A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley

Founder
WritingCommons.org

Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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As a citizen and a scholar, I use rhetorical analysis to sort out questions about politics and relationships. In everyday life, rhetorical analysis is a valuable tool for understanding and preparing to engage in the world.

I hadn’t thought much about the word “help” until the summer day I strolled along the beach with my boyfriend. A young man on the boardwalk struggled with something—tying a kite maybe? collapsing a stroller?

For many novice academic writers, the decision of whether to use first-person or third-person voice is determined by several factors. First and third-person refers to the point of view the author adopts, where first-person uses the singular and plural pronouns “I,” “we,” “me,” and “us,” as in “I argue that,” and third-person uses “she,” “he,” “it,” or “they.” Often times, academic writers will identify the subject in the third-person, as in “Stone argues that,” or “The researchers suggest.”

Many beginning screenwriters (or even experienced ones, for that matter) have made the mistake of inserting camera instructions in their scripts. At various points, they have included directions to ZOOM IN, ZOOM OUT, ANGLE ON, PAN TO, TRACK, EXTREME CLOSE UP, or TILT, or have even tried to dictate where the camera should be placed. Though there might be some exceptions, directors generally despise this. In fact Ken Russell, in his book Directing Film: From Pitch to Premiere, discusses how he uses his “five-page test”

Parentheses (also called brackets in British English) are a punctuation mark used to contain text that is not part of the main sentence, but that is too important to either leave out entirely or to put in a footnote or an endnote. Since there are many reasons to use parentheses, be sure that the function of parentheses is always made clear to your readers.

In January 2012, I sat in a second-floor classroom that rounded into a castle-like turret: Graves Hall at Hope College. It was my first creative writing class. Outside, snow was falling and inside my peers and I leaned forward in our rolly chairs. Dr. Heather Sellers stood in front of the whiteboard. She put her hands together in a bowl. She extended her arms toward my peers and me. “You’ve got to offer your readers your best whiskey.”

Along with sound and witty advice about how to write well in the workplace, the Third Edition of Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t busts a few myths about social media . . .

MYTH: Social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) have contributed to the erosion of writing skills today—in schools and in the workplace.

The rules for quoting drama and/or poetry in Modern Language Association (MLA) Style differ from those for quoting the genre of prose. This article discusses rules for using MLA style to format quotes from drama and poetry. Consult the MLA Handbook to learn more.

Quoting Poetry

The MLA Handbook offers specific guidelines for quoting poetry.

Quotations are effective in academic writing when used carefully and selectively. Although misquoting or quoting too much can confuse or overwhelm your audience, quoting relevant and unique words, phrases, sentences, lines, or passages can help you achieve your purpose.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides guidelines/rules for quoting:

  • Prose.
  • Poetry.

After you understand what plagiarism is, as well as how to avoid it, consider using a plagiarism checklist as you draft and edit your work. The following checklist is ideal for use during the drafting and revising stages of the writing process.

Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism

1. ❟ Apply a note-taking system in your pre-writing process.

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham

Editor-in-Chief
WritingCommons.org

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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