Improving Your Writing
Editing: Day 1Dr. Will KurlinkusSEthos=Credibility and PersonaEthosEthicsSStartingYou actually have to take the time to sit down and edit your writing.
2 Resources: Purdues OWL; The Writers Digest Grammar Desk Reference SEditing CategoriesMechanics, Punctuation, and FormattingGrammarStyle, Structure, Usability
Note: These editing categories appear from least to most important.Common Editing MarksStet: Let it stand.Avoid Repetition: Same or similar words circled and connected by a line with an x in the middle.Check Mark: Something is good, or you have completed a requirement.Often the delete marker is a curly strikethrough.
The 1st Thing I DoMake a list of common errors I always make and hunt them down.For me, despite writing professionally for years and years, my common errors are: its vs. its; their, there, theyre; slow windups; weak verbs; and words to cut.What are your common errors?FormattingTitles of Cited Texts:Italics: Books, journals, movies, websitesQuotation Marks: Chapters, articles, poems, small things inside bigger thingsYour Papers Title: Should tell me what your paper is about. Specific. Not just Assignment 2.Numbers vs. Bullets: Use numbered lists when what you are listing something that has some order (first, second, third).Abbreviations: Spell things out the first time with the abbreviation in parentheses. Use the abbreviation thereafter.In the second issue of the journal College Composition and Communication (CCC) Bob Markus discusses style as key to all writing courses. CCC, however, has not always lived up to this credo. Page Numbers: If its more than one page, include them. Generally, its also a good idea to include some description before the page number, either an abbreviated report title or the authors last name.Formatting: ScannabilityAvoid Bolding Everything: Only bold main section titles. Italicize or color for emphasis.Dont Underline: Underlining is an outdated mode of emphasis from a time before computers.Size: Dont include more than two sizes.Create a Logical Hierarchy: Bolded Roman numeral, italicized capital letter, numeral, lowercase roman numeral.Choose a Color Scheme: Use a main color for headings and use a highlight color for subheadings.60-30-10: Is a common rule for designers who use color. 60% of the page should be your primary color (in our case usually black); 30% of the page should be your secondary color (blue); and 10% of the page should be your highlight (green)3 Most Common Color SchemesMonochromatic: Shades of the same colorAnalogous: Next to each other on the color wheel.Complementary: Across from each other on the color wheel.Tip: For your color blind users, avoid using bright yellows and green (with red, brown, blue, gray, black).
MechanicsQuotationsIntroducing Quotes: Quotes should never stand alone.George Smith, another supporter of cloning and the President of the Human Cloning Foundation, believes that science fiction works have created hysteria in the popular media. Smith argues, From Frankenstein to The Sixth Day, our popular media has done nothing but stir up the publics anxiety about monsters (25). His views on the popular media tell us . . .Introduce: A quote needs to introduce the author and their credentials, and place them in the context of your argument. Generally, you must use a comma if what comes before the quote is an incomplete sentence and a colon if what comes before the quote is a complete sentence.Exit: After the quote you need to analyze how this quote relates to your topic and what is meaningful within the quote.Punctuation Inside Quote: If not including citation, commas and periods should go inside quotation marks, not outside. Semicolons, colons, and question marks go outside.Rhetorical theorist James Porter calls such an audience a discourse community, or the group of individuals bound by a common interest who communicate through approved channels (38).Ellipses: if you are removing a few words from a quote use three periods to indicate If you are removing entire sentences from your quote, use four ellipses..Single Quotes: Only use single quotes to quote within a quote.Citation: Actually citein and out of text. Dont just paste a URL at the end.MechanicsEm Dash vs. Colon: Use an em dash (two hyphens) in the same way you might use parentheses. Except that where parentheses and commas tend to hide things in a sentence, em dashes tend to highlight them.Punctuating Bulleted Lists: If you begin a bulleted list with a colon you should punctuate it like you would any other sentence, using commas and ending with a period.It is my responsibility to: provide participant prework questions for your roster of attendees, review participants' responses and writing samples, and customize the workshop to match individuals and the groups needs. Comma+but or and: Use a comma to separate two complete sentences joined by a coordinating conjunctionand, or, but, for, nor. You can omit the comma if the sentences are short.Correct: I have painted the entire house, but he is still working on sanding the doors.Incorrect: Everybody loves Raymond but Raymond is not a good man.Incorrect: Butter is a great food, and sometimes can even go in coffee. (this sentence is missing a subject after the and so doesnt receive a comma).MechanicsPunctuating Conjunctive Adverbs: Conjunctive adverbs (therefore, however, finally, thus, whereas, etc.) need to be incased in commas, but if as complete sentence comes both before and after them then a semicolon needs to precede it.Example: I have paid my dues; therefore, I expect all the privileges listed in the contract. Example: Bobby is the allest kid in class and, therefore, deserves a gold star.Dont use commas as pauses: They have rules.Apostrophes: Use apostrophes for contractions and to indicate possession, not to make things plural.The readers book. The readers books. The bosss wife. Kurlinkuss tree. The childrens dolls. Romeo and Juliets story. Romeos and Juliets feuding families. The United States land claims.Capitalization: In a title, all you should not capitalize are articles (a, an, the), prepositions of under four letters (of, at, on, as), to, and coordinating conjunctions (and, or, for but, yet).GrammarWhile, Although, Whereas: Use while to indicate time; use although and whereas for comparisons.Correct: Time measurements were taken while the 1018 samples air cooled.Incorrect: While the 1018 should have been the softest because of phase transformation, it was actually the hardest.Hyphenating: Hyphenate compound adjectives. This is the only time a hyphen should be used.Generally, a hyphen should be used when you have a two-word adjective coupled to a noun like air-cooled (adj) martensite (noun) or water-quenched sample. But not when the adjective comes after the noun: the martensite was air cooled. Or when the adjectival pair is used by itself: There were three processes: air cooling, water quenching, and tempering.Personal Pronouns: Avoid using you in formal papers. Rather use a more specific term like the author, the audience, the experimenter, or if one of these wont due, use one. Simplifying Tenses: Look for places where you are using compound tenses (-ing, will be, would have) where simple past, present, or future will do.The tacos can vary in flavor, from spicy to mild. The tacos are varying in flavor, from spicy to mild. The tacos vary in flavor Free-Floating This: This was the cause of the deaths. This error in calculation was the cause of the deaths. This error in calculation caused the deaths.Style, Structure, UsabilityStart with the 5-paragraph Essay:Introduction: What is this paper about? What will I get from it? Why is it being written? Scannability charthow can I get to what I want?Body Paragraph: Topic sentence, examples illustrating that topic claim, analysis of that evidence.Conclusion: Why is this information important? Applications? What to do next? Room for further research? Recommendations. P.E.A.: Point (claim), Evidence (quotation, description, statistic), analysis (how your evidence relates to your claim).What is Missing? Ethos matters a lot in lab reports. Scientists often rely on the ranking of the journal to judge whether or not they should trust research. That is why ethos matters so much. Purpose: State your purpose and why you are writing in your introduction. Even if its the simplest of documents or assignments. In this analysis I will look at x,y,z in hopes that a,b,c will happen. All texts, even memos, should have a statement like this. Pretend everything you write is a professional document with a purpose.In my opinion: It is assumed that whatever you are saying is your opinion.Avoid Student Language: In this lab we were asked to collect and analyzes samples of dirt from around the preserve and then analyze it in room 405 of Gittinger Hall.