The ABC’s of Writing
by Writing Lab Assistants

A        Allow plenty of time for revision.

B        Be firm in your convictions! Take a stand, and stick to it.  A thesis statement should uncompromisingly assert your opinion.  However, make sure you back it up with supporting FACTS.

C        Care about your topic.

D        Designate time for editing and revision.

E         Examine every element for accuracy and clarity.

F         Find credible sources.  Though a site might not advertise itself as “Joe Bob’s Homepage,” you should be able to judge its credibility by carefully examining the page for editors and academic sponsors.

G       Grade your paper from your instructor’s perspective; consider what things he or she would count off for.

H        Have the writing assignment nearby, and follow it explicitly.

I          Identify your thesis and topic sentences.  Arrange them in order to make sure that your argument is complete.

J          “Jiggy wid it”: avoid slang expressions like this in a formal essay.

K        Keep a dictionary with you when you write.

L         Let your passions guide you when selecting a paper topic.

M      Make a paper reading appointment.

N       Never write comma splices or run-on sentences.

O       Omit the obvious.

P        Punctuate correctly.

Q       Quit using non-words such as alot, alright, its’, theirs, hisseslf, her’s, and irregardless.

R        Read your paper, but don’t focus on counting the words.

S         Seek advice if you are unsure of the grammar, the content, r the format of your paper.

T         Take time to read your paper before you turn it in.

U       Underline the title of novels, books, movies, and newspapers.  Use quotation marks for the titles of poems, short stories, articles, and songs.

V        Vary your sentence construction to avoid repetition.

W      When in doubt, call the Grammar Hotline.

X        Xerox your paper so that you and your instructor will have copies.

Y         “Yell” your informed opinion by stating it argumentatively in your thesis.

Z         Zealously brainstorm as many ideas as you can before you begin to write your paper.

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