Appeal to your reader by using colloquialisms
Good: I believe that your observations are ill-founded.
Better: Yo momma got it all biznatched while I slayed her last night.
Use colorful metaphors
Good: Her movements were very provocative.
Better: She was easier than a TV guide crossword!
Repetition ensures your message sinks in
Good: Your opinion is quite erroneous, good sir.
Better: Fool, yo foolish fooleries can’t fool the most foolish of fools because… you’re a fool!
Write essays in verse to surprise readers
Good: FDR can be seen as the first modern president.
Better: FDR was good. He had lots of sharp senses. This was a haiku.
Use clever literary techniques
Good: Utilitarianism is a Bentham-derived theory to seek the greatest good for the greatest number.
Better: Utilitarianism-hay is a Entham-bay erived-day eory-thay to eek-say the… you get the picture.
Make your reader feel comfortable with your organization
Good: I don’t know, are the thetans really going to devour my soul if I’m not audited?
Better: Yes, they will, now put on the electrodes and open your wallet.
Develop an original, complex thesis
Good: Rome was built in a day.
Better: The scatological nature of Roman hedonism spurred a physics-defying transformation that slowed time and enabled the post-modern concept of “Ancient Rome” to be conceived in one diurnal course.
Present counterarguments, then dismantle them
Good: Smith says an invisible hand guides the marketplace
Better: …but history indicates he was not in possession of an Invisibility Cloak.
–Steve Holt ’13 and MG ’12