5 Tips for Writing a PhD Application

June 25, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Admissions Essays

The most critical part of a PhD application is the research proposal and accompanying letter. These elements explain just what you plan to do for the next three to five years of your life, how you’ll contribute to the goals and recognition of the department you’re applying to, and why, exactly, you want to do something as crazy as pursue a PhD in the first place.


How to Format Math and Equations

June 6, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Essays

In a mathematical expression, numbers, variables, and operators act like the parts of speech. Numbers and variables are nouns; operational symbols may variously act as conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, or transitive verbs.


Guidelines for Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources in Your Writing

May 29, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Essays

If you’re writing on a topic in literature, medicine, engineering, history, or anything else academic, you need to use outside sources to support your ideas, and whether you get a solid A or you flop depends a lot on how effectively you use your sources.


How to Write Stock Characters: Good Villains

May 12, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The audience must believe a villain would actually behave that way, which means understanding and even identifying with the villain’s motivations.


The Optional Comma

May 1, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The optional comma can go or not go somewhere depending on what you think works best. It sounds great, but actually, it’s grammar’s version of giving you enough rope to hang yourself.


Mistakes New Fiction Writers Make: Dialogue

April 28, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Using terms like "uttered," "exclaimed," or "interjected" can pull your reader out of the flow of your narrative and make them focus more on the words than on what you’re conveying with those words. And let’s not even get started on "ejaculated," the biggest dialogue-tag offender of all time!


Nesting in Lists and Outlines

April 18, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Let’s focus on the pre-writing phase of your project and how list making can be a useful method for organizing your words, and with them your thoughts


When Grammar Check Is Wrong

April 4, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

I’ve already talked about the limitations of spell check, but grammar check is actually a trickier beast, sometimes offering what look like perfectly reasonable “improvements” to your work that actually are the opposite.


Guide to Style Guides

March 30, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Students learn that in addition to effectively applying the rules of English grammar and usage in their writing, they often must also follow conventions of a particular style guide. Style guides are primarily differentiated by their rules on documentation of sources. They also vary in terms of their formatting requirements.


3 Tips for Using a Thesaurus

March 16, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

When used correctly, a thesaurus can help you punch up your writing by using just the right word when you want it. Here's three times a thesaurus can come to the rescue.


Cheat Sheet for In-Text Citations by Style

February 27, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Uncategorized

In today’s post, I’ll explore the intersection of punctuation and in-text citations and the troubles that can arise.


Using MS Word Lists: Bullets & Numbers

February 20, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

All writing tools or techniques should help you express yourself more clearly. Lists can be particularly useful for this, especially in dense academic writing. Presenting important information in discrete items, rather than a block of text, can alleviate visual clutter and even provide a key to structuring your piece.


How to Write Stock Characters: The Likeable Superman

February 16, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Headhopping: New Fiction Writers’ Mistakes

February 1, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

All too often, new fiction writers get excited by the different perspectives their characters have to offer and jump between them in a single scene. This is intensely disconcerting—whose head are we in now? What are they thinking? Why did we leave the other character?—and should be avoided.


World Building: How to Cut Down on Exposition

January 22, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Creating a world for your story, whether based on the real world or not, involves a series of challenges, especially when it comes to not smothering your reader in exposition. Here's a straight-forward approach to the dreaded "exposition dump."


Hanging Indents with MS Word Ruler

January 13, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

the first-line indent, by virtue of being so ubiquitous, seems quite intuitive and natural. But there’s another kind of indent, found almost exclusively in academic writing: the hanging indent.


Quick Guide to Pronouns and Antecedents

January 2, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Problems with pronouns and antecedents can significantly interfere with your readers’ understanding, so make sure each pronoun’s referent is crystal clear.


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