Basic writing tips for college students College Life / Suddenly Single / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Today’s blog is on writing for college. Having taught college for 11 years, there are some tips I would like to share with you.

First, please use commas with introductory words and phrases. An example of an introductory word is seen in my previous sentence. If you are looking for an introductory phrase, I just gave you one in this sentence. These phrases can make your writing interesting but please do not use too many or it becomes tedious. Introductory phrases tell your reader to breathe as he or she reads your sentences and too many breaths lead to hyperventilation!

Next, use commas with the second-to-the-last item in a list of things. Here is an example: birds, planes, and automobiles. Let me give you an example of why this comma is so important. Let’s say that your parents have three million dollars and they want to leave one million to each of their three kids. If they write “we want to leave one million dollars to child A, child B, and child C,” then each child gets one million dollars. But if they say “we want to leave one million dollars to child A, child B and child C, then child A gets a million and B and C split a million. (I guess the dog gets the remaining million.)

Finally for today, please read your documents out loud before you submit them. It is amazing what you may catch. You may find that the sentences that you thought were so lovely do not make sense at all. You may locate sentence fragments, typos, and subject/verb disagreement. If you can catch them, the professor won’t find them for you, and this will result in a higher grade.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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