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Quick and Dirty Guide to Academic Writing
Transcript of Quick and Dirty Guide to Academic Writing
Academic Writing Synatx: Sentence Structure Syntax: The Way Your Words Work Together Past and Present Correct Tense Quotation Conventions Punctuation Get rid of the extra stuff Unnecessary Words
Would You Find That In a Textbook? Inappropriate or
Informal Phrases Syntax refers to the order words are placed in.
The order you choose can effect how clearly your ideas are expressed. - When in doubt, aim for clarity over complexity.
- Variety will make your writing easier to read. Use a mix of long, medium, and short sentences.
- Do not use the same word (be it article, name, pronoun, or otherwise) to start the same sentence multiple times in a row. Keep in mind: Example: While the evidence remains inconclusive, many do agree that CO150 is the greatest course ever. While the inconclusiveness of the evidence is still a factor, there are many who agree that the greatest course ever is CO150. Meh.... YAY! Use Present Tense When... - Talking about a current issue
Ex: There is evidence to support that the use of laptops in CO150 can enhance learning.
Hint: Unless you are writing a historical reflection or your professor states otherwise, your issue will always be current.
- Quoting someone
Ex: "Mills believes that..." rather than "Mills believed that..."
Use Future Tense When... - You want to state the purpose of your essay
Ex: "The purpose of this essay will be to explore..."
Note: You don't HAVE to use future tense!
Ex: "The purpose of this essay is to explore..." Use Past Tense When... - Quoting someone who has been dead for quite some time.
- Otherwise, don't use past tense! Example: "A few years ago, Robert P. Crease asked physicians what they think is the most beautiful experiment of all time." Knowing that the researcher quoted is still alive, how can this sentence be improved? Semi-colons Two Rules for semi-Colons: 1) Connect two ideas that are very closely related but can stand alone as two separate sentences.
Ex: "There are a number of different uses for semi-colons; used in the right way, they can be extremely versatile."
2) Separate items in a list that contain commas within them.
Ex: "I bought shiny, ripe apples; small, sweet, juicy grapes; and firm pears." How to Punctuate With Quotations - Periods and Commas following quoted material always go inside the quotation marks.
Ex: The sign changed from "Walk," to "Don't Walk," to "Walk" again within 30 seconds.
Ex: She said, "Hurry up."
- Question marks that are part of the quote go inside the quotation marks. If you are adding them, the question marks go outside the quotation marks.
Ex: She asked, "Will you still be my friend?"
Ex: Do you agree with the saying, "All's fair in love and war"?
- Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.
Ex: He said, "Danea said, 'Do not treat me that way.'" Editing: Not Just About Punctuation Take the time to read through your writing and make sure the thoughts and words flow. Read it out loud, and see if there are extraneous words that don't make sense or sentences that can be rephrased to enhance comprehension. Example: "Being poor in society today it does not cause as many problems for the individual as it did many years ago."
Where is the extraneous word? This One is Subjective... Everyone has different ideas about what is 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate.' Remember this rule of thumb: Would you find what you have written in a textbook? In one of the scholarly articles you researched? In a business/science report? Things to Stay Away From: - Ambiguous or broad words and phrases
Ex: stuff, it (when the noun 'it' is referring to is unclear), sort of, basically
- Slang and colloquisms
Ex: 'Get it into gear,' 'epic' (in reference to something cool)
Ex: Didn't, shouldn't, it's-->did not, should not, it is Remember!
Much of what you will learn about academic writing will come from doing academic reading. Read, take note, remember, ask questions, and practice!