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General Writing / Presentation Tips
General Writing Tips
Be careful with grammar, punctuation and spelling. The Internet is a very disrespectful place. There are many sites that will check your grammar and post it for all to see. It's always embarrassing when people make fun of you because of your mistakes.
If you are emailing someone, be sure to use correct capitalization, grammar, punctuation and spelling. This is especially important if the person you are writing to is your teacher. Even if he/she seems like they're not that concerned about your work, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid plagiarizing. Plagiarism is stealing other people's work or ideas and claiming them as your own. You can get in some major trouble for this so avoid it at all costs. If you do use someones else's information, make sure you put the information in quotation marks or cite the original source of the material. Also, don't forget to include the page number where you found this information.
When writing an article or research paper, give yourself plenty of time to think about your topic and plan your paper. Make sure that you understand the assignment before you start writing. As soon as you know what you're supposed to be talking about, pick out three or four main ideas that you want to cover in your paper. Don't forget to include a thesis statement at the beginning of your paper. That tells your reader what they can expect from reading your article or paper. Once you have your thesis statement written, it should be easy to fill in the rest of your paper by following your outline. Remember, though, not all papers have an outline. Some are just paragraphs that flow into each other, but the important things to remember are always having a thesis statement and having a good introduction and conclusion. The introduction should tell your reader what they're going to learn about in the paper while the conclusion should let them know how what they've learned relates to the world around them.
If you are using something from an outside source, whether it's a book, magazine or website, always try to cite your sources. If you are using something from a book or magazine, write down the author's last name and page number where you found the information. If you are using a website, write down the address of the site and put it into quotes or parenthesis. For example, "The information I used on this website was found at www.websiteaddress" or "The information I used was found on www.websiteaddress." Citing your sources is very important because it gives credit to the original authors of the material you are using and also helps you avoid accidentally plagiarizing their work. When citing your sources, please include the COMPLETE source including the author's last name, title of source, year published, publisher (if appropriate), page numbers where you found the information AND the entire URL if it is internet based (eg. http://www.websiteaddress).
Writing Tips for Specific Situations
Writing an Essay Using MLA Formatting
MLA style formatting means that you need to write out shortened titles in full in your text (i.e., write out The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn instead of Huck Finn.) This is different from APA style which tells you only to use italics for titles. MLA style also requires that you indent all paragraphs so that they are indented 0.5 inches from the left side of the page. This allows readers to easily distinguish between different paragraphs in your writing so that they can find important information quickly. It also makes your writing look much neater and easier to read. To keep track of where each paragraph starts, use numbers or letters at the beginning of each one so that people can easily refer back to specific parts of your writing later on in their discussion of what they've read. The easiest way to do this is to use superscript letters (like this) at the beginning of each paragraph like this:
You should also make sure that you cross-reference any direct quotes that you use in your paper by putting them in quotation marks and making sure to include page numbers where you found them in parentheses like this: (Kvamme 3). This tells readers exactly where they can go if they would like to see the original work themselves instead of relying on your interpretation of it. It also helps prevent plagiarism since anyone can easily check up on where exactly you got your information if they would like to know more about it than what you presented in your paper.