Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Everyone needs to take at least a couple English classes in order to graduate. You also will be writing papers for various classes. I've got several ideas to share with you to increase your writing skills and improve your grades. I will add weekly to these ideas to help you improve your writing skills.

Most of the papers that you will write in college will involve getting information from other sources and rewriting it in your own words. All your teachers will give you speeches on plagerism. Please do not copy large passages without giving credit to the author. However, get as many sources on your topic as possible, read what your sources have to say and then put it in your own words. Or, make sure you properly credit the source.

English professors do not like when you use trite and overused sayings in your papers. Also avoid using statements like, "Let me tell you . . ." or "I want to say . . ." As my professor use to say, "Just say it, don't tell me you are going to say it."

Know the difference between:

  • "to", "two", and "too"
  • "there", "they're", and "their"
  • "its" and it's"

Proofread your papers thoroughly before handing them in. And if you can't do a good job proofreading your own paper, ask someone to proof it for you and you can proof theirs. Many colleges have help for this, you drop by and a knowledgable student will review your paper. As hard as it can be to hear someone critique your work after you slaved over it for hours, listen to what they say, get your punctuation and spelling cleaned up. One tip I learned about proofreading your own work is to isolate each sentence and begin from the end of your paper reading each sentence. This will force you to view each word on its own instead of skipping over and missing a potential misspelling or punctuation error.

Make your opening and closing paragraphs as strong and interesting as possible. This is where you either grab your audience (the professor) or lose them. Your middle paragraphs can be boring but you better have an interesting start and finish. Always give your paper a catchy title. Professors love that and it will pique their interest in your paper.

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