1. Try to write as often as possible in the simple past tense. 2. Read your writing aloud after you finish, and listen as well as look for errors.
Passivevoice: The use of the passive voice in expository prose slows down the sentence structure and causes the reader to tire easily.
Academicprose uses passive voice 1. When the agent is unknown or unimportant: Example: My bike was stolen. 2. To describe technical processes and to report research procedures and reports: Example: Choline and Vitamin B complex were administered to the rabbits; the effects of the elements on the animals were then observed.
3. When the agent is a victim: People often use passive voice to describe disaster. Example: She was hit by a car.
Semicolons Rules for semicolons: 1. A semicolon can be used only if two independent clauses exist. An independent clause is a complete sentence: a subject-predicate group that can function independently. Example: I like painting I am quite ignorant about the history of art. 2. A semicolon may be used to join two independent clauses that are related.
Example: I like painting; I am quite ignorant about the history of art.
Rules for semicolons: 3. In some cases, using a conjunctive adverb will make the sentence more coherent. Conjunctive adverbs can be considered long words:
These long words are not grammatically necessary, but they often make the sentence
Example: I like painting; however, I am quite ignorant about the history of art.
4. A semicolon may not be used to join and independent clause to a dependent clause. Example: Because it is fun, I like painting. Dep. Clause Ind. Clause
Note: Coordinate conjunctions (which may be considered short words) – and, or, but, so, yet- cannot be used with semicolons. Example:I like painting; but I am quite ignorant about the history of art. (Incorrect)I like painting, but I am quite ignorant about the history of art. (Correct)
Commas and coordinate conjunctions Rules 1. Coordinate conjunctions are the short words: And for yet But or so 2. Two complex sentences that are related in content may be joined by a comma plus short word.
Example: He was lazy, so he failed the class.
Rules 3. With one complete sentence and one incomplete sentence, you will use only a short word. Example: He was lazy and enjoyed sleeping until noon. 4. When joining two complete sentences with a comma, you may not use a long word (a conjunctive adverb). Example: He was lazy, however he passed the class. ( incorrect) He was lazy; however he passed the class. (correct)
Subordinating words Some words can change a complete sentence (an independent clause) into incomplete sentence (a dependent clause). These subordinating words include:
Although when after until Because while if unless Which before since
Example: We missed our flight to Missouri. Complete sentence. When we missed our flight to Missouri… Fragment.
Subordinating words When you use a subordinating word, you must add a complete sentence to the information. This complete sentence may be added either before the dependent clause (incomplete sentence) or after it: Example: We were furious when we missed our flight to Missouri. Because he watched too much television, his wife divorced him.
Colons Rules: 1. Use a colon to introduce and emphasize a series (three or more words or phrases) at the end of a sentence. Example: I like three nutritious sandwiches: peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cranberry sauce, and egg salad.
2. Use a colon to emphasize a point. Example: He has a broken disability: a broken arm.
Rules: 3. Don’t use a colon unless what follows the colon directly modifies what comes before it. Example: I am impressed by one virtue: comparison. (Correct) I am impressed by one virtue: others, however, are worth mentioning. (Incorrect)
Quotation marks 1. It’s used to indicate direct speech. The first word is capitalized and usually the final punctuation comes before the final quotation marks. Example: He said, “Love is like flower.” A comma is used after the introductory phrase 2. Tiles of articles and chapters in books. Example: Stephen Frazier, in his article “The Masculine Mystique” Note: Titles of books and periodicals are usually underlined; in print they are italicized.
Quotation marks 3. Use ellipsis points to indicate that some of the words have been omitted. If you are only using part of a quotation
Example: In the article “What It Will Be Like If Women Win,” Gloria Steinem looks toward the feminist Utopia, and agrees that “… men might well feel freer and live longer” Note: The period comes before the quotation mark. 4. Quotation marks can indicate a special word or a special phrase.
Example: “Disinterested” and “uninterested” can mean quite different things.
Quotation marks 5. A different quotation that is interrupted in the middle.
Example: “Women,”Riophe states, “have recently arrived at a new pride of ownership” (p.77).
6. A quotation within a quotation is surrounded by single quotation marks.
Example: Camille asked, “Have you read Chapter 8, ‘Library Research’?”
Parallel structure Parallelism is the repetition of grammatical structures can be simple ( a repetition of single nouns ), or a complex (a repetition of complete sentences structures). Whenever a sentence contains two or more similar elements, these elements must be kept parallel. Balance is always inherent in parallelism. This result is rhythm within a paragraph that strengthens the coherence and emphasizes the ideas. Examples: She was a woman who understoodchildren, who enjoyed housework , and who worshipped her husband. During spring break the student went to Oregon, to California, andto Utah.
Sentence combining The unity and coherence of a paragraph depends primarily on organization and the use of rational thought. This can be strengthened in a paragraph by varying sentence structure:
Sentence combining is not simply an exercise. It’s a skill to be learned and integrated with your writing style.
Diction Diction will be effective only when the words you choose are appropriate for the audience and purpose. The use of a good dictionary and a thesaurus (a dictionary of synonyms) is essential for expanding your vocabulary and learning to use that new vocabulary correctly. Choice and use of words in speech or writing. A way of speaking, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of pronunciation and elocution.
Precision in diction The brevity, precision and accuracy are the most important marks of a good writer. To make your writing more precise, you must the follow these rules: 1. Try not to use there is or there are too frequently. These phrases are often useless in the sentence. 2. Try not to use the word thing. It's a vague referent that often confuses the reader. 3. Try not to begin a sentence with the same phrase with which you ended the previous sentence. 4. Try not to use unnecessary words.
Confusing words There are three sets of words that second language writers often confuse. The rules are not complete. There are some examples: Another: Adjective or pronoun used with a single referent (an another); never used with “the”. Example: One reason Matthew passed the exam was that he studied very hard; another was that he had plenty of time to write his essay.
Other: An adjective or pronoun used with either single or plural referents; often used with “the”. Example: Rafia could not only taste the cinnamon in the cake, but Maha said the other spices were all spice and cloves.
Prepositions A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition. A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence
Editing Identifying your own errors may not be easy. Usually you will be able to see errors in the writing of others more easily than in your own writing.