Writing Tips: Watch Your Punctuation!

Comments Off on Writing Tips: Watch Your Punctuation!

One of the things that gets most of us in trouble when it comes to writing is what seems like the simplest: PUNCTUATION. Periods, commas, semicolons, etc., sometimes it’s hard to remember which one we’re supposed to us and where it goes. Here’s a list of free online resources to help (in addition, you can click the “Grammar Help” tag at the top of this post to view posts I’ve written here).

OWL—Purdue Online Writing Lab
There are tons of resources at the OWL site—and not just about punctuation. It’s worth your while to spend some time exploring their website.

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant—Basic Punctuation
Like the OWL site, Paradigm has a lot of resources for writing. This page covers most of the punctuation issues—with links at the top to take you to whatever section you need.

Guide to Grammar and Writing
Want to try your punctuation skills? Click this link and go to a quizzes page—scroll down to #80 and see how well you know your punctuation marks.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips
Here is the Punctuation tag on Grammar Girl’s site. Not only does she have fun with grammar, she explains everything in a way that’s really easy to understand and remember.

This list of “Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing” goes beyond punctuation, but all of these tips are advice I’ve given to my writing students.


Top Five Considerations for Academic Writing

Comments Off on Top Five Considerations for Academic Writing

It doesn’t matter if you are in a traditional on-campus program, a hybrid program, or a 100% online program. You’re going to have to do your fair share of academic writing. Here are five tips I give my own comp students at the very beginning of the course to try to help them out when it comes to improving their grades.


1. Simpler is better. Don’t use “high falutin’” language or try to impress me (or other instructors) by writing in overly complex (too wordy) sentences with words you might not understand. Simple word choices and simple sentence structures eliminate misused words and run-on or incomprehensible sentences.

2. Watch for subject-verb agreement. Figure out what the subject of your sentence is, then make sure to match the verb to it. If it’s a singular subject, use the singular form of the verb, if it’s a plural subject, use the plural form of the verb. This is where the “simpler is better” sentence structure really comes in handy.

3. Discussion posts should still be written in an academic, well-thought-through manner. Just because it’s a forum (not a paper) or because it asks for your opinion doesn’t mean you can get sloppy with your writing. Approach writing your discussion posts as you would any other piece of academic writing. (And don’t forget to at least meet the minimum word count.)

4. Try to eliminate the use of First- and Second-Person pronouns in your writing. This means don’t use “I,” “my,” or “mine,” or “you” or “your.” Try to keep your writing in Third Person (he/she/they/it).

5. Commas, commas, commas! More than any other piece of punctuation, the little comma is the most abused/misused on the keyboard. You can learn more about using commas correctly here.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Writing the First Draft

Comments Off on Writing the First Draft

How to Write a College Paper : First Draft Pitfalls of a College Paper