Style Tips Fall08

Style Tips Fall08 - TIPS & REMINDERS FOR ALL WRITERS OR...

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TIPS & REMINDERS FOR ALL WRITERS OR PLEASE DON’T PUSH MY GRAMMAR BUTTONS You might have an excellent thesis and outstanding argumentation . . . but if the reader cannot get past your writing, she will not appreciate your brilliant insights! 1. Problems with agreement You may be tempted to use “they” as a gender-neutral term, but it’s grammatically incorrect. Use “he or she,” “s/he” or just plain “he” instead. No: If anyone knew about iconographic writing, they would not say that Precolumbian civilizations lacked a writing system. Yes: If anyone knew about iconographic writing, he would not say that Precolumbian civilizations lacked a writing system. 2. Passive verbs Active verbs are more interesting and just sound better. Identify who or what is doing the action. No: Similar words were used by Juan de Oñate and Christopher Columbus to describe the Indians. Yes: Juan de Oñate and Christopher Columbus used similar words to describe the Indians. 3. Ending with prepositions It sounds fine when you use it in speech, but constitutes bad grammar in essays. No: The Mexica had tremendous respect for nature, which they dedicated numerous gods to . Yes: The Mexica had tremendous respect for nature, to which they dedicated numerous gods. 4. Informal language Our lectures may sometimes feel relaxed, but your essay is where you showcase your scholarly voice. Do not use the second person; contractions; and “And” at the beginning of a sentence. No:
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Style Tips Fall08 - TIPS & REMINDERS FOR ALL WRITERS OR...

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