Punctuate Your Point, Correctly: How to Punctuate Dialogue

Posted by Alison on 7/27/16 9:30 AM

They may seem small, but punctuation marks can make all the difference in how we read and understand the English language. The title of what has become an iconic little book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, exemplifies the level of ambiguity that can result from the presence or absence of a comma. This chapter focuses on several oft-mistaken categories of punctuation marks – the comma, the semi-colon, the apostrophe, quotation marks – and how, when, and where to use them properly.

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Tags: expository writing, English

You Could Care Less About Grammar, But Maybe You Could Care More?

Posted by Allison S. on 6/13/16 9:30 AM


"I could care less where we go to dinner."

"It was really unique."

"Between you and I, that movie wasn't very good."

To many, there is nothing unusual about the statements above. Indeed, most of us use some variation of them frequently. But to a grammarian or someone with a depth of knowledge about the rules of English, these utterances can be cringe inducing. They sound good, but they are grammatically or semantically incorrect.

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Tags: English, expository writing

Did I Read The Same Text Everyone Else Did?!

Posted by Pat C. on 6/8/16 9:30 AM

This has happened to all of us in high school, in college, even in graduate school. You did the reading but then the questions the instructor asks don’t make sense to you or you can’t answer questions about details she seems to think you should know.

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Tags: English, expository writing

5 Habits for Improving (and Maintaining) Reading and Writing Skills

Posted by MG on 5/31/16 9:30 AM

The first few months after my college graduation, I began my 9-5 job and was disappointed by how much less time I had to read.  After majoring in English and becoming accustomed to finishing multiple novels a week during the semester, I wished that I could dedicate more time to that hobby.  Furthermore, after a few months of working 40-hour weeks, I fell out of my writing groove, and it became difficult to draft anything more creative than a work email with the same alacrity I once possessed.  Noticing that my reading and writing skills had begun to rust, I attempted to find ways to reclaim my affinity for language.  Below are five recommendations for doing so; whether you are in high school, college, graduate school, or the working world, hopefully, these tips will help hone and maintain your verbal skills. 

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing

The Best Ways to Prepare for an Essay Exam

Posted by Danielle D. on 5/20/16 9:00 AM

College students are often intimidated by essay exams, a common final exam format for courses in the humanities and social sciences. Because the exam itself provides so little structure for your answers, it can feel impossible to get all of your thoughts on paper in an organized way without running out of time. As someone who has graded a lot of college students’ exams, I’ve realized that students most often lose points because they don’t realize that an exam essay is a specific genre of writing that you can practice in advance, even if you don’t know the exact questions you’ll be answering. By developing a strategy for success in writing exam essays, you’ll be able to make sure that the material you worked hard all semester to learn shows up in your answers on the day of the test.

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Tags: study skills, English, expository writing

How to Close Read a Passage of Text

Posted by Martha C. on 4/29/16 9:30 AM

Close_Reading.jpg

Whether you are an incoming freshman in your first expository writing class, studying for the SAT, or simply a lover of literature, close reading a passage of text is one of the most essential skills a critical reader can master.  Close reading requires us to read beyond the immediate or superficial meaning of the text by forcing us to interpret the choices an author makes within their craft.

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Tags: expository writing

Four types of questions and when to ask them

Posted by Cypress Marss on 1/13/16 4:10 PM


source: Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat

When a toddler asks why to an infinite regress, their line of questioning inevitably becomes annoying. The reason is not that their questions individually are inherently uninteresting—or if answered seriously will not illicit fascinating information—but rather that the line of questioning that that toddler embarks on is without end.

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Tags: English, expository writing, college, high school

It's Not What You Say But The Way That You Say It: Tips For Developing Voice

Posted by Cypress Marss on 11/25/15 8:30 AM

Have you ever accidently texted the wrong person? Sent a text meant for your best friend to your dad or to your boss? I have; it’s horrifying. Horrifying because I was being a person that this other person didn’t know.

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Tags: expository writing

Proofread Using the Top Five Most Useful Techniques

Posted by Cypress Marss on 10/5/15 10:00 AM

Ouch! Follow the rules below and you're sure not to end up in the same position.

Proofreading is a drag—after having come up with a thesis, found evidence to support that thesis, and structured the essay to best support your ideas, you have to find and fix all of the mistakes you made along the way. I also find proofreading stressful; I worry that small mistakes will undermine all my hard work. Luckily, over time I’ve developed a series of techniques, which help me proofread;  I’ve collected here five of what I believe to be the most useful proofreading techniques, all of which are great used alone, or in combination.

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Tags: expository writing

How to Write and Edit a College Paper: A Roadmap

Posted by Emily Leven on 6/17/15 11:47 AM

Step 1: Write your paper. Step 2: Graduate. Step 3: Roadtrip across Australia. [image source]

Why is college-level writing so hard?

Making the switch to college-level writing is tough, and doesn’t happen overnight. Papers in college are often long (although the short ones with strict word limits can be tricky, too!). The subject matter is complicated and requires a good deal of analysis.

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Tags: expository writing