My recent assignment was to write an essay using a template my teacher had given me. The essay was supposed to begin with a phrase like 'It is common knowledge that' or 'there is no denying that', but I wanted to be more original and wrote the phrase 'It is no secret that', which I had heard used many times, instead. Later, my teacher told me the phrase was kind of obscure and most likely informal and that I shouldn't use it. So I want to find out if it is actually applicable and acceptable in an essay.

P.S. I'm not a native speaker, so please don't judge me if I'm being stupid.

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    Ordinarily, that phrase would be acceptable and (possibly) applicable in an essay. However, your teacher is going to be the final judge of what is acceptable and applicable in an essay written at the teacher's prompting. Please regard your teacher's comments as an after the fact extension of the assignment parameters. – JEL Oct 17 '15 at 20:50

Your teacher has limited experience. "It is no secret that ..." tells me clearly "It is well known that ..." or "It is common knowledge that ..." The construct is not in the least obscure, nor is it in any way informal. I encourage you to use it freely.

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