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Be Yourself When You Write Essays

on March 11, 2012 by Mike in Essays
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Unfortunately, we see many misguided essays here at ProofreadingPal on a daily basis. And one of the fundamental suggestions we always offer to those clients is to “be yourself when you write.”

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Know Your Enemy – The Modern Language Association (MLA)

on March 9, 2012 by Mike in MLA
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The MLA currently claims about 30,000 members in about 100 countries. Although founded in the United States in 1883 and headquartered in New York City, the MLA’s membership and influence extend worldwide

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“On Em dash, on En dash, on Prancer, on Vixen”

on December 23, 2011 by Tom in Business Proofreading and Editing
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Having a client who is adept at em and en dashes is indeed rare. Usually we see the plain ol’ regular hyphen being used where an em or en dash would be more appropriate. Or we often see random hyphens in varying multiples scattered throughout a paper like sprinkles on a Christmas cookie.

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Read Before You Write (Part II)

on December 23, 2011 by Jessica in Proofreading and Editing
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But no, I get it, really. You are busy. Welcome to the twenty-first century, in which a book doesn’t have to be a codex to be enjoyed.

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Read Before You Write (Part I)

on December 22, 2011 by Jessica in Proofreading and Editing
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Writing is easy. Writing well is not. Otherwise, we would all be signing seven-figure deals and wondering where to put the next theme park based on our work. There are a lot of different things that have to go right for someone to break into the traditional publishing world, and a lot more for someone to achieve that super special level of sparkling international acclaim that gets noticed in the mainstream media.

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Knowing What to Look For

on December 14, 2011 by Mike in Proofreading and Editing
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Effective writing is not so esoteric as to be beyond description. There are many elements we can specify. Let's look first at structure.

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Livestock Judging and You

on December 14, 2011 by Mike in Proofreading and Editing
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Most skills are learned largely through imitation. It’s common sense that if we want to improve as an ice skater, we find someone who is better than we are and watch them skate. The more skilled we are at observing, the more effective we'll be at adapting what we see another skater do into what we can do.

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How Writers and Proofreaders Can Live in Peace

on December 10, 2011 by Mike in Proofreading and Editing
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When Alexander Pope (1688-1744) warned, “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” he was, among other things, explaining why editors and proofreaders – even us here at ProofreadingPal – so often find ourselves in antagonistic relationships with writers.

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Creating a Memorable Résumé

on December 10, 2011 by Chad in Resumes
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At ProofreadingPal, we see dozens of résumés a month. While some are pretty sharp, most are…well, in need of some assistance. Beyond blatant grammatical and spelling errors, many résumés have unwieldy objectives, inconsistencies in formatting or language use, and in this job market, it is imperative to make your résumé as sharp as possible before sending it out!

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The Unexamined Page

on November 22, 2011 by Chad in Proofreading and Editing
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As a proofreader at ProofreadingPal, I see a lot of otherwise well-written documents with some gaping flaws caused by carelessness. I understand. And I like to make suggestions in addition to corrections – changing a word may fix a document, but changing a way to think about how to write is rewarding.

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How to Let Them Know Who You Are

on November 17, 2011 by Susan in Personal Statements
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How to let them know who you are in your personal statement.

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The Nuts and Bolts of APA In-text Citations and References

on November 9, 2011 by Tom in APA
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Referencing authors of sources within the main text, within the parenthetical citations themselves, and on the references page involves slight variations.

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What to Say and How to Say It

on November 9, 2011 by Mike in Admissions Essays
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So what should you say in your admissions essay and how should you say it? Read this blog post to find out.

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Making a Mark in Proofreading World

on October 24, 2011 by Brian Kaldenberg in ProofreadingPal News
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ProofreadingPal was recently covered in the Iowa City Press Citizen newspaper.

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How to Make One Essay Work for Most Prompts

on October 23, 2011 by Mike in Admissions Essays
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Most schools follow a much less intriguing path to college application essay prompts, and that’s why you can adapt one basic essay to fit almost any of them.

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Submitting Short Fiction to Literary Magazines

on October 20, 2011 by Jessica in Books and Manuscripts
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So you’ve written a short story and are looking to getting it published in a literary magazine. There are still a few steps you’ll want to take before you can see your name in print.

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Writers vs. Editors – Cage Fight for the Centuries

on October 17, 2011 by Mike in Proofreading and Editing
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Some proofreaders and editors like to think there are rules, rigid rules, rules that transcend life itself. But no matter how earnest and well-meaning these folks are, they remain earnestly wrong. There is only one rule for writers, and author Mildred I. Reid phrased it as well as anyone: “The only rule for effective writing is: Does it work?”

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Strunk and White are Still Dead or How Writers Can Stay Alive

on October 16, 2011 by Mike in Essays
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There are some rules of English grammar that are, and probably will remain, nearly absolute. But that does not mean all grammar rules are immutable. After all, while gravity is the law, much of grammar is only a suggestion. So how do you know when to obey the gods of grammar and when not to? The applicable law is complex in its simplicity. Here it is: If it works, it’s right. If it doesn’t, it’s wrong.

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Strunk and White are Dead

on October 13, 2011 by Mike in Essays
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I admit it. I used to teach grammar. But it wasn’t my fault. I was merely a product of my upbringing. I had been taught that grammar rules. As a student in what was then called junior high, I had excelled at diagramming sentences.

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How to Address the Prompt and Still Tell Your Story

on October 5, 2011 by Mike in Admissions Essays
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No, you can't ignore the prompt. If the folks on the admissions committee wanted you to write on anything you wished, they would have told you so. And many do exactly that. But those who go to the trouble of providing a specific prompt want you to deal with it. How you do that? Glad you asked.

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