Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

What vs. Which: which one should you use and when?

Not always sure which one to use when writing your APA papers?

What is typically used when there are an unknown number of choices.

Example: What are we going to do today? We have so many choices.

Which is typically used when there are a known number of choices. A good example is the title of this blog!
Another example: which flavor of ice cream do you want?

Better yet, which APA template should you buy…. why Reference Point Software, of course.

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

Should the word “states” be capitalized?

Should the word ΓÇ£stateΓÇ¥ or ΓÇ£statesΓÇ¥ be capitalized when referring to the United States or the 50 states that make up the U.S.?

  • If you are referring to the U.S. you should capitalize as in this sentence: ΓÇ£IΓÇÖll be returning to the States next week.ΓÇ¥
  • Otherwise, use lower case as in: ΓÇ£Each state has its own governor.ΓÇ¥

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

Prioritize tasks to keep up with school work

Students are busy and frequently have to manage multiple priorities. When you move into the workplace priority management is an essential skill, so learning to prioritize as a student will benefit you, not only now, but in the future as well. If you are an adult student then priority management is absolutely essential.

Determining what is important

In order to prioritize you have to determine what is important; but how do you measure importance? Hai Nguyen (http://www.appfluence.com/productivity/priority/) suggest the following metrics by which priorities can be compared.

  • Benefits: how much benefit is obtained from accomplishing a task
  • Harm: how much harm would be caused by not accomplishing a task
  • Effort: how much reward can be obtained from doing a low effort task vs. a high effort task.

In school, typically you have to focus on harm: how much would not accomplishing a task harm your grade. In a work environment, things are not always as clear cut and some tasks can be delayed or put on hold if the effort outweighs the benefit.

Even in school, you typically have priorities that canΓÇÖt just be measured by the harm metric. Stephen Covey suggested creating a quadrant to group tasks to help you prioritize. Throw your tasks into this grid to help organize your tasks from a priority perspective.

Time management grid

Task grid

And remember, anything that saves you time can help you manage tasks. Reference Point Software can save you a lot of time formatting your academic papers and potentially leave you more time to accomplish your tasks.

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

Publically vs. publicly

I was just writing a letter in Microsoft Word and happily noted that I had made no spelling errors. I then pasted said letter into an email and was surprised to see that I had made a spelling error in my spelling of the word ΓÇ£publically.ΓÇ¥ Wait, I said to myself, Word says that is spelled correctly and my email provider says that is it not! Who is correct?

If you do a quick search of publically vs. publicly you will find that both are correct. IsnΓÇÖt English fun?

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

How to Paraphrase and Use the Correct Citation Styles to Avoid Plagiarism

While youΓÇÖre at college, you will be required to write numerous essays to demonstrate your understanding of a subject and your ability to conduct effective research. A large proportion of your research will be done by examining and disseminating other peopleΓÇÖs work to provide information that supports your thesis.

You may wish to paraphrase some of your findings or give a direct quote that supports your ideas. While it is never a good idea to borrow other peopleΓÇÖs work without giving credit where it is due, in academia, it is the ultimate sin. Using other peopleΓÇÖs work without giving proper credit can not only result in your work losing credibility but can also lead to other, more severe consequences. This article describes how to paraphrase your source material by re-shaping other peopleΓÇÖs ideas in your essays, and how to give credit to the author correctly should you want to borrow passages of their work.

How to Paraphrase without Plagiarism

The art of good paraphrasing is accomplished by knowing what to take from a passage and what to leave out. Your aim is to convey the information without copying the structure or word sequences. To do this, read the work over to get the full sense of it. Then, make a list of the essential ideas and their connections to the points you are making. Note any important keywords. Add to this list any important names used in the passage and their relevance. Make notes of any impressions and thoughts as they arise. Then write a passage using the information and your notes without referring to the original work.

When you have done this, read it through and compare it with your source material. It should clearly convey the sense of what you have sourced without looking like you have simply moved a few words or phrases around.

Example:

We will use a passage from another of our articles, ΓÇ£A vs. An before an abbreviation,ΓÇ¥ as an example of paraphrasing. The original passage reads:

ΓÇ£We all learned that you use an ΓÇ£aΓÇ¥ before words that start with consonants and ΓÇ£anΓÇ¥ before words that start with vowels. But what about abbreviations? Should you use an ΓÇ£aΓÇ¥ or an ΓÇ£anΓÇ¥ before abbreviations?ΓÇ¥

“The accepted rule is to use the choice that matches how the abbreviation is pronounced rather than how it is spelled. For example, HIV begins with a consonant but is pronounced āch-ˌī-ˈvē. In other words, HIV is pronounced as starting with a long “a,” which is a vowel; therefore, it should be proceeded by “an.” The following sentence illustrates the correct usage: An HIV positive patient was transferred to the nursing unit.”

Edited version:

At school, we were taught the rules about using ΓÇÿaΓÇÖ and ΓÇÿanΓÇÖ before vowels, consonants, the silent ΓÇÿhΓÇÖ, phonetic glides, and when a consonant sounds like a vowel. However, many people struggle when it comes to using these indefinite articles correctly before abbreviations.

The rules for abbreviations are based on their phonetics and, therefore, they have their own logic. For example, HIV is pronounced ─üch – ─½ – v─ô, so the correct usage would look like this:

An HIV test is recommended for all pregnant women to determine if medication is required to prevent the spread of the virus to the unborn child.

Using the Correct Citation Styles

At some point during your essay, it may be appropriate to quote directly from your research materials as an additional way to strengthen your argument. If you are going to use a direct quote from someone elseΓÇÖs work, then you must document your sources carefully so you can correctly cite your references. The most commonly used methods of citations are MLA and APA formatting. These use in-text citations, placed in the same sentences or paragraphs with the quotes.

It is very important to ensure that you use the most up to date methods of MLA and APA formatting styles as these are revised from time to time. You can either format your citations manually, or you may prefer to use MLA and APA APA formatting software which will save you significant time and ensure that you are using the correct version. With a couple of clicks of your mouse, your citation formatting will be done for you, leaving you more time to spend compiling your research and writing your essay.

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

2 Tips to Help You with Writing an Essay in College

When youΓÇÖre writing an essay, itΓÇÖs essential to be able to express yourself clearly and present your points in a way that fully engages your audience. This article discusses two primary ways to make your essays more interesting to your audience using sentence length variety and visual-textual devices.

1. Sentence Length Variety

Sentence length has a subtle but strong effect on your readers. If your writing tends to have sentences all the same length, it can make your writing look monotonous, and your readers feel unable or disinclined to engage with your work fully. If you write sentences that are too short, it will make your work sound childish and boring. Here is a simplistic example to prove a point:

Jane went to school. She rode her bike there. She had class. She had lunch at noon. She came home at 6:00 PM. In the evening she took her dog for its walk.

An edit to make this series of sentences flow better could be:

Jane rode her bike to school. She had class before going to lunch at noon. She cycled home at 6:00 PM so as to be home in time to take her dog for its evening walk.

As you can see, the edit took the information from sentences of nearly identical length and varied them, which immediately looked more interesting to the eye and made for a more natural flow of ideas.

Conversely, to demonstrate the point about longer sentences, if you write sentences that are too long, they can become complicated for the reader, who may either lose the sense of what you mean or lose the will to read your work altogether, as you may well see from this sentence.

This lengthy sentence is cumbersome and tiring to read. A better way of writing that long sentence would be:

Conversely, if you write sentences that are too long, they become complicated for the reader. Lengthy sentences make it more difficult for the reader to digest your points. Additionally, they may lose the will to read your work altogether.

People make a commitment subconsciously to read material based upon a quick glance. The structure of your writing needs to be visually inviting. When youΓÇÖre writing an essay, varying the length of your sentences will make things look more appealing to the eye and create more impact. Short sentences can strengthen a point among longer ones. Longer sentences can be used to offer additional details and present a more powerful description. If you are in any doubt about your sentence lengths, itΓÇÖs always a good idea to read your work aloud to yourself and get a sense of the rhythm of how it sounds.

2. Visual-Textual Emphasis Styles

Nowadays, computers allow student writers to visually emphasize words in everyday writing by utilizing a variety of means including capitals and bold fonts which may or may not be acceptable in writing an essay in college. The older, more established styles of visual emphasis that are acceptable in academic writing are underlining and italics.

You can incorporate underlining for subheadings and sparingly for emphasis where necessary. You can include wording in italics in essays to provide emphasis on certain words when necessary and for citing the titles of longer works using MLA style formatting.

Ultimately, if you have concerns about ensuring that you meet all of the guidelines for APA or MLA style formatting, you can utilize formatting products that will be of immense help, saving you time and points on your papers.

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

For more information about MLA or APA writing templates, contact us by email

A vs. An before an abbreviation

We all learned that you use an “a” before words that start with consonants and “an” before words that begin with vowels.

But what about abbreviations? Should you use an “a” or an “an” before abbreviations?

The accepted rule is to use the choice that matches how the abbreviation is pronounced rather than how it is spelled. For example, HIV begins with a consonant but is pronounced ─üch-╦î─½-╦êv─ô. In other words, HIV is pronounced as starting with a long “a,” which is a vowel; therefore, it should be proceeded by “an.” The following sentence illustrates the correct usage:

An HIV positive patient was transferred to the nursing unit.

Here is an example of an abbreviation that begins with a consonant and is pronounced as a consonant; therefore, it is preceded by “a”:

A BID order for the drug was written last evening.

For more information about MLA or APA style writing software, contact us online here.