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take a chill pill

10 Jun

The voice and tone of narrative essays usually is “looser” or more “casual” than the typical academic essay. To do that, however, you often have to break the rules. Bend them gently and stay consistent. But if it sounds right, go for it!

  • Use phrases or sentence fragments. Do this mainly for emphasis. Example: “I was shocked. Stunned. I couldn’t even talk. Not a word.”
  • End a sentence with a preposition. Again, stick with what would sound normal in conversation. “What do you want to talk about.” Instead of, “About what do you want to talk?”
  • Start a sentence with “And” or “But.” Again, use this for emphasis. Don’t over do it! “He ate the hamburger. And then he devoured three more.”
  • Throw in onomatopoeia. Remember those words that sound like what they are? Bang. Whack. Whoosh. Zip. Boom.
  • Use dialect or slang. Only use these if they are true to the speaker you are quoting. If you are quoting a surfer, it sounds appropriate if they say, “The waves were so awesome!” If they are from the Deep South, they can say, “Ya’ll.”
  • Contractions are fine. Again, trust whether it sounds OK within the larger context of your essay. “I didn’t want to go there.” Instead of, “I did not want to go there.”
  • Split those infinitives. It’s just not a big deal. “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
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