Ask any teacher who has ever spent every single minute of a beautiful weekend grading student essays and he or she will tell you this: In the garden that is student writing, certain “weeds” pop up again and again, and yes, again. Every year, teachers work hard to eradicate these should-be-outlawed phrases, yet still they persist. So we decided to make a list of the worst offenders. We asked middle- and high-school teachers: “What are the phrases in student writing that make you cringe, wail, and gnash your teeth?” From hundreds of responses, we narrowed it down to a carefully chosen list of Outlawed Words and Phrases.

Download it now. Here are three great ways to use this poster with your students:

  • Editing Guide: Print or photocopy individual 8 1/2” x 11” copies for your students to place in their writing notebooks or binders. Have students refer to it as they edit their own essays or in peer editing.
  • “Outlawed Phrases” Bulletin Board: Print the poster and place it in the center of a bulletin board. As you and your students come across more phrases to “outlaw,” write them on strips of paper and add them to your bulletin board display.
  • Flip It!: Share the poster with your students and challenge them to create their own list of 11 rules for powerful essays.

Download the PDF now!

11 Essay Phrases to Outlaw