirt, I am a retired teacher’]
- “The first reason that I believe the Americans should put a man on the moon [your point] is … [your supporting evidence].” . . .
- The second reason that the Americans should put a man on the moon is [another body of evidence].
The phrases such as those above, which iterate and reiterate your main point, are useful repetitions that remind the reader of what you are saying. Readers easily get lost in the verbiage so they need to hear what you are saying, as you lead them through the thicket of details that help you make your point.
5. Represent the views of other authors fairly and accurately. A key task in demonstrating that you understand a text is to identify the key formulations in the text. If you jump on marginal comments you demonstrate that you don’t get the point. If you criticize an author make sure you quote from the key formulations, those that best capture his/her point. Not long quotes; key quotes. And make sure you have fully and fairly described his/her position on a particular matter before you take issue with it. Part of that includes appreciating the time of writing and the social and political context. Don’t flatten the opinions of anyone; that’s cheating.
13. When you're done delete 10% of your text because everything is better 10% shorter.