Easy Guide to That vs. Which

December 23, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

The rule for US English is actually pretty simple to state: use that when the phrase that follows is essential for the meaning of the noun (or is a dependent phrase), and use which when the phrase that follows offers additional, nonessential information about the noun (or is an independent phrase). Getting it right, however, can be complicated.


Top 5 Eyesores in Self-Publishing

December 13, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Publishing

You have to pay attention to formatting and presentation when you’re getting ready to self-publish. When it comes time to self-publish your book, don’t make these five key layout mistakes.


Microsoft Word Guide: Using the Ruler for Indents

December 4, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Let’s look at how Word’s built-in ruler automates the indentation of text, along with why you should use it rather than indenting manually.


Common Apostrophe Errors

November 30, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

While researching apostrophe use and common associated errors, I learned several interesting facts...


Top 10 Changes in Chicago’s 17th Edition

November 16, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

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,


Control Your Tone with Your Mood

November 2, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Recovering Lost Documents

October 28, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

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.


Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 4-6

October 19, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Essays

Three more reason why buying online content, for school or elsewhere, is a really bad idea.


Compare Versions in Microsoft Word

October 5, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

MS Word's Compare function looks at any two documents and lists all the differences paragraph by paragraph.


How to Use Word References Tool

September 22, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

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.


Dragons, Thrones, and the Truth of Endings

September 9, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

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.


When Should I Use Contractions?

September 1, 2017 by Chris in Writing Guides

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.


Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 1-3

August 25, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Utilized: The Latest Misused Word

August 11, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Avoid Absolutes

July 31, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Guide to Word’s Table of Contents

July 25, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

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.


Tips on Making Comparisons

July 15, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

We make comparisons all the time, but we need specifics to make them meaningful.


Is Wikipedia a Good Research Tool?

June 30, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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?


Emphasize with Sentence Structure

June 23, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Tips for Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Longer Works

June 4, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Dissertations

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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