I often get a lot of student questions about formatting when I assign a writing project. From the tone of the emails (often slightly desperate), I get the feeling that a lot of students have been given bad grades for formatting issues alone. In my experience, college teachers are far more interested in content than form, but in this post I’ll run through some general considerations when you are formatting your college papers.
Continue reading Formatting Your Paper
Students often feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating the list of references that commonly appears at the end of the paper. Often that’s because the student has waited until the end to build it, has just finished their paper, and hasn’t taken the steps needed to make building the reference list – if not easy – at least less frustrating. Read on to find out how to make building a reference list easier.
Continue reading Citing Sources: Building your Reference List
Do you want to impress your teacher with the quality of your writing? One (relatively) easy way to do so is to change the way you handle in-text citations. Read on to learn more!
Continue reading Citing Sources: In-Text Citation How-To
In the last post in this series (Citing Sources: Why Do We Do It?), I explained why we cite our sources as academics. In this post, I’m focusing on how we cite sources, but in a broad sense: what elements are common to all citation styles?
I’m sure that someone, somewhere, has counted the number of different citation styles that exist–let’s just say that there are a LOT. Fortunately, you don’t need to know them all; what you need to know is (1) what style your teacher wants and (2) what style is used in your academic discipline. Biologists use a different style than the English department.
Many students in my classes are familiar with MLA, the citation style of the Modern Language Association, or APA, the style of the American Psychological Association. There’s also the Chicago Manual of Style (usually just called “Chicago”) or Turabian or ASA . . . Again, you don’t need to know them all. Just know that they are out there, and that you can find reference books for each that tell you how to organize your citation material.
Continue reading Pointing to Each Other: Citation Basics
The Odds and Ends
This is the last post in the series, and I’ll be honest – this one is the odds and ends that didn’t fit elsewhere 🙂
Continue reading Cringeworthy: Bad Writing Habits that Hurt your College Writing, Part 5
There are few things in academic writing that frustrate (or even terrify) students more than (1) citing sources and (2) avoiding plagiarism. The two are closely related. I will discuss plagiarism in detail in later posts devoted to paraphrase, summary, and quotations. In this post, we’re going to explore the rationale behind citing sources: why do we do it?
Continue reading Citing Sources: Why Do We Do It?
On Using Your Words the Wrong Way
You may have seen, or even been given, lists of words and phrases that students commonly misuse. Common example include to/too/two and there/their/they’re. Well, you will see these listed in the first section, below, but the professors that responded to my call for errors gave me so much more . . .
Homophones and homonyms, misuse, and misspellings
The example in the opening paragraph refers to misuse that occurs because words sound alike. Often, these are homophones or homonyms. Homophones are words that sound the same by have different meanings, and homonyms are words with the same spelling or sound, but not the same meaning. (Don’t worry: there won’t be a quiz.) Here’s a list of words that students have been getting wrong for decades:
Continue reading Cringeworthy: Bad Writing Habits that Hurt your College Writing, Part 4