MLA Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checklist 11: Paragraphs

 
1.

Does each of your topic sentences support your thesis statement?

7th Grade World History 8th Grade U.S. History
Does each of your three topic sentences support the idea that "__________ is a terrific/horrible vacation destination"? Does each of your three topic sentences support the idea that "_________ was a great/terrible president"?

 

2.

Does the evidence that you cite in each paragraph support the topic sentence of that paragraph?

3.

Let's put the above question another way: Are there any cases of "mismatch" in your paper?

Here is an example of what I mean by "mismatch":

 

First, the food in Argentina is delicious. According to travel writer Bob Hendricks "I love going out to eat with my Argentine friends. Everyone here is so friendly (Hendricks).

 

 

This is a case of mismatch because the topic sentences is about how the food is delicious, but the evidence in the paragraph doesn't say anything about the food being delicious. Instead, the quote supports the idea that Argentine people are friendly

The paragraph would be better revised like this:

 

First, the people in Argentina are very friendly. According to travel writer Bob Hendricks "I love going out to eat with my Argentine friends. Everyone here is so friendly (Hendricks).

 


If you have a case of mismatch in your paper, fix it!

 

Are all your paragraphs at least three sentences long?

 

Do you have any paragraphs that are too long?

  • A good paragraph is between 3 and 5 sentences. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to this “rule of thumb”, but longer paragraphs do tend to meander unless you exercise strict discipline.
  • If you have a paragraph that is more than six or seven sentences, it is very likely that you have several main ideas mixed together in that paragraph. Sort them out. Two short paragraphs are almost always better than one long one. Each paragraph should have only one main idea.
  • Too many disparate ideas in a single paragraph is a very common mistake in student writing.
 

Does each of your paragraphs have one—and only one—main idea? Is each of those ideas expressed in the topic sentence?

  Are your topic sentences clear, simple, and strong?
 

Do you have more than one rhetorical question in your paper?

  • Remember, in my classes, you are not allowed to use more than one rhetorical question per paper. Go back and review lesson 6.
 

Do any of your paragraphs contain redundant sentences?

A redundant sentence is one that basically repeats itself. Here are some examples.

 

The food in Jamaica is delicious. It tastes really good. The flavor is awesome. In fact, according to the website Jamaica Journal, "Jamaican cuisine is famous throughout the world" (Miller). Jamaica is especially known for its spicy seafood (Miller).

 

 

The second and third sentences in that paragraph do not really add anything that has not already been said by the topic sentence. It would be better to leave them out and go straight into your evidence, like this:

 

The food in Jamaica is delicious. In fact, according to the website Jamaica Journal, "Jamaican cuisine is famous throughout the world" (Miller). Jamaica is especially known for its spicy seafood (Miller).

 

 

If any of your paragraphs contain redundant sentences, take them out.

 

Did you use a pronoun such as "he” or “she” in the first sentence of a new paragraph?

  • Each paragraph is a fresh start. Restate the person's name at the beginning of the paragraph so that the reader does not have to "think back" to a preceding paragraph in order to figure out who "he" or "she" refers to.