the dash! March 1, 2012Posted by mlester in : Correctness, Editing, Uncategorized , comments closed
The dash was Emily Dickenson’s favorite punctuation. It is often confused with the hyphen, but but it is much more cool. It is used to set off material that deserves special emphasis. When typing, use two hypens to form a dash, with no space before or after.
So if you have a list to set off, a restatement, or an idea that you want to stand out in your writing, a dash can help you do that.
Example: Mary took a few steps back, came running full speed, kicked a mighty kick–and missed the ball.
Read Aloud for Better Proofreading July 2, 2008Posted by jhicks in : CORE, Correctness, Editing, Education Unit , comments closed
We’ve all come to that point in the essay-writing process when we finish our paper and proofread for errors. So the essay is finished, right? Unfortunately, by focusing on correcting typos, we may overlook other issues having to do with sentence structure. Even though your paper might appear to be grammatically sound, it might not have a nice flow to it due to problems with sentence structure.
The best advice I can give to fellow writers is to always, always read your essay out loud at least once before handing it in. This way you will hear your essay being read out loud. Even though you’ve read your essay to yourself in writing and proofreading it, hearing it spoken allows you to immediately notice disruptions of flow that result from sentence fragments, comma splices, sentences that are too long, sentences that are too short, choppy sentence structure, inadequate transitions between paragraphs, etc. You will find that reading your papers out loud will draw your attention to sentences (and potentially whole paragraphs) that need revising. By proofreading and making sure your paper has a good flow to it, your professors will be more interested in reading through your essay and might be inclined to give you a better grade for it.
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