Here is how I mark Western Civilization Essays–Any Questions?


– Introduces topic quickly (Avoids sweeping statements like “Ever since the beginning of time, women have…”)

– No quotations

– strong thesis statement (argues a point)[1]

– Clear outline for paper—roadmap


-re-articulates/ summarizes argument

Originality /2
Paragraphs ~ 100 – 150 words 

– Paragraphs discuss / argue/ prove a single idea

–   Topic sentences

–   Conclusion sentences transition to the next paragraph

–   SIE

– Each paragraph has at least two (2) or three (3) quotations from the texts which prove the point being made


Quotations are wisely used.  They provide evidence for your argument.

The required number of texts was used and the student demonstrates knowledge of the text and the context in which it was written


Signal Phrases introduce each quote: “____” (Parr 14).

Signal phrases that don’t mention the author have parenthetical citations with the author’s name (Parr 14); Signal phrases that do mention that Parr argued, “x” have simply the page number (14).

Long Quotes are defined as being over 40 words.  As above, they are introduced:

in the same way as short quotations, but they are double spaced, indented and have no quotation marks. (Parr 14)

Signal phrases reference the author’s last name, Parr argues (good); Historian Jocelyn Parr argues (best)…

Italicize Book Titles

“Articles and Chapters titles are in Quotations”

Writing and Format 

–      Double spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman

–      1” margins, has a cover page, page numbers

–      750-1000 words long

–      The paper has been proofread and spell checked

–      No spaces between paragraphs

–      Si vous avez des mots en français, ou bien en espagnol, tenes que poner todo eso en itálica también.


–      Alphabetical by author’s last name

–      All entries are complete – Italicize Book Titles / Databases

–      “Articles and Chapters titles are in Quotations”

Total (____Days Late ) /20
Writing General Comments or Things I noticed. 


General                                                       Specific

North America >         Canada   > Vancouver  >  Ladner

Socialists  >  Marxists  > Leninists  >  Sandanistas

Abstract                                                       Concrete

Justice    >   Ethically Correct   > The First Amendment

Beautiful  >   Pleasing to the eye  >  Symmetrical

Downtrodden       >    % that live below the poverty line

Repetitiveness                                Leaps of Logic


Passive Constructions

The woman was robbed. (weak b/c we don’t know who robbed her).

The policeman stole money out of the woman’s purse.

Overuse / Incorrect Use of Present or Past Perfect

The Communist Manifesto had been written in 1848.

Inconsistent Tenses (past and present used to discuss the same period)

1848 is a period of brief revolution, the CM was written at that time.

Use of Would, when you should use simple past

Marx would later find he was famous (incorrect); Marx was famous (correct)

Use of Verbals Instead of Verbs is resulting in Sentence Fragments

A ‘verbal’ is a verb in either the infinitive form (to dance) or the gerund (dancing). Verbals are verbs that have not be conjugated to agree with the subject. Having danced the night away. (Fragment b/c gerund) To have danced the night away. (Fragment b/c infinitive)

How to correct this: Ensure each sentence has a subject and that verbs are conjugated to agree. A sentence must have both a subject and verb.

Word Choice (w.c.)

Obfuscate (do you understand the words you use?) / overly wordy / imprecise / colloquial—no contractions

Punctuation – You use these marks incorrectly

,            ;              :

Second Language Errors

Verb agreement –          Prepositions –

Misuse of “the”: (In the society, [The] Church)

Common errors: –

There / their/ they’re           It’s/ its

Then/ than           Where/ were

[1] Thesis Statements are NEVER questions.

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