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Writing checklist: Communicating your ideas clearly

Two dozen ways to improve your writing (said a bit facetiously)

Southern Nazarene University emphasizes writing all across its curriculum. We've sometimes used the phrase “writing across the curriculum” to describe the commitment of the entire faculty to helping students become articulate writers. Following good grammar rules is important in that process.

Student papers in Howard Culbertson’s classes will be graded on writing technique and grammar as well as content. Before you turn in an assignment, go over it carefully. View each writing assignment as a chance to improve your ability to express yourself clearly and effectively.

Do you like irony? If so, here are two dozen tongue-in-cheek writing rules. Use this humorous checklist to eliminate writing problems.

  1. Don't use no double negatives.
  2. About them sentence fragments.
  3. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  4. Between you and I, case is important.
  5. Do not submit writing asssignments in email or cell phone text format - thx!
  6. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  7. Use your apostrophe's correctly. Omit the apostrophe when its not needed.
  8. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  9. Of course, if any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  11. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  12. Avoid clichés like the plague. They're old hat. So, go around the barn at high noon to avoid clichés and colloquialisms.
  13. Do not be redundant and keep repeating yourself; do not use more words than necessary; eliminate the superfluous in your writing.
  14. One should NEVER generalize.
  15. Be more or less specific.
  16. And avoid starting sentences with a conjunction.
  17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  18. Don't use commas, that are not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. So, take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  20. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  21. Be careful to use the write homonym.
  22. DO NOT use multiple exclamation points and all caps to EMPHASIZE a point!!!!!!!!
  23. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  24. Proofread your writing to see if you any words out.

In a more serious tone . . .

Essay evaluation checklist: Does your written assignment measure up?

A rubric for grading papers . . . and for improving them before handing them in

While this list was developed for use at the college level, it can also be useful for high school classes.

What are teachers looking for? Use this checklist to evaluate your writing before submitting it.


Organization and development

Grammar and technique

Here is a "money-back garauntee" for you: The conscientious use of this rubric as a checklist prior to turning in a written assignment will improve your grade.

     -- Howard Culbertson

Additional writing help

"The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver." -- Probers 25:11 (Common English Version)

Make your writing sparkle!

Click herePutting pizzazz in your writing. [ read more ]

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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149

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