Category: Writing Guides

Top 4 Misspelled Words

March 31, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

I’m interested in writing about these four words in one post because, apart from being misspelled all the time, they seem to have nothing in common.


The “Misunderstood” Scare Quotes

March 28, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Scare quotes should rarely be used. For one thing, they frequently send the message that the writer couldn’t be bothered to state things clearly.


Comparison and Contrast: Commonly Confused Words

March 18, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Expressions of comparison and contrast are a vital part of language. It’s useful to be able to set things side by side and describe how they stack up in terms of size, number, or degree.


How to Avoid Fragments

February 9, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

A sentence is a complete thought, almost always with a subject and a verb. At its most basic, a sentence has a thing doing something or having something done to it. In a fragment, at least one of these elements is missing, and so the fragment can’t stand on its own as a complete thought.


5 Times to Write Good Transitions

February 2, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

There are many transition words and phrases out there. I’ll highlight some of the most common ones by the situation in which they may be used.


Strunk & White Still Good Advice

August 12, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Proper Geographical Abbreviations

August 5, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


5 Obsolete Grammar Rules

August 5, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Hyphens in Numbers, Prefixes, and Modifiers

July 20, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

In today’s post, I look at some specific grammatical constructions and how hyphens are used in them.


Guide to Using Hyphens in Compound Words

July 7, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools, Writing Guides

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”?


How Many Spaces After a Period?

July 1, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Research Tips for Better Writing

May 26, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Does Good Grammar Really Matter?

April 4, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Avoiding Comma Errors Part II

March 26, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

More advice, explanations, and examples about those pesky commas errors and how to avoid them.


Common Idiom Use Errors

February 5, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


5 Tips for Better Writing Habits

February 3, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


Write Clearly with the Right Words

January 7, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Editors and writers find some words particularly challenging, changing them over and over again to make language more precise.


How to Write an A Paper

December 26, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Essays, Writing Guides

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.


Differences in a Paraphrase, Summary, and Précis

November 30, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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.


US vs. UK English Grammar

October 29, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

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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