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  • drdianehamilton 2:45 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Grammar: When It Just Does Not Sound Correct 


    My job has taught me that a lot of people struggle with grammar and spelling. My first sentence brought to mind one of the most common spelling errors. Many of my students type “a lot” as one word, which is incorrect. There is no such word as “alot”. If spelling is not hard enough, grammar is just as tricky because some things that are correct, do not sound correct. I know I tend to say things incorrectly just to sound like everyone else. For example, people might look at you funny if you correctly stated, “that is she” instead of incorrectly stated “that is her”.

    Here are some of the most common mistakes I run into when grading papers:

    • It is not correct to state: in regards; it should be: in regard
    • It is not correct to state: between you and I; it should be: between you and me
    • It is not correct to state: me and Bob went; it should be: Bob and I went
    • It is not correct to state: please contact myself; it should be: please contact me
    • It is not correct to state: it has been a good year for Bob and I; it should be: it has been a good year for Bob and me.

    We are all guilty of making grammatically incorrect statements. I often find things that I have written where I have made mistakes. One mistake I recently noticed was that I incorrectly referred to CEO as an acronym. That is incorrect. It is an abbreviation. It is only an acronym if the letters may be used as a word as in the example of RADAR.

    I was always taught never to end sentences with a preposition. I have seen several debates regarding rules like this one. Some incorrectly written things become so common that they change the rules.

    With all of the confusion, where can you find help with grammar? Even the most educated people make mistakes. I believe a good editor can help. I am a fan of Edit911.com. I am also a big fan of the Grammar Girl website. Another website that may be particularly helpful is Grammarly. There are also some wonderful books, which include:

    The Bugaboo Review: A Lighthearted Guide to Exterminating Confusion about Words, Spelling and Grammar by Sue Sommer.
    Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English by James Cochrane.
    Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

    Related Articles:
    Have Some Fun with Some Common Grammar Mistakes
    Euphemisms, Metaphors, Clichés, Oxymorons, and More
    What is a Backronym or a Bacronym?
    Anthropomorphisms: When Not to Use Them
    Top 100 Vocabulary Words Adult Should Know
    APA and Writing Help Page

    • garrymaurice 3:05 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting read. I’ve just started to study language more seriously so I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Michelle Kenny 3:18 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Diane, How right you are. A friend’s friend has also written a series on grammar. Easygrammar.com

      Thank you, Michelle

  • drdianehamilton 11:44 am on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    APA Style: Five Essential Tips for APA Style Headings 

    For more information, click on the link above.
    • Toni Rothpletz 4:51 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for posting this! Very helpful now that I am taking my MBA classes; they require APA style.

    • drdianehamilton 5:38 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome Toni. This is for 6th edition. Be sure you check to see if the school requires 5th or 6th.

    • Tatiana Ochoa 3:11 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Hamilton,
      Thank yo so much for your website on the APA 6th edition tutorial. It is very helpful since I am a visual learner I can understand it very well.

  • drdianehamilton 12:18 pm on August 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Citing Long Quotations in APA 6th Edition 

    Are you frustrated by recent changes to the APA guidelines?  Remember that if you have a long direct quote, it is cited differently.

    Place direct quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented five spaces from the left margin. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation five spaces from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

    To see how this will look, go to the owl.english.purdue site by clicking here.

  • drdianehamilton 11:55 am on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Sample APA Paper 6th Edition 

    I often have students ask me for examples of how to write in APA format.  With the recent changes in the 6th edition of APA, it can be even more confusing.  I think the following link has a good example of what an APA paper should look like:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20090212013008_560.pdf

  • drdianehamilton 10:43 pm on July 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adding 2 Spaces After Periods in APA 6th Edition 

    • Falcorian 8:30 pm on September 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I had been taught from a young age that the proper format was two spaces after punctuation, but in 2001, entering my first year in college, I was told that the standard had changed to a single space. While it was never explained why, I assumed it was due to emergent messaging technologies and bandwidth requirements (one less space per punctuation in a large document could account for quite a bit of data). I’m curious as to why they felt the need to change back.

      • drdianehamilton 9:13 pm on September 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I was also taught to have 2 spaces when I first learned to type. The Owl lists the reason for 2 spaces as aiding in readibility. 🙂

    • Virginia 2:57 pm on April 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Using two spaces after a period was a holdover from the days of typewriter text, when most standard fonts were monspaced. If all the letters are the same width, then having extra space between sentences enhances readability. With today’s proportionally spaced fonts, however, such spacing can actually detract from the typeset, so it is no longer appropriate to use more than one space at the end of a sentence. While schoolteachers trained on typewriters may continue to teach the old standard, most modern style guides do reflect this change. In regards to data storage and bandwidth, the effect of an extra space after each period in a text document, even a lengthy one, is so negligible as to be completely irrelevant and should not be a concern to writers.

      • drdianehamilton 3:10 pm on April 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I hate to admit that I remember the typewriter spacing. APA 6th edition now requires that students include that second space. My doctoral students have had to get used to this. If they submit with one space, schools will require that they change it for dissertation approval. I am old school so I like the two spaces. I had a hard time adjusting to the one space. Just when we get comfortable with the two spaces though, they will probably change it back. 😉

    • Paul S 9:06 pm on May 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Your find/replace suggestion is not the best idea — it would replace every instance of something like U. S. with U. S. — and in APA, abbreviations like that are not uncommon… I can only imagine that many of those 2100 changes were not intended.

      • drdianehamilton 4:59 am on May 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Paul,
        You make an excellent point. I have explained to my students, that it will change all spacing after periods. It may be easier to fix a few things that it should not have changed though, instead having to fix every single sentence.

  • drdianehamilton 5:02 pm on June 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , documents, , , , paragraphs, spacing, , , Word document   

    Removing Extra Spaces Between Paragraphs 

    I often have students ask me how to remove that annoying extra space between paragraphs in their documents. Check out this video to find out some quick tips on setting up your papers in Word.

    • Wessam 4:44 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I have 2 inquiries about the Originality report generated by Turnitin:
      1. If the student submitted his paper and found a high score, then he resubmit it after making small changes, and found the same high score or even more. what is the solution for this case? is it relating to writing skills?

      • drdianehamilton 6:09 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Wessam,

        There are a lot of factors that may affect your results. I think this link may be helpful in explaining the report: http://www.essex.ac.uk/plagiarism/turnitin.html
        It is possible the instructor did not create a revised submission capability for that paper and that could cause issues. I would show your report to your instructor and ask for their input.

    • Wessam 6:56 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Dr. Diane. This is a general question, I just need your experiences in cases like that what are your solutions?

      • drdianehamilton 9:10 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I think you need to know whether the faculty set up the revision assignment correctly because if they didn’t it may be comparing your paper as if it is plagiarized from your own work. As professors, we can set up revision submissions that account for initial submissions of the paper. You might need to contact your technical support at your school or the professor if it isn’t working correctly.

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