Category: Writing Guides

Why Adverbs Can Be Bad

June 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Problems with Jargon and More When Writing for General Audiences

May 28, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Writing on a specialized topic for nonspecialists can be a challenge for writers of all ages, and writers often face the task of writing to an audience outside their field. In today’s post I’ll offer some tips to help you write clearly and usefully for a broader audience even if your topic is very narrow.

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Common Errors When Using Names

April 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

For readability and clarity and out of respect for those referred to, it is important to be aware of how to use names grammatically and in accordance with proper style and social norms. In today’s post, I will review some common errors in using names and how to correct them.

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Guide to Transitions: Sentences

April 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Last time, we talked about transitioning from topic to topic, which means from paragraph to paragraph. This time, let’s talk about the “micro-transitions” that occur inside the paragraph, sometimes from sentence to sentence and sometimes inside sentences.

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Quick Guide to Transitions: Paragraphs

March 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Transitions are essential to making sense in a proposition or argument, so it’s little wonder that writers tend to get wordy with them. Transitions hold the entire proposal together, keeping your essay/report/letter/memo/dissertation from just sounding like a lot of unrelated ideas.

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Are You a Better Writer than a Fifth Grader?

December 3, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

After freelance proofreading, editing, and writing and doing small-group literacy and math intervention for the past nine years, I find teaching ten-year-olds reading and writing this year a fascinating, eye-opening, and challenging experience. Reflecting on lessons I’ve learned teaching kids to write this fall, I realized that what my students struggle with is what writers of all ages struggle with, just at a different level.

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“Was Done by the Researcher” Must Die

October 23, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Tips to Help Children Write Better

August 29, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

With school having started already some places and about to start in others, many parents and caregivers are faced with the challenge of needing to be more actively involved in their children’s education than ever.

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Implicit Racism in Writing

July 1, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Implicit racism is woven into the fabric of American society. It plays a part in everything, including writing. Writers may try to be inclusive and unbiased, but it can be hard to weed out bias without taking time to deeply examine language’s and culture’s meanings, bias, and oneself.

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5 Reasons Assembly Instructions Fall Apart

March 31, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

If you find yourself in the unlucky position of writing a manual or set of instructions for how to assemble something from a bunch of other things, the following should help you understand and overcome your challenges in telling people what to do step by step.

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Write an Effective Blog Post

March 26, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

No matter your motivation for blogging, you’ll want to make sure each post is high quality to keep your readers coming back. In today’s post, I’ll describe tips to make your blog more effective.

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Hearing the Music: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Writing (Again)

February 27, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

There’s no rule saying that academic articles can’t be written in muscular prose, no law that business writing can’t have a sense of forward momentum and the occasional memorable line.

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Poetry Tools to Enhance Your Prose: Still More Figures of Speech (Anaphora, Merism, Antonomasia)

February 4, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

The kinds of figurative language described in this installment are not appropriate for most academic writing, where panache must occasionally be sacrificed for the sake of clarity. For less rigorous types of informational writing, such as business communications or informal reports, they represent ways to add color and spice to your message.

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How to Make Your Writing More Inclusive

January 20, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

You should shun discriminatory language as you should shun discrimination; doing so also allows your message to reach the broadest audience and lends credibility to your words.

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Poetry Tools to Enhance Your Prose: Analogy, Part 2 (Metonymy and Synecdoche)

January 2, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

This time, let’s go way out there and look at a pair of related poetic devices that seem, at first glance, hopelessly roundabout and exotic: metonymy and synecdoche.

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Poetry Tools to Enhance Your Prose: Analogy, Part 1 (Simile and Metaphor)

December 7, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

The guidebooks’ prohibition on colorful language is really just a plea for clarity. Used sparingly, in commonly understood expressions or for illustrative purposes, simile and metaphor can make your prose more understandable and memorable.

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AP Style Quick Guide

October 31, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Uncategorized, Writing Guides

In today’s post I’ll discuss some AP basics and differences from other style guides you’ll need to know to use this style effectively.

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Poetry Tools to Enhance Your Prose: Varieties of Rhyme

October 24, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Rhyme can be understated, and it comes in more flavors than you might think. Repeated sounds are the key to crafting phrases that are catchy without seeming contrived. Let’s explore.

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One or Two: The Case Remains the Same

October 1, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Adding in a second (or third or eighth) subject or object or modifier doesn’t change the case of the subject or object.

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Poetry Tools to Enhance Your Prose: Rhythm

September 25, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

The glorious and intimidating thing about the English language is its bounty of options. Whatever we want to say, there are multiple ways to say it. It is our choices that render our language straightforward or confusing, memorable or boring, elegant or awkward.

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