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Category: Writing Guides

Strunk & White Still Good Advice

on August 12, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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When it comes to writing well, you’d be hard-pressed to find better advice than that contained in William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. First published in 1935, this slim volume provides wise guidance still relevant in today’s world of instant communication.

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Proper Geographical Abbreviations

on August 5, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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These rules do not arise organically but are handed down by self-appointed arbiters usually speaking for an affiliation of publishers. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), for instance, serves as the argument-ender for hundreds of magazines and newspapers.

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5 Obsolete Grammar Rules

on August 5, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Grammar is as subject to fashion as everything else. So to keep you up to date, here are five grammar rules that rule no more.

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Hyphens in Numbers, Prefixes, and Modifiers

on July 20, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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In today’s post, I look at some specific grammatical constructions and how hyphens are used in them.

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Guide to Using Hyphens in Compound Words

on July 7, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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Recently I’ve gotten a little obsessed with compounds words and the hyphen, that little punctuation mark that can cause so much confusion. My interest in this started when I was looking into the spelling of the word “healthcare.” Oops! I mean “health care”… or “health-care”?

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How Many Spaces After a Period?

on July 1, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Typing two blank spaces at the end of every sentence is one such habit. Lots of people still do it because it used to be a rule, and that’s how they were taught. And they, in turn, pass the “rule” along to the next generation of writers. But for most kinds of writing, the two-space habit is, in fact, no longer the rule.

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Research Tips for Better Writing

on May 26, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Writing a research paper is like following a recipe. You take certain “ingredients,” follow the right steps, and end up with a finished product. Skip important steps or ingredients, and your finished product will suffer, as will your grade.

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Does Good Grammar Really Matter?

on April 4, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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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.

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Avoiding Comma Errors Part II

on March 26, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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More advice, explanations, and examples about those pesky commas errors and how to avoid them.

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Common Idiom Use Errors

on February 5, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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But being fluent in a language doesn’t just mean memorizing a list of idioms (hundreds of which will come up on a quick Google search). You have to know how and when to use them.

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5 Tips for Better Writing Habits

on February 3, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Bad writing is everywhere, and it’s often not a lack of knowledge about the mechanics of writing that causes problems, but a flawed writing process. So, if you want to blow some mids (er, minds) with your writing, follow these tips to improve your writing habits.

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Write Clearly with the Right Words

on January 7, 2016 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Editors and writers find some words particularly challenging, changing them over and over again to make language more precise.

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How to Write an A Paper

on December 26, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Essays
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While it’s true that A work is usually superior to the work of other students in the class, that’s not really the point. But A work isn’t just superior to B work; it’s superior to the assignment.

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Differences in a Paraphrase, Summary, and Précis

on November 30, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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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.

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US vs. UK English Grammar

on October 29, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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A few key grammatical and spelling differences between US and UK English to remember when writing in one dialect or the other. You’ll want to keep these differences in mind and make sure your editor knows about them as well.

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Run-on Sentence or Long Sentence?

on October 1, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Sentences can have a lot of other things, like objects and indirect objects and dependent phrases, and so on. But when talking about run-ons, the important things are subjects and verbs.

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How and When to Write Complaint Letters

on September 26, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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If you have been subjected to a genuine injustice that needs to be corrected, such as illegal, unethical, or reckless action by the company, then you deserve to be heard.

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What Is Passive Voice and How Do I Use It?

on September 25, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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In general, the active voice is much clearer, more concise, and direct: all qualities of effective writing. Use the passive voice only if you need to.

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Should I Use First, Second, or Third Person?

on September 3, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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It’s pretty easy to avoid second person in formal writing, so the main source of confusion comes from whether to use first or third person.

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How to Write without Clichés: Part 2

on August 22, 2015 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Clichés serve many purposes. Unfortunately, they’re all bad.

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