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Writing Centre

Essay Basics

Getting Started

F

  • Formulate the main idea or general theme of the essay
  • Narrow it down to a specific topic
  • Develop a thesis statement that states the purpose of the essay

L

  • List the main ideas you would like to include in your essay
  • For each main idea make a list of supporting details

O

  • Organize the components of your essay. An essay has three parts: a beginning (introduction), a middle (body) and an ending (conclusion)
  • The introduction attracts the reader's attention. It focuses the reader on the subject and makes a clear thesis statement. The body of the essay develops the main ideas in the essay and offers supporting details. The conclusion summarizes the main ideas presented in the body and relates back to the thesis statement

W

  • Write a rough draft of the essay following the organizational structure you have outlined above.
  • Get the information down on paper in some order without too much concern over such things as spelling and grammatical structure

E

  • Edit the rough draft
  • Check for capitalization, punctuation and spelling
  • Check the overall sense and organization of each section
  • Make certain that each section is connected to the one that precedes and follows it. Use the first and last sentences of the section to make these connections.
  • Have a friend or classmate read it

R

  • Rewrite the draft into final form
  • Read the final version slowly and carefully
  • Do a final spell check and grammar check
  • Congratulate yourself on a job well done

Essay Basics

Introduction should be at least 5 sentences

Tell the reader what you are going to write about. The thesis statement should be one sentence and should be the last sentence of your introduction.

Paragraph 1

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 2

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 3

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 1

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 2

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 3

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 1

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 2

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Paragraph 3

Topic Sentence: Introduce your point for this paragraph

3 or more sentences to explain your point for this paragraph. Research and cite articles, books, websites, or statistics.

Transition Sentence: Finish your point for this paragraph and introduce your next point for the next paragraph

Minimum 3 sentences.

Adapted from Carole Anne May’s Spotlight on Critical Skills in Essay Writing, Pearson Prentice Hall, Toronto: 2007.

Essay Writing Words

Showing agreement or similarity?

  • in addition
  • coupled with
  • in the same fashion / way
  • first, second, third
  • in the light of
  • not to mention
  • to say nothing of
  • equally important
  • by the same token
  • again
  • to, and or also
  • then
  • equally
  • identically
  • uniquely
  • like
  • as
  • too
  • moreover
  • as well as
  • together with
  • of course
  • likewise
  • comparatively
  • correspondingly
  • similarly
  • furthermore
  • additionally

Expressing opposition or contrast?

  • although this may be true
  • in contrast
  • different from
  • of course ..., but
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • at the same time
  • in spite of
  • even so / though
  • be that as it may
  • then again
  • above all
  • in reality
  • after all
  • but
  • (and) still
  • unlike
  • or
  • (and) yet
  • while
  • albeit
  • besides
  • as much as
  • even though
  • although
  • instead
  • whereas
  • despite
  • conversely
  • otherwise
  • however
  • rather
  • nevertheless
  • nonetheless
  • regardless
  • notwithstanding

Showing causation?

  • in the event that
  • granted (that)
  • as / so long as
  • in order to
  • seeing / being that
  • in view of
  • If
  • ... then
  • Unless
  • when
  • whenever
  • on (the) condition (that)
  • for the purpose of
  • with this intention
  • while
  • because of
  • as
  • since
  • lest
  • in case
  • provided that
  • with this in mind
  • in the hope that
  • to the end that
  • for fear that
  • given that
  • only / even if
  • so that
  • so as to
  • owing to
  • inasmuch as
  • due to

Showing support or emphasizing something?

  • in other words
  • to put it differently
  • for one thing
  • as an illustration
  • in this case
  • for this reason
  • to put it another way
  • that is to say
  • with attention to
  • by all means
  • important to realize
  • another key point
  • first thing to remember
  • most compelling evidence
  • must be remembered
  • point often overlooked
  • to point out
  • on the positive / negative side
  • with this in mind
  • notably
  • including
  • like
  • to be sure
  • namely
  • chiefly
  • truly
  • indeed
  • certainly
  • surely
  • markedly
  • especially
  • specifically
  • expressively
  • surprisingly
  • frequently
  • significantly
  • in fact
  • in general
  • in particular
  • in detail
  • for example
  • for instance
  • to demonstrate
  • to emphasize
  • to repeat
  • to clarify
  • to explain
  • to enumerate
  • such as

Showing effect or consequence?

  • as a result
  • under those circumstances
  • in that case
  • for this reason
  • in effect
  • for
  • thus
  • because the
  • then
  • hence
  • consequently
  • therefore
  • thereupon
  • forthwith
  • accordingly
  • henceforth

Summarizing or concluding?

  • as can be seen
  • generally speaking
  • in the final analysis
  • all things considered
  • as shown above
  • in the long run
  • given these points
  • as has been noted
  • in a word
  • for the most part
  • after all
  • in fact
  • in summary
  • in conclusion
  • in short
  • in brief
  • in essence
  • to summarize
  • on balance
  • altogether
  • overall
  • ordinarily
  • usually
  • by and large
  • to sum up
  • on the whole
  • in any event
  • all in all
  • Obviously
  • Utimately
  • Definitely

Sequencing or order?

  • at the present time
  • from time to time
  • sooner or later
  • at the same time
  • up to the present time
  • to begin with
  • in due time
  • as soon as
  • as long as
  • in the meantime
  • in a moment
  • without delay
  • in the first place
  • all of a sudden
  • at this instant
  • first, second
  • immediately
  • quickly
  • finally
  • after
  • later
  • last
  • until
  • till
  • since
  • then
  • before
  • hence
  • when
  • once
  • about
  • next
  • now
  • formerly
  • suddenly
  • shortly
  • henceforth
  • whenever
  • eventually
  • meanwhile
  • further
  • during
  • in time
  • prior to
  • forthwith
  • straightaway
  • by the time
  • whenever
  • until now
  • now that
  • instantly
  • presently
  • occasionally

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

(before writing essay)

1. Gather information
• Who or what is the:
  • Speaker (writer)
  • Occasion (type of content)
  • Audience (who it's written for)
  • Subject (topic writer discusses)
  • Tone (attitude of writer)
2. Examine the appeals
  • Ethos – writer’s character, qualifications and years of experience
  • Logos – how the writer supports an argument with evidence, data and facts
  • Pathos – how the writer evokes emotion (ex: sympathy, anger or love) to gain approval
3. Style details
  • Imagery
  • Tone
  • Question: does the author contrast a strong personal viewpoint with a weak opposing viewpoint to make his/her argument seem more valid?
4. Analysis
  • Ask yourself how the rhetorical strategies of appeal and style help the author achieve his purpose
 

Essay Map

  • Introduction: clearly identify the document you are analyzing (e.g., brief info on speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject and tone) Thesis-techniques writer uses to get people on their side. Does it accomplish the goal?
  • Ethos: how the writer uses their status as an "expert"
  • Logos: major claims using specific data and facts
  • Pathos: how imagery, emotion and words are used to gain approval
  • Conclusion: What has the reader learned? Briefly analyze how the original author’s purpose comes together

Top Tips for Thesis Statements

What is a thesis and why do I need one? Where does it go? Why is it so important to my essay? This tip sheet will help you answer all of those questions and guide you towards writing a clear and concise thesis

Your thesis tells your audience exactly what your essay is going to discuss.

It makes your viewpoint on the topic clear!

1 What is a thesis?

A thesis is a statement that tells your audience what your essay is going to cover. It expresses your viewpoint and prepares the reader for the arguments and information your essay will cover.

2 How do I write a thesis?

A good thesis statement often answers a question posed about the topic you are writing on. For example: if your topic is cars, your thesis narrows the focus of your essay and could answer the question: which cars are in highest demand? A thesis then would state which cars are in demand and hint at why. I.E "Modern car consumers demand cars that are both fuel efficient but also that satisfy an intrinsic need for individuality."

3 Where does it go?

Your thesis statement comes at the end of your introduction paragraph. After introducing your topic, the thesis narrows focus before the reader is presented with your arguments and evidence. The thesis is restated as the first sentence in your conclusion to reiterate what you have just told your audience.

4 Why is it important?

A thesis is important for several reasons. Firstly, it narrows your topic and prepares your reader for the information to come. Secondly, the thesis assists you in writing your paragraphs. Each topic sentence in your essay should refer back to an aspect of your thesis and each paragraph should support your thesis. By referring back to your thesis throughout your essay, you maintain focus and keep on topic.

 

Thesis Builder and Example

Let's practice writing a thesis!

Topic: Social media

Your Topic

 

Question: How does social media and mental health interact?

Your Question:

 

Answer to the Question: Social media can be used to promote mental health awareness

Answer to Your Question:

 

Preview of the evidence: Facebook support groups, promotion to wide audience, etc.

Your Evidence:

 

Thesis: Social media can be used to effectively promote mental health awareness as evidenced by various support groups easily accessible to wide audiences.

Thesis Checklist

Do I have a question my thesis can answer?
Does my thesis narrow the focus of my topic?
Does my thesis touch on the evidence my essay will present?
Is my thesis direct, telling the audience exactly what I am going to tell them?
Is my thesis stated as the last sentence in my introduction?
Is my thesis restated in my conclusion?

Editing, Revising and Polishing your work

Editing Checklist - Spelling & Grammar

Have you ever read an assignment that is good, but filled with grammar and spelling mistakes? Lots of errors make reading difficulty to digest. Due to the use of slang, abbreviations, and lack of punctuation in texting and social media, grammar has taken a hit. The following tips may also help you spot specific (and common) grammar mistakes that every writer should be aware of. Always read your work aloud to help catch your mistakes and avoid over-relying on spell-check.

 

Editing Tips

Top Tips for Editing

1. Allow time to check work and make changes

The number one mistake students make is not allowing enough time to read through and correct errors in written work.

2. Keep it simple and concise

Using “big words” does not necessarily make it a more scholarly paper. If you need to add words to make the paper long enough, that’s a sign that more content is needed.

3. Read the paper out loud and have someone else read it over

Sometimes hearing the words can help with identifying errors. After a while, it’s hard to see mistakes because the words are so familiar. If it sounds awkward when read aloud, it probably needs to be re-worded.

4. Go to the Writing Centre

Writing Centre staff are able to advise on most aspects of grammar, style and APA documentation. Faculty and peer tutors are available during each shift for 30 minute sessions. You can book a 30 minute appointment online or drop-in.

*Online or phone appointments are available for students who live far from campus, or attend a campus with no Writing Centre.

5. Review assignment instructions

It may be necessary to check with the course instructor when unsure of the requirements for the assignment. Use the instructions, or a rubric if provided, to ensure you have completed and included all of the necessary components.

 

Revision Checklist

Content






Organization




Style



Grammar and Spelling





Craft of Editing

Check your work

  • Use a spell checker to catch any spelling errors or typos
  • Use a grammar checker, and correct any errors that you understand
  • Print out a hard copy of your work and read through it
  • Ensure you are using Canadian spellings instead of American (e.g., colour versus color, honour versus honor, favourite versus favorite)

Read your work

  • Read your work aloud, not silently in your head
  • Listen to your own voice to hear any mistakes
  • If you stumble while reading a sentence, there is probably an error
  • Print it out! Reading a printed copy can help
  • Have someone else read your work aloud to you

Pay attention to the small details

  • Re-read your work aloud using a pen or pencil as a guide
  • Point to each word on your page with the pen or pencil
  • Make any corrections, then print out another hard copy and read again

Ask a friend

  • Ask a friend to read your work, looking for any editing changes
  • Make any corrections and print another hard copy
  • Re-read your work again

Allow enough time to review previously written work

  • Review other written assignments you have completed to see previous mistakes
  • Read your present work to determine if you are repeating mistakes, and make any corrections to your final document
 

Make your best effort to edit your paper, then visit the Writing Centre for help!

Sentences and Grammar

Using Commas in Sentences

There are four rules for using commas in sentences.

 

1. Use a comma after introductory words or phrases

Examples:

  • Annoyed, the manager stomped back into the storeroom.
  • Expecting the worst, we liquidated most of our inventory.
  • While we were eating lunch, an important fax came.
 

Tip: The part of the sentence after the comma should be a complete thought.

 

2. Use a comma before and after "internal sentence interrupters"

An "internal sentence interrupter" is a word, phrase, or clause that significantly breaks the flow of a sentence.

Examples:

  • New Orleans, home of the Saints, is one of my favourite cities.
  • Megabyte, a word unheard of a decade ago, is very common today.
  • Mrs. McCord, the investment specialist, left a message for you.
 

Tip: If you can take the phrase out, and the sentence will still make sense, the phrase should have commas before and after it.

 

3. Use a comma to separate two complete thoughts joined by a conjunction

A conjunction is a word used to connect clauses or sentences, or to coordinate words in the same clause, for example, and, but, and if.

Examples:

  • I went to bed early last night, so I feel rested this morning.
  • Susan worked through lunch, and now she is able to leave early.
 

Tip: If the words after the conjunction do not form a complete thought, don’t use a comma before the conjunction.

 

4. Use commas to separate
a. Three or more items in a series
b. Dates, addresses, geographical names, academic degrees, and long numbers

  • The old Tempo’s engine squealed loudly, shook violently, and stopped.
  • The carpenter repaired the floor with dark, aged, oak flooring.
  • September 20, 1974, is her birth date.
  • I like the book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne.
  • I went to visit Andrew Pearson, Ph.D., at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario.
 

Tip: If the words after the conjunction do not form a complete thought, don’t use a comma before the conjunction.

When to Use Commas

When to Use Commas
When to Use Examples
When listing items in succession Pack an extra swimsuit, a towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, three bottles of water, lip balm, and an umbrella.
Do you want eggs, bacon, and toast or pancakes, fruit, and sausage?
Between multiple adjectives that are modifying the same noun The friendly, eager to please puppy.
The cold, windy Chicago weather
Before conjunctions linking independent clauses I want to go to bed, but I still have to finish this essay.
There are snakes in our garden, so I try to avoid going out there after dark.
After introductory words or phrases After dinner, make sure you wash the dishes.
When traveling, do not pack more than three ounces of liquid in your carryon.
Sure, it sounds like a good idea to me.
Well, I think we should probably ask Steven before we make plans.
Around nonessential clarifying phrases Grace Kelly, one of the most beautiful women in the world, married Prince Rainier of Monaco.
I hope The Hobbit, which was directed by Peter Jackson, is just as good as the Lord of the Rings movies were.
With dates and addresses His birthday is July 21, 1988.
I hear New Orleans, Louisiana has amazing food.
When directly addressing someone Mary, can you go to the store and pick up some milk?
I'd like you, Jake, to bring a dessert to the potluck.
At the salutation and close of a letter Dear Tom,
Sincerely,
Sarah

Common Sentence Errors

 

There are three very common errors that people make when writing sentences. If you can learn to identify and avoid these errors, your writing will improve right away!

 

Top Tips for Common Sentence Errors

1. Fragment
  • Part of a sentence that can’t stand alone and make sense
  • Often begins with words like since, although, except, such as, etc.
 

Error: Which is why I think that weekends should be four days long.

Correction: I think weekends should be four days long.

Repair Options:
  • Connect the fragment to the sentence before it, usually with a comma
  • Rewrite the fragment so that it can stand on its own and make sense
 
2. Run-On or Fused Sentence
  • Two complete thoughts stuck together without any punctuation
 

Error: I am going to a show tonight my friends are coming with me

Correction: I am going to a show tonight, and my friends are coming with me

Repair Options:
  • Add a comma and coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, yet, so) after the first thought
  • Split the sentence into two, using a period and a capital letter
  • Separate the first and second complete thoughts with a semicolon
 
3. Comma Splice
  • Two complete thoughts joined with a comma
 

Error: The dog went to the park, he played fetch with his owner

Correction: The dog went to the park, and he played fetch with his owner

Repair Options:
  • Add a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, yet, so) after the comma
  • Replace the comma with a period and change the next letter to a capital
  • Use a semicolon to separate the two complete thoughts

Misused Spellings

Accept
Except

Accept means "take." It is always a verb. Except means "excluding."

Everyone except Brian accepted my explanation.

Advice
Advise

The difference in pronunciation makes the difference in meaning clear. Advise (sounds like wise) is a verb. Advice (sounds like nice) is a noun.

I advise you not to listen to free advice.

Affect
Effect

Affect is a verb meaning "influence." Effect is a noun meaning "result." If you can substitute result, then effect is the word you need.

Learning about the effects of caffeine affected my coffee-drinking.

A lot
Allot

A lot (often misspelled alot) means "many" or "much," and should be avoided in academic writing. Use many or much instead. Allot means "distribute" or "assign."

He still has "a lot of" (many) problems, but he’s coping "a lot" (much) better. The teacher will allot each of the different questions to students.

Are
Our

Are is a verb. Our shows ownership.

Pierre Burton and Margaret Atwood are two of Canada’s best known writers. Canada is our home and native land

Choose
Chose

Pronunciation gives the clue here. Choose means to "select" in the present or future. Chose means that it was "selected" In the past

Please choose a topic. I chose film-making.

Course
Coarse

Coarse means "rough, unrefined." Sandpaper is coarse. Metaphorically, language full of profanities can be described as coarse. For all other meanings, use course.

That sandpaper is too coarse to use on a lacquer finish. You'll enjoy the photography course. Of course you'll come with us.

Complement
Compliment

A complement completes something. A compliment is a gift of praise.

A glass of wine would be the perfect complement to the meal. Some people are embarrassed by compliments.

Conscience
Conscious

Your conscience is your sense of right and wrong. Conscious means "aware" or "awake" (able to feel and think).

After Ann cheated on the test, her conscience bothered her. Ann was conscious of having done wrong. The injured man was unconscious.

Consul
Council
Counsel

A Consul is a government official stationed in another country. A council is an assembly or official group. Members of council are councilors. Counsel can be used to mean both "advice" and "to advise."

The Canadian Consul in Venice was very helpful. The Women's Advisory Council meets next month. Maria gave me good counsel. She counselled me to hire a lawyer

Desert
Dessert

A desert is a dry, barren place. As a verb, desert means "to leave behind." Dessert is the part of a meal you’d probably like two helpings of, so give it two s's.

The tundra is Canada's only desert region. As soon as our backs are turned, our lookout deserted his post. Jell-O is the children’s favourite dessert.

Dining
Dinning

You'll spell dining correctly if you remember the phrase "wining and dining." Dinning means "making a loud noise."

The dog is not supposed to be in the dining room. We are dining out tonight. The sounds of the karaoke bar were dinning in my ears.

Does
Dose

Pronunciation provides the clue. Does is an action (verb). Dose refers to a quantity of medicine.

Joseph does drive fast, doesn’t he? My grandmother used to give me a dose of cod liver oil every spring.

Forth
Fourth

Forth means "forward." Fourth contains the number four, which gives it its meaning.

Please stop racing back and forth. The Raptors lost their fourth game in a row

Hear
Here

Hear is what you do with your ears. Here is used for all other meanings.

Now hear this! Ranjan isn’t here. Here is your assignment

It's
Its

It's is a shortened form of it is. The apostrophe takes the place of the I in is. If you can substitute it is, then it's is the form you need. If you can't substitute it is, then its is the correct word.

It's really not difficult. (It is really not difficult). The book has lost its cover. (The book has lost it is cover makes no sense, so you need its). It's is also commonly used as the shortened form of it has. In this case, the apostrophe takes the place of the h and the a. It's been a bad month for software sales.

Later
Latter

Later refers to time and has the word late in it. Latter means "the second of the two" and has two t's. It is the opposite of the former.

It is later than you think. You take the former, and I’ll take the latter.

Led (Lead)
Lead

The word lead is pronounced "led" only when it refers to the heavy, soft, grey metal used in items such as lead bullets or leaded windows. Otherwise, lead is pronounced to rhyme with "speed" and is used as the present tense of the verb to lead. (Led is the past tense of the same verb).

When I asked her to lead me to the person in charge, she led me to the secretary. Your suitcase is heavy; it must be filled with either gold or lead.

Loose
Lose

Pronunciation is the key to these words. Loose means "not tight." Lose means "misplace" or "be defeated."

A loose electrical connection is dangerous. Some are born to win, some to lose.

Miner
Minor

A miner works in a mine. Minor means "lesser" or "not important." For example, a minor is a person of less than legal age.

Liquor can be served to miners, but not if they're minors. For some people, spelling is a minor problem.

Moral
Morale

Again, pronunciation provides the clue you need. Moral refers to the understanding of what is right and wrong. Morale refers to the spirit or mental condition of a person or group.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children moral behaviour. The low morale of our employees is the reason for their high absenteeism.

Peace
Piece

Peace is what we want on earth. Piece means a part or portion of something, as in a "piece of pie."

Everyone hopes for peace in the Middle East. A piece of the puzzle is missing.

Personal
Personnel

Personal means "private." Personnel refers to the group of people working for a particular employer or to the office responsible for maintaining employees' records.

The letter was marked "Personal and Confidential." We are fortunate in having highly qualified personnel. Yasmin works in the Personnel Office

Principal
Principle

Principal means "main." Principle is a rule.

A principal is the main administrator of a school. A federal government is Summerside's principal employer. The principal and the interest totaled more than I could pay (In this case the Principal is the main amount of money). One of our instructor's principles is to refuse to accept late assignments.

Quiet
Quite

Quiet refers to a low level of sound; quite refers to the extent of something.

The chairperson asked us to be quiet. We had not quite finished our assignment.

Stationary
Stationery

Stationary means "fixed in place." Stationery is writing paper.

Did you want a laptop or stationary computer? Please order a supply of stationery.

Than
Then

Than is used in comparisons. Then refers to time.

Karim is a better speller than Ray. He made his decision then. Tanya withdrew from the competition; then she realized the consequences.

Their
There
They're

Their indicates ownership. There points out something or indicates place, and includes within it the word here (which also indicates place). I'm over here, you’re over there. They're is a shortened form of they are.

It was their fault. There are two weeks left in the term. Let’s walk over there. They're late, as usual.

Too
Two
To

The too with an extra o in it means "more than enough" or "also." Two is the number after one. For all other meanings, use to

She thinks she's been working too hard. He thinks so, too. There are two sides to every argument. The two women knew too much about each other to be friends.

Were
Where
We're

Were is a verb. Where indicates place. We're is a shortened form of we are.

You were joking, weren't you? Where did you want to meet? We're on our way.

Who's
Whose

Who's is a shortened form of who is or who has. Otherwise, use whose.

Who's coming to dinner? (Who is coming to dinner?) Who's been sleeping in my bed? (Who has been sleeping in my bed?) Whose paper is this? ("Who is paper" makes no sense, so you need whose).

Woman
Women
Womyn

Woman is the singular form; compare man. Women is the plural form; compare men. Womyn is a different spelling of the word "Women" used by some to avoid using the suffix "men".

One woman has responded to our ad. The affirmative action policy promotes equality between women and men. Womyn deserve equal rights

You're
Your

You're is a shortened form of you are. If you can substitute you are for the you're in your sentence, then you're using the correct form. If you can't substitute you are, use your.

You're welcome. (You are welcome.) Unfortunately, your hamburger got burned. ("You are hamburger" makes no sense, so your is the word you want.)

Using Semi-Colons and Colons

Semi-Colons

A semi-colon can only separate two complete thoughts
  1. Use a semicolon instead of a coordinating conjunction* to contrast or expand related ideas.
    • Some students accepted their low marks quietly; others complained about them to their teacher.
    • Three doctors began the research project; only one completed it.
  2. Use a semicolon with a conjunctive adverb.**
    • Sales were good; however, expense continued to be high
    • She received her notes for the exam late; consequently, her grade was not very high
  3. In a list with commas in it already.
    • The student affairs committee is arranging trips to Whistler, B.C.; Banff, Alberta; and Halifax, Nova Scotia

Colons

A colon can be used only after a complete thought
  1. Before a list.
    • These people were in a play: Bill, Natasha, Tom, and Shelley
  2. Before an explanation.
    • The United Nations failed in its mission for one reason: It did not react strongly
    • Brent shouted and waved his arms: He had just set a new world’s record
  3. To introduce a quotation.
    • Hamlet put it best: "To be or not to be, that is the question."
 

*Coordinating Conjunctions = and, or, nor, but, yet, so

**Conjunctive Adverbs include furthermore, hence, thus, in addition

Subject Verb Agreement

A sentence needs a subject and a verb to be complete. A common error in college-level writing is the use of a subject and a verb that do not agree. Here are some rules to help you.

Subject:

A noun or pronoun that tells you who/what the sentence is about. The subject performs the verb.

Example: We ran to catch the bus,
  The student is in the library.
Verb:

A word that shows action (run, eat, study) or a state of being (is, am, are, was, were, etc.).

Example: We ran to catch the bus.
  The student is in the library.
Basic Principle:

Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs.

Example (singular): Sam is a student at Georgian College.
NOT: Sam are a student at Georgian College
 
  •  
  •  
Example (plural): The students have classes every day this week.
NOT: The students has classes every day this week.

Collective nouns (i.e., group, people, family, team, etc.)

Collective nouns are words for single things that are made up of more than one person, animal, place, thing, or idea. For instance, many individuals compose a team, or many cows are referred to as a herd. These are singular subjects and thus require a singular verb agreement

Example: The band is on tour.
  A herd of sheep is grazing in the field.
  A shoal is swimming in the ocean.

Transitional Expressions

Transitional expressions build coherence in writing. Paragraphs are coherent (or "hang together") when ideas within them are linked, and one idea leads logically to the next.

Transitional expressions improve your writing. They show relationships and help create a logical flow of ideas. They help readers anticipate what's coming, reduce uncertainty, and speed up comprehension. They act as "road signs" to signal that a train of thought is moving forward, being developed, possibly detouring, or ending.

As the table below shows, transitions can add and strengthen, show cause and effect, indicate time or order, clarify, contradict, and contrast ideas. You must be careful to select the best transition for your purpose. Remember that coherence in written communication rarely happens without effort and skill.

To Add To Show Time
or Order
To Clarify To Show
Cause and
Effect
To Contradict To Contrast
Additionally
Again
Also
Besides
Further
Furthermore
Likewise
Moreover
As well as
After
Before
Earlier
Finally
First
Meanwhile
Next
Now
Previously
Then
Lastly
In conclusion
For example
For instance
I mean
In other words
That is
This means
To put it another way
Therefore
Simply put
Accordingly
As a result
Consequently
For this reason
So
Therefore
Thus
Under the circumstances
Actually
But
However
In fact
Instead
Rather
Still
Though
Yet
As opposed to
At the same time
By contrast
Conversely
On the contrary
On the other hand
This being said
 

Note the transitions used in the following example:

Sequence: After he receives the figures, Ned will compile the report.

To clarify: The shops are getting busy already; for example, Wal-Mart was crazy yesterday.

Conclusion: Therefore, in recognition of your hard work, we are awarding you two days off with pay.

Bibliographies & Citing

Annotated Bibliography

"An annotated bibliography bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph (the annotation). The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited."

Source: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

  • Retrieved from http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill28.htm
  • Research & Learning Services
  • Olin Library
  • Cornell University Library
  • Ithaca, NY, USA
  • Permission has been granted to reproduce and adapt the information for non-commercial use.

Format of an Annotated Bibliography

Your instructor may have indicated a particular style guide to use (many instructors use APA). If not, consult The Chicago Manual.

Most bibliographies organize items alphabetically by the author's last name. Use a citation style guide to determine what information to include for each item. Your annotation should appear right after or below the citation.

 

Example According to MLA

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

 

Example According to APA

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51(4), 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

 
 

Notice that the first part of the annotation is descriptive and the last sentence is a brief evaluation.

Notice that the first few sentences of the annotation discuss the reliability of the article while the last sentence relates to its usefulness.

 

For more information, please see How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography, http://guides.library.cornell.edu/c.php?g=32342&p=203789

Annotating Text

 

Annotating requires marking up the text with highlighting, underlining, markings, and writing in the margins. If the text does not belong to you, use small post-it notes and stick them to the pages.

 

What Does Annotated Text Look Like?

The following website provide an example of an annotated text:
http://www.niagara.edu/assets/listpage/Annotating-Textbooks.pdf

 
When you annotate text you are doing the following while you read:
 
  1. Identifying key words, phrases, concepts, terms, or ideas
    • Highlight, circle, and/or underline key words or phrases that identify main ideas or concepts. Be careful not to overdo these types of markings or they will become meaningless
    • Highlight, circle, or underline testable information, or anything that might be useful for future assignments
    • Consider using different colours or markings for various types of information
    • Define any difficult vocabulary words
    • If the text does not already contain clear headings and subheadings, create a marginal index by writing key words in the margin to identify themes, main ideas, topics, and subtopics
  2. Asking questions
    • Put a question mark ("?") in the margin to indicate a question
    • Consider open-ended questions (What if…? Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?) that relate to the following:
      • What the author is saying;
      • Why the author says something;
      • What the author means by something;
      • Details, words, or concepts that need more clarification;
      • What certain sections mean, or how they relate to your area of study;
      • Things that you disagree with or are skeptical of;
      • Bias, reliability, validity, completeness, clarity, accuracy, and currency
    • Explore "What if…?" questions
  3. Making connections
    • Make notes that connect information in the text to the following:
      • Your reading goal
      • Other information on the topic
      • Something you heard or experienced related to the information in the text
      • Applications of the concepts or ideas in the text
      • A possible test question
      • Something that contradicts what the writer is saying
    • Draw arrows that connect one section of the text to another
  4. Recording thoughts, reflections, and feelings
    • Write notes in the margins to indicate the following:
      • How you feel about what the author is saying
      • Whether you agree or disagree and why
      • Any thoughts you have related to the information and ideas

APA Manual Cross References (6th Edition)

APA Manual Cross References 6th Edtion
APA Element 6th Edition
Page
Number
6th Edition
Section
Number
 
QUOTING AND PARAPHRASING
In Text Quotation (less than 40 words) 170 6.03
Block Quotation (more than 40 words) 171 6.03
Quotes from Online Sources 171-172 N/A
Paraphrasing 171 6.04
Direct Quotations of Online Material Without Pagination 171 6.05
 
REFERENCE LIST
References 37 2.11
Reference List 180 - 192 N/A
Typing Reference Page 180 6.22
Reference Components 183 N/A
Authors 184 6.27
Chapters in an Edited Book (e.g. Ross-Kerr) 184 6.27
Publication Date 185, 186 6.28, 6.30
Title 185 6.29
Electronic Copy of a Journal, Retrieved from Database 187, 189 6.31, 6.32
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 188, 189 6.31, 6.32
URL 188 6.31
Referencing Photos, Music, Movies, Art, Maps, etc. 209 7.07
Referencing Legal Materials (e.g. Court Decisions) 217 7.02 - 7.07
Order of References in Reference List 181 6.24
Order of Several Works by the Same Author 182 6.25
Order of Several Works by Different Authors with the Same Surname 183 6.25
Reference Examples by Type 193 - 215 7.01
 
STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION
Margins 229 8.03
Double Spacing 229 8.03
Order of Pages 229 8.03
Page Numbers 230 8.03
Page Header 230 8.03
Preferred Typeface 229 8.03
Paragraphs and Indentations 229 8.03
Levels of Heading 62 3.02, 3.03
Title Page 23, 229 2.01, 8.03
Sample Paper 41 N/A
Seriation (lists) 63 3.04
Paragraph Length 68 N/A
 
IN-TEXT CITATIONS
Plagiarism (overview) 51, 170 1.10, 6.01
Reference Citation In-Text 174 N/A
One Author 174 6.11
Multiple Authors 175 6.12
Authors with the Same Surname 176 6.14
Two or More Authors in the Same Parentheses 177 6.16
Personal Communication 179 6.20
Citation of Work Discussed in Secondary Source 178 6.17
Citation Within Quotation 173 6.09
Classical Works 178 6.18
No Identified Author/ Anonymous Author 176 6.15
No Retrieval Date 192, 199 N/A
 
GRAMMAR, SPELLING, PUNCTUATION
Use of I, We… 69 3.09
Use of Verbs 77 3.18
Abbreviation in Text 106, 111 4.22, 4.30
Guidelines for Reducing Bias 71 N/A
Numbers in Text and at the Beginning of a Sentence 111 4.31, 4.32
Punctuation 87 4.01 - 4.13
Spelling 96 4.12
 

* Modified from K. Weatherall

Owl Purdue

Online Resource for Writing

Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab

 
Some Examples of What You Will Find
 
MLA Formatting and Style Guide

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

  • In-Text Citations
  • Works Cited Page
  • MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources
  • Sample Paper
 
APA Formatting and Style Guide

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

  • In-Text Citations
  • Reference Lists
  • Reference Lists: Electronic Sources
  • Sample Paper
 
Punctuation

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/6/

  • Apostrophes
  • Commas vs. Semicolons
  • Dependent and Independent Clauses
 
Grammar

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/5/

  • Spelling
  • Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Articles (a/an/the)
  • Prepositions (to, at, on, in...)
  • Relative Pronouns (that, who, whom, whose, which, where, when, and why).
  • Subject/Verb Agreement
  • Verb Tenses

How to Add a Running Head & Page Numbers in Word

View this helpful tutorial on how to add a running head & page numbers to a Word document.

Credit: St. Edward's University IT Training