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Formal Writing Quality Guide for Editors and Writers, Second Edition

Updated on July 18, 2019

Guiding Notes

APA 6th Edition Title

In APA 6th edition, the title should be in sentence case unless it is the first letter, a proper noun or abbreviation. Consult owl purdue for more information: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html

Where and When To Indicate ‘n.p' In Citations

You only indicate 'n.p' when you cite a website or video. Books and journal articles always have page numbers.

Embedding Keywords from the Instructions in Written Work

It is important to address the instructions directly by incorporating vital statements of the instructions in your work.

“This” As an Unclear Antecedent

When you use ‘This' at the beginning of a sentence, a subject must follow it; otherwise, it becomes unclear antecedent.

Paragraphs in MLA 8th Edition

In MLA latest edition, 8th edition, the first paragraph after the heading is not indented. Also, paragraphs in MLA 8th edition should be in block, that is, justified aligned (CTRL+J).

Topic Sentence

A topic sentence, just like an introduction paragraph, should not be cited unless compelled otherwise by the instructions. Citing the topic sentence lowers the quality of your work.

Rechecking Sources/References for Completeness

Always recheck your sources/references, even after copy/pasting them from the referencing assistance sites to check if they are complete. Commonly, the sites such as Google scholar may fail to provide a place of publication and publisher for the book sources.

Following a Cited Sentence with Another Cited Sentence

Do not follow a cited sentence with another cited sentence unless you are writing a literature review. An explanation or analysis should come after every citation to elaborate the citation.

Why You Should Proofread Before Checking With Grammarly

Always proofread your work thoroughly before checking on Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/) because human proofreading is vital to ensure top quality.

Strong and Weak Thesis Statements

Thesis statements that begin with phrases such as 'This paper seeks to...' 'This paper focuses on...' are weak thesis statements. They are more of focus statements than thesis statements, and only applicable when writing an abstract, executive summary, or a report. To come up with acceptable thesis statements, just ensure that your thesis statement presents an argument.

‘...Among others' and the Likes Are Informal Clauses

Avoid ‘among others’ and others of a similar kind when writing about a list in your work.

Content Words of Headings

Every content word of a header must be in caps.

Beginning Consecutive Sentence in the Same Way

Avoid beginning consecutive sentences using the same word or phrase because it leads to monotony.

Why your Word Count Should Be 300 Words per Page for instructions that need 275 Words per Page

Always use 300/ page word count because some words such as passive voice are always removed during editing. Three hundred words per page give room for editing.

How to Cite Authors in MLA 8th Edition

-Do not use first names in MLA citations. Notably, the order of names in MLA Works Cited is different from that of corresponding citations. Here is the order of names in Works Cited page: First author: (Surname, First Name); other authors (First Name, Surname). In corresponding citations, you only use the surnames for all the authors.

“too...to”

When using ‘too’ in a sentence, ensure to follow it with ‘to’ latter in the same sentence.

“More...than”

Whenever you use ‘than’ in your sentence, be sure you have ‘more’ preceding it either immediately or mentioned earlier in the same sentence since ‘than’ functions as a comparative.

Avoid Gerunds in Academic Writing

Avoid gerunds in academic writing. Gerunds are verbs that end in ‘ing’, which also means ‘present continuous tense verbs.’

Meaning of Compare and Contrast in Academic Writing

Compare and contrast: When asked to compare, you provide similarities, and when required to contrast, you give the differences. If the instructions state, ‘compare and contrast' the writer should provide both similarities and differences.

Do Not Transition a Thesis Statement

Transitioning a thesis statement makes it weak. A thesis statement should be an independent argument or fact that you will support using body paragraphs.

Transitions to Avoid With Topic Sentences

Beginning your paragraph with transitions such as ‘Therefore’, ‘Thus’, ‘consequently’, ‘However’, ‘Additionally’, ‘Furthermore’ and more of the like renders your topic sentence weak because it sounds like a continuation from the previous sentence-preceding paragraph, yet a topic sentence should resonate with the thesis statement. Examples of acceptable transitions to start paragraphs and ideal for topic sentences are: ‘Notably’, ‘Remarkably’, ‘Conversely’ and more of similar nature.

‘...not only...but also’

When you use ‘not only’ connect it later in the same sentence with ‘but also’, not just ‘but’.

When Not To Use ‘More’ and ‘Most’

You should not use ‘more’ or ‘most’ when the adjective can take comparative or superlative Suffixes, ‘Er’ And ‘Est’ Respectively.

Do Not Cite a Topic Sentence

I strongly discourage a writing approach that cites topic sentences. My argument is that a topic sentence should be a fact or idea connected to the thesis statement and the writer’s argument. Citing it means that it, together with the topic sentence, stops being the writer’s idea or argument.

Thesaurus for Synonyms

Use Thesaurus.com for better synonyms to avoid repetition. It can help you find synonyms of every word including compound words and transitional words: https://www.thesaurus.com/

However, use only the most appropriate synonyms from Thesaurus.

‘Which’ and ‘That’

‘That’ suits here better because it is used where the statement after it (that) is vital. ‘Which’ is used where the statement after it is not very significant.

APA Title Page

Contents of the title page in APA formatting should begin a quarter-way from the top, not from the center or halfway.

Sentences worth Citing

You must cite any sentence where you mention studies, researchers…

‘Get’ or ‘Gets’

Avoid using ‘get' or ‘gets' to mitigate passive voice. ‘Get' is informal English, which is not acceptable in native English writing; it is risky for a native English speaking client.

Table of Contents

It is advisable to provide a table of content to enhance the quality of the paper. Table of content is advisable for 4 pages and above that has several headings.

‘namely,...’

The term ‘namely’ is used with a comma preceding it. Check the link that I have provided.

Avoid the transition, ‘Apparently’

‘Apparently’ projects a doubtful tone; it means more along the lines of “as far as I know”.

Comments

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    • profile image

      James Sitati 

      21 months ago

      Well summarized quality guide that when a good writer adheres to it will definitely produce a good paper.

    • profile image

      Editor dave 

      21 months ago

      Great

    working

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