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Writing Tip #28: When is it okay to use humor?

Writing Tip #28: How to use humor when writing a paper

Most academic writing is scholarly in tone, but every once in awhile we have a chance to slip some humor into a paper. What fun it is when it happens! Be careful, though, as it could backfire on you.

The trick is to use the humor tastefully, so that it is received well by your professor. Usually, this opportunity comes when the paper assigned is “lighter” in nature. These kinds of papers allow you to share a bit more of your personality. The paper could be an opinion piece or your view of an event. You may find an amusing anecdote about the writing subject that can be shared in the paper. You may even come to a comical conclusion about a subject after studying it. Quoting your favorite comedian or most respected poet or politician could also add life to a paper. (Remember to cite quotes properly!)

Using humor would be a great conclusion to a paper. But don't get carried away. Go for a smile or a chuckle, not more. This is still an academic paper. Keep the humor suitable, maintain command of the scholarly tone, and enjoy the chance to show your fun side.

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Published on by bcalvano.