Graduate Writing

Writing Tips from Our Coaches

  • Editing Tip #1: Cut the Expletives Concise writing comes predominantly from organized drafting and revision (guided by the use of outlines) and from effective editing. For the first of the editing tips to be shred in this blog, one tool for cutting weak text will be discussed: removing expletive constructs. The term expletive derives from the Latin for ''to fill up.'' This is precisely why expletives are a problem in concise writing; “filler material” is antithetical to brevity. Hopefully, we all know already not to use the curse words that sometimes “fill up” a sentence. However, few know of us about a commonly used expletive construct. This construct is a combination of a pronoun and a conjugation of the verb “to be.” Examples of such expletive ...
    Posted Jul 24, 2015, 2:36 PM by Daniel Roberts
  • Useful Keyboard Shortucts for Academic Writing Some of the older people reading this blog may remember the cards we used to lay on our keyboards that showed the commands we could use in a particular computer program. By holding shift, alt, or control, we could use the function keys to perform a wide range of tasks with a few keystrokes. Since the introduction of menus to contain these commands and the growth of the mouse as an input device, most of us have shifted away from using the keyboard shortcuts. However, every major function is still assigned a keyboard shortcut, so knowing a few of them can be very useful. Some of these shortcuts are the same in almost all programs, so learning the shortcuts for ...
    Posted Jul 17, 2015, 9:45 AM by Daniel Roberts
  • Referencing Less Common Classical Texts: An Example We must, at times, combine multiple recommendations from the APA Manual. For example, classical documents typically do not receive a References page entry. Normally, we only cite them in-text. However, if we use a less commonly known document and if we need to refer to that document as a major subsection of our research, we should probably consider a Reference entry format. We might also consider this option if the standard requirements for citing a classical text might be bulky or confusing. This is especially true for works that do not fit the “major classical works” format (APA Manual, p. 179).In such cases, web references could be used if available, but this might mean counting a very large ...
    Posted Jun 17, 2015, 8:41 AM by Daniel Roberts
  • Sorting Rules for APA References Pages Certain complicated collections of reference sources can arise in our projects. Because cutting edge research is usually led by a few specialized researchers, you may often find sources with overlapping or identical authors. We might have multiple articles by the same authors, multiple articles with the same lead author, or articles by the same author published in the same year. How do we decide which goes first in the references page? The sorting priorities are (a) author, (b) publication time, (c) title. Use the following chart to sort out commonly confusing entries. When you have:                               You will: A single author that wrote one reference and was the lead on another reference Place single author entries before multiple author entries. We ...
    Posted Jun 16, 2015, 11:16 AM by Daniel Roberts
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Writing Center Newsletters

  • April Newsletter - We are here all summer!
    Posted Apr 15, 2015, 8:09 AM by Rebecca Cantor
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