It’s essay season, and as a teacher/writer/mentor/older brother I spend a lot of time looking at essays. Here are five things I’m tired of telling (and will continue to tell) my students:

1. Stop using two spaces after a period

Okay, I’ll admit, I used to be a two-spacer. At some point, my English teacher told me two spaces were better than one. It wasn’t true. Why? Because one space is just fine.

Farhad Manjoo explains in this article why using two spaces is a crime.

Someone else explains in this article that goes into some seriously extreme detail about spacing, why Farhad Manjoo is a hoofed mammal of the horse family with a braying call help me write my essay.

2. Stop using “your” when you mean “you’re” and vice versa

And bonus points if you noticed when I made your/you’re mistake above.

Really? In your college essay? Stop it. (Exceptions: when the use is ironic or in quotes.)

4. Stop confusing “loose” and “lose”

Look at this carefully. Loose rhymes with moose. Lose rhymes with booze. Those shoelaces are loose. Did he lose his shoe?

5. You have permission to stop using the words “veritable cornucopia”

That’s all.

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