Capitalizing and Punctuating for Effect
By Livvy Mullins

     How do you decide to punctuate your sentences? Are you often unsure about which words require capitalization? Stop worrying, and visit the Writing Lab. In the Lab, you'll learn that punctuation and capitalization serve specific purposes in your writing. Neither is used simply for effect or decoration. Consider the following sentences:

The President has aids.

The President has AIDS.

The era of the ERA is not over.

Hernandez sat on the stoop listening to his boom box above him a tenant of the building appeared at the window with a bucket of water.

Hernandez sat on the stoop listening to his boom box; above him, a tenant of the building appeared at the window with a bucket of water.

     Without the proper punctuation and capitalization, the meaning of these sentences is changed considerably.


How's Your Sentence Sense?

Can you correct this run-on?

That that is is that that is not is not is it not it is.

Call the Writing Lab
(474-2129) for the answer.


By Amy Woodland

     No doubt about it. The fewer the fragments, the better your paper. Fragments are not always easy to recognize. Students rarely having recognized their mistakes. Continue about their papers without noticing that a sentence is incomplete. Reading a paper plagued by fragments becomes difficult. Even for an instructor. Students, finish your thoughts! And while you're at it. Finish your sentences.
     There are six fragments in the passage above. Notice that the first two are intentional. Good, seasoned writers often use intentional fragments for rhetorical effect. For instance, intentional fragments are used in narratives and other kinds of writing to suggest a character's thoughts as in the passage above: No doubt about it. Other types of intentional fragments such as these below appear in writing to record conversation or a natural form of expression.

Bon voyage.

What a mess!

No smoking.

Out of sight, out of mind.

The more, the merrier.

So much for the history of the problem.

Now for some possible solutions.

The Writing Lab's paper reading service is available for all UWF students. Any major, any class.



A Preposition Is a Word You
Shouldn't End a Sentence With

By Mamie Webb Hixon, Writing Lab Director

     A preposition is a word you shouldn't end a sentence with. The warnings against ending a sentence with a preposition are aimed at superfluous prepositions like at in Where's the book at? or Where do you live at? not prepositions like these, some which are used idiomatically:

Where are you from?

He lives in a town I've never heard of.

Whom are you talking to?

At this retirement center, the patients are well cared for.

Sure, all could be reworded to remove the "postposed" preposition at the end of the sentence, but to what end? Meaning, and sometimes economy and clarity, could be lost.
     So is it wrong to end a sentence with a preposition? You decide _ should you risk clarity, meaning, and economy just to remove these terminal prepositions?

     We have asked registered voters whom they plan 
     to vote

     What was wrong with me? What was I afraid of?

     Most underachievers have talents and strengths 
     they're not aware

     I might change my mind if you ask me to.

     He thought he had nothing more to live for.

     All students had turned their papers in.

     I haven't decided what to major in.


Editing Your Own Papers
By Jason Glass

     Nothing undermines a writer's credibility more than careless errors. Even if your ideas are great, your professors may not see past your mistakes. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid grammatical and mechanical errors in your papers:

1. Give yourself enough time to edit your papers. Any 
    paper that you finish five minutes before it is due will 
    certainly be full of careless mistakes, and professors 
    can tell if you have procrastinated.

2. Read your papers aloud. Many errors which go 
    undetected while you read your paper silently become 
    obvious when you read it aloud. This suggestion might 
    seem boring, but you can add some zest to your oral 
    reading by practicing your British accent while reading 
    your papers.

3. Have a friend read your papers. Often, a fresh pair of 
    eyes will catch errors that yours do not.

4. After you write a paper and proofread it, allow your 
    writing to "simmer"
for at least two days; then read the 
    paper again. You may be surprised at how many 
    errors you find during the second or third reading.

5. For any specific grammar questions, call the Grammar 
    Hotline at 474-2129
. We can always help.


Go to page 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Index

Site design and contents UWF Writing Lab