Tag: Writing


“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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Planning Backwards College Life

Hello everyone: I had some students ask me recently how to plan their group project. I would suggest that they begin at the end result and then plan backwards. For example, let’s say you have a group project due in one month. Today is the 1st, in this example. When do you want to have the document finished? (I suggest at deadline of two or...

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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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An instructor’s pet peeves College Life

Hello everyone: Today, I want to share with you some of my own personal pet peeves when it comes to students’ writing. First, they use huge margins and as much blank space as possible, so that your paper appears to be 20 pages when it is really only 5 pages. I mean, the instructor will never notice, right? He or she never really reads the...

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How important is formatting? Very! Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Today’s blog is about the importance of formatting, i.e. following the directions. If an instructor gives you guidance on how he or she wants an assignment to be done, I have only two words: follow it! Recently, my students at two of the three colleges where I teach had an assignment due. I gave them samples of the formatting I wanted and offered...

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