Five Common Student Writing Problems

September 30, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

In today’s post, I will focus on the needs of one of our large client groups: students. Specifically, I will  review some of the most common problems we proofreaders see in student papers.

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When and When Not to Use Em Dashes

September 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

The en dash is used mostly for number ranges (e.g., 1928–1972) and in some stylebooks to suggest a hierarchical or interactive relationship between two nouns (e.g., father–son relationship). Except when people use an en dash when they want to us an em dash, writers tend to use en dashes properly. It’s em dashes that get abused.

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Foreign Loan Words, Diacritics, and AutoCorrect

August 16, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

A given word may or may not then “read” to the English-trained eye as foreign, based on habit, familiarity, and longstanding usage. But language is a matter not only of the eye, but also of the ear. That’s where diacritics come in.

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Tips to Avoid Mixed Metaphors

July 20, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

Whether your first language is English or not, you must have mixed your metaphors a time or two. In conversation, it’s not a biggie. Everyone (unless they’re an editor with no social skills) pretends it didn’t matter, and life goes on. But in writing, these matter. They sit there and taunt the reader to notice something is wrong, and usually they succeed.

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Foreign Loan Words and Diacritical Marks

July 8, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

Foreign loan words are brought into English more or less intact, either in their original spelling (e.g., the German “schadenfreude,” the French “bistro”) or, if non-Western in origin, transliterated into the Latin alphabet (e.g., the Japanese “karaoke,” the Mandarin “kung fu”).

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Adopting New Words vs. Slang, Part 1

May 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

I know, as an editor, I’m not supposed to say this, but when it comes to a language’s health, imposing grammatical rules isn’t nearly as important as staying relevant.

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Quick Guide to Common Old-School Abbreviations

January 13, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

This quick guide to some of the most common, old-school, and occasionally forgotten abbreviations should help you stay on track.

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How to Capitalize Medicine

November 5, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

In today’s post, I will write about a related topic: capitalization of medication names. The rule is simple, and it’s essentially the same as the rule for capitalizing diseases and most other things.

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How to Capitalize Disease Names

October 5, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

If you’ve ever been confused about how to capitalize disease names, read on. In today’s post, I’ll provide you with three simple, hopefully easy-to-remember, rules on the proper capitalization of disease names.

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An Easy Guide to Articles: A, An, and The

September 10, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

There are three articles: “a,” “an,” and “the.” All of them function as adjectives.

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Simple Guide to Using “If” or “Whether”

September 2, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

The English language is full of words that seem to perform the same function but have true differences when you need to be specific. In technical, instructive, and other forms of business or formal writing, “if” and “whether” serve different functions.

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Commonly Confused Homophones

August 7, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

Ah, the double-edged sword of spell-check. That little red squiggle under misspelled words can be so helpful in drawing your attention to words in need of correction. But the absence of that little red squiggle can give a false sense of security, leading you to think your writing is spelling-error free when it might be filled with correctly-spelled incorrect words. One troublesome group of word is homophones.

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Bad Parallelism, Good Parallelism

July 14, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

“Parallelism” means the same parts of a sentence must be of the same type. But I’m not sure how helpful that is as a definition, so let’s take a slightly longer look through a few examples.

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Really Tricky Apostrophe Rules

January 9, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

In this post we cover the apostrophe rules that are, for lack of a better word, downright wacky. If you’re going to be an expert, you’ll have to memorize these individually.

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Tips for Using Singular “They”

January 1, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

As an editor, I am naturally sensitive to language matters, and I took this criticism seriously. I’ve made an effort to modernize my pronoun usage, and in today’s blog I’ll provide tips to avoid gender bias in your pronoun use.

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Apostrophes with Singular and Plural Nouns

December 30, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

Lets get into the complexities of apostrophes when dealing with singular and plural nouns.

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Conditional Verbs in Research Writing

November 29, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

In research writing, the difference between hypothetical and factual statements is critical; your choice of verb helps make the distinction. In today’s post, I’ll provide a review of the forms and use of modal auxiliary verbs and conditional statements and some basic tips to help you use them effectively in research writing.

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Why We Need Emojis

November 7, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

Even though the older generations love to dump on them and elites love to complain about them, emojis are a useful, necessary advancement in modern language.

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Is It One Word or Two Words?

August 23, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

As a living language, English is in a constant state of flux. This is quite clear when two words work their way into becoming one word. While there's no actual rule about this, there are some patterns.

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“I Wish I Were”: Explaining the Subjunctive

June 29, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

You may never have heard the term subjunctive case before, or don’t remember it from Spanish class if you have, but knowing this rule and following it will make your speech and writing much better with just a little effort.

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