Writing & Grammar


Redundancy can be very redundant or how not to write a college essay College Life / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: I received a college essay from a student recently who, basically, said the same thing over and over, again and again, redundantly. Like I just did there. Folks, you need to have more than one line of text in your essays or they get…..boring. In this case, he wrote one line as his introduction paragraph. (Please note: introductions need to be more than...

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To use a semi-colon or not use one, that is the question Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Today’s blog is a refresher course on the use of semi-colons. Please use them when you are connecting two independent clauses. That is, two complete sentences that are related in some way but which are fully competent to stand on their own. My students have frequently utilized them at the most inopportune time. For example, they would have used one in this sentence....

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Weird wording to avoid Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: You have all written essays, if you have made it through high school. But what is it with folks who fail to proofread their documents before submitting them? Why do all that work and then drop the ball at the last minute? Case in point: I recently got assignments in a junior/senior level college class that contained the following sentences: “When I come...

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“Et al.” doesn’t mean that Al has et Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: When you are writing a scholarly essay, article, or book, sometimes you will need to cite a document that has more than one author. It can get pretty tiresome to say repeatedly that an article was written by “Smith, Jones, Thomas, George, and Johns.” It doesn’t exactly make your report sing, if you know what I mean. To alleviate this problem, scholars came...

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Please don’t quote Mr. Ibid Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Sometimes it can be difficult to determine who to quote in your writing, since the author’s name may be buried somewhere in the article you are reading, but here’s a hint: his or her name is not Mr. or Ms. Ibid. Ever. When you see the word “ibid” as a reference, what that means in layman’s terms is “I am quoting the same...

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Introducing Quotations in your Essay Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: This posting is a bit early because I had a graduate student who asked me a question today and I thought you might benefit from reading my answer. Personally, I like students to introduce a quotation in their writing, rather than just dumping it into a paper. In this case, the student was writing an APA formatted essay and she wanted to know...

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Using in-text citations Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: How often do you think that an article starts on page one of a journal? It doesn’t. [There are all sorts of things that appear first, like the title page and Table of Contents, to name two.] The surprising thing to me is how often students will cite page one as their go-to page for an in-text citation. Just this past week, I...

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The devil is in the details: Proofread before you submit Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Have you ever submitted a document for grading, only to have the instructor ask you what in the world you are saying? That probably means that you did not proofread the assignment before you turned it in. For example, today I read a discussion board posting by one of my graduate students where the individual spelled Friedrich Nietzsche’s name as “Frederick Niche.” Nope,...

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Writing notes or condolence or support Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: While you might have been the recipient of notes of condolence or comfort, let’s take a few minutes and talk about how to write them. You have the experience of being on the receiving end; now let’s see you start to send some yourself. First, I suggest that you not use those pre-written cards that cost an arm and a leg at the...

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