Professional-Looking Book Layout

15 Apr

We’ve all seen it: a book that looks great on the surface, with an attractive cover and engaging description on the back. But lurking inside is a well of horrors, some of which we never even realized we feared until we saw them printed in front of us. Just what is it that makes some […] read more »

3 Tips for Writing Better Dialogue

14 Apr

 “And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” Stories survive on their dialogue. Yes, there are some great novels with page after page of narration and description, and if you’re a future Nobel-winner wunderkind, more power to you. For the rest of us, it’s in conversations that characters primarily […] read more »

10 Tips for Writing Effective Recommendations

14 Apr

A workplace is defined as much by social interactions as by the work that gets done. Now, not all of those interactions are pleasant (We’ve all endured that grumbling client or that tattletale coworker.), but some can be immensely satisfying. Praise and compliments make us feel good, and they’re actually good for us. A study […] read more »

Does Good Grammar Really Matter?

4 Apr

OK, because I make a living fixing people’s grammar, I’m obviously going to say that good grammar is super-duper important. But give me a moment anyway, if you please, because I’m going to explain why and when. In fact, let’s look at the “when” issue first. There are times when getting your point across relies […] read more »

How to Set Up a Writing Business

28 Mar

We’ve talked about some of the basics writers need to keep in mind around tax time, but the best thing you can do to help your taxes is to set your writing up as a business. You’ll avoid some of the trickier bits altogether, like whether your writing is a hobby or a business and […] read more »

Avoiding Comma Errors Part II

26 Mar

In a previous post I wrote about some of the most common comma errors: between clauses, with conjunctive adverbs (e.g., “however”), in a series or list, and with the words “which” and “that.” In today’s post I will address a few more common comma errors. Naming Things In writing, we often need both to name […] read more »

Easy Formula for LinkedIn Recommendations

26 Mar

To follow up on our look at using testimonials in your resume, let’s flip the script. Maybe one of your colleagues is looking for consulting work, or perhaps a young person whom you have mentored is setting off on a new career path. A recommendation from you could help that person land a position. How […] read more »

How Taxes Work for Writers

2 Mar

It’s tax season, and U.S. residents are thinking hard about that deadline (although this year, thanks to a holiday, you have until Monday, April 18, to file). As you gather up your forms, papers, and shoeboxes of receipts and pour a strong cup of coffee, remember to think about how your writing affects your taxes. […] read more »

How to Use Testimonials in a Resume

27 Feb

We’ve mentioned the recent trend of including an inspirational quote in your resume. The consensus—from both an editor’s viewpoint and a recruiter’s—is that it’s a bad idea. A resume’s function is to showcase your skills and the value that you represent for an employer in your own simple, clear words. With all that being said, […] read more »

Common Idiom Use Errors

5 Feb

Here at ProofreadingPal, we have a lot of clients who speak English as a second (or third, or whatever) language. As someone whose only Spanish skill is to ask for a drink or a bathroom and whose only German is to note that the record player is broken (long story), I’m deeply respectful of the […] read more »

5 Tips for Better Writing Habits

3 Feb

One of my six-year-old son’s favorite gifts this holiday season was a science kit featuring the magic of chemistry. After a few warm-up experiments, my husband and son were working on an experiment guaranteed to have an exciting conclusion: the “Mega-Fizz-Bang!” They got everything ready, carefully measured the citric acid powder into the test tube, […] read more »

How Do Teachers Grade Papers?

3 Feb

There are a lot of myths about school, like being able to leave the classroom with impunity if the teacher is ten minutes late and the one about what the meatloaf is made of. One myth popular in high school and college is that multiple-choice and short-answer tests are “more objective” than essay assignments. Students […] read more »

What Goes at the Top of a Resume?

1 Feb

There are three types of resume headers. Choose the one you need carefully. Like most everything, resumes are subject to trends and fashions, and when fashion is involved, some changes will be durable and useful while others will be embarrassing fads. One change in the last couple decades has been the addition of what I’ll […] read more »

Write Clearly with the Right Words

7 Jan

English is a confusing language at the best of times because of its many linguistic influences over the years. It’s our job here at ProofreadingPal to uncover and fix such instances, and there are a few words particularly that we find ourselves changing over and over again to make language more precise. Using “They/Them/Their” in […] read more »

Colophon: The Publication Page

26 Dec

We’ve all seen and ignored it a million times, that page at the front of a book with all the dense little lines of text and strings of numbers. What the heck is it? And why do you need to consider it if you’re self-publishing? That page at the front of the book is the […] read more »

How to Write an A Paper

26 Dec

You read the assignment carefully. You cite your sources perfectly. You stick to the scope of the class. You answer every last question. You submit your essay with pride. You get a B. You feel, quite rightly, frustrated. Just what the #@&! do you have to do, you wonder, to get an A? If you’re […] read more »

What Personal Information Goes on a Resume

1 Dec

So you’re nearly finished writing your resume. Time for a quick existential crisis! Your resume is looking great. You’ve provided timelines for your education and work histories, used bullet points to emphasize your achievements, and documented your professional skills. And you’ve done it all with room to spare! (White space is your friend.) But you […] read more »

Differences in a Paraphrase, Summary, and Précis

30 Nov

Look up “paraphrase,” “summary,” and “précis” in the dictionary, and you’re going to find a lot of overlapping ideas, but the uses of these terms (especially in academic writing) have quite well-defined boundaries. All these terms deal with the idea that you’re reading something someone else wrote and then putting it in different terms while […] read more »

How to Avoid Comma Errors

6 Nov

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of talking to a person who talks a mile a minute without pausing taking a break or allowing you to interject and they can be very very hard to understand. On the other hand, you’ve probably also noticed, that some people, speak so slowly, and with so many pauses, […] read more »

When Do I Cite in APA?

29 Oct

We’ve talked about how to cite references in APA, but how about when to cite? If you’re not used to citing with APA, it can feel . . . kinda weird. Sure, you remember from English class that you’re supposed to cite your source whenever you quote something, or even specifically paraphrase a passage. You […] read more »

View Archive »