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Top 10 Changes in Chicago’s 17th Edition

on November 16, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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Clocking in at 1,145 pages, this is not a book meant to be read cover to cover (thank God), so Chicago has a handy guide to the edition’s updates. The problem is, the handy guide is itself somewhat daunting. So I’m going to cover the top ten changes,

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Control Your Tone with Your Mood

on November 2, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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When it comes to the real nuts and bolts of writing, you’ll find it easier to control your tone by paying attention to your mood. I don’t mean your personal mood, as in not writing when you’re angry or texting when you’re drunk (though that is sound advice). I’m talking about the mood we establish with our words.

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Recovering Lost Documents

on October 28, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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However it happens, we all learn to fear the aftermath, the moment when we click open the folder where we save our work and see that the file we were editing only moments ago is just . . . gone. Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to getting it back.

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Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 4-6

on October 19, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Essays
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Three more reason why buying online content, for school or elsewhere, is a really bad idea.

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Compare Versions in Microsoft Word

on October 5, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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MS Word's Compare function looks at any two documents and lists all the differences paragraph by paragraph.

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How to Use Word References Tool

on September 22, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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In this post, I’ll give specific instructions on how to use Word to add reference citations to a document. One word of caution about this function: you need to know your style guide extremely well to use this function effectively.

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Dragons, Thrones, and the Truth of Endings

on September 9, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Fiction
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Today’s post can be summed up with a simple truth: possibilities are almost always more fun than choices. It’s something fiction writers must not only suffer through, but also accept and even embrace.

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When Should I Use Contractions?

on September 1, 2017 by Chris in Writing Guides
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Use contractions whenever you want to adopt a conversational tone, contractions are the way to go. If you’re writing dialogue for a short story, a phrase like “Don’t you have it?” sounds more natural than “Do you not have it?” In marketing, using the patterns of everyday speech to communicate effectively with customers has been standard practice for decades.

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Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 1-3

on August 25, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Buying online content is not only unethical, it’s a terrible idea. You’re likely to get a badly written, unedited, factually incorrect piece of junk that’s barely better than if you just typed “I don’t know what to type for this paper” 500 times to fill the pages.

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Utilized: The Latest Misused Word

on August 11, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Using and utilizing something are not the same. To utilize something means to take something that was not practical or in typical employment and turn it into something useful. The word comes from “utility,” which means to be designed for a use or to be fitted for a specific purpose.

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Avoid Absolutes

on July 31, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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When we’re writing a paper, report, or anything else we want other people to take seriously, we have to respect the true meaning of these words: they are absolutes. As such, they can kill an otherwise sound argument, distract the reader from the point you’re making, and make you sound juvenile.

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Guide to Word’s Table of Contents

on July 25, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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Word’s Table of Contents function updates numbers and names with just a few clicks as you write and edit. But you have to do the work to set it up.

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Tips on Making Comparisons

on July 15, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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We make comparisons all the time, but we need specifics to make them meaningful.

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Is Wikipedia a Good Research Tool?

on June 30, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Since January 15, 2001, Wikipedia has been an informative, chaotic maelstrom of information online. Since January 16, 2001, it’s been viewed with skepticism, suspicion, and downright hostility. Should you use it for your paper?

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Emphasize with Sentence Structure

on June 23, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Using sentence structure for emphasis does not get distracting even if you do it all the time because readers won’t usually notice what you’re doing and won’t mind even if they do.

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Can They Be a Singular Pronoun?

on June 20, 2017 by Chris in Writing Guides
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Unlike some other languages, English lacks a pronoun for speaking about a person when their (or, um, his or her) gender is unknown. This is awkward in discussing hypothetical situations and when referring to people who don’t identify as male or female.

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Tips for Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Longer Works

on June 4, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Dissertations
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At some point, you may be faced with the task of writing something longer and more involved, like a capstone paper, thesis, dissertation, or long business report. But it’s OK. Your work will follow the same path as it would for any other writing assignment; it will just take longer and be more involved.

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Tips for Better Sentence Structure

on May 24, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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My two tips today deal with the most common mistakes in sentence structure I see here at ProofreadingPal.com: bad parallelism and bad sentence chronology. Big words, but easy fixes.

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Between vs. Among: Commonly Confused Words

on May 18, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Before we consider the question of between vs. among, let’s look at the distinctions of degree that follow. When we speak of “more people” or “a larger number of people,” the meaning is functionally the same, but we choose the adjective based on whether we’re talking about countable objects or mass or abstract nouns. Between and among are also affected.

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When to Use Who and Whom

on May 6, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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I see this one done incorrectly all the time—not just at work, but also in published writing. The problem doesn’t seem to be confusion between the subject “who” and the object “whom,” but confusion about how sentences work. So let’s start there.

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