In this newsletter, Professor Randy and Michael conclude their Fall article series on 'Getting an A on Your Next Paper' and 'Writing in Style' respectively.
Editing Your Paper Well
by Professor Randy
Welcome to this fourth and final installment of "Getting an A on Your Next Paper." Over the past few months, I have shared seven tips to help you prepare to write an excellent paper and then to write it well. In this article, we will look at how you can improve your written paper by up to a whole letter grade, simply by editing it well.
Tip #8 - Make good use of your word processor's spelling/grammar checker
Fortunately, word processors today come with spelling and grammar checkers that flag many of our spelling and grammatical mistakes. Of course, they are far from perfect and are usually not sophisticated enough to deal with higher-level grammatical issues. Yet, as a professor and professional editor, I am consistently surprised that people do not make better use of their spell-checkers.
Of course, some word processors have a nasty habit of shutting off certain features for no apparent reason. Here's how you can make sure that you're getting everything you can out of your spell-checker. Highlight all of the text in your paper and select the desired spell-checking language (e.g. U.S. English). With the text still selected, make sure that you also recheck the document for spelling and grammatical errors (in Word 2007, select the Office button in the upper left-hand corner of your screen and then select Word Options, Proofing and finally, Recheck).
Tip #9 - Read your work aloud
For years, I have read my written work aloud to strengthen it. If you do it, you will not only catch many spelling/grammatical errors, but you will also improve your wording, sentence construction and overall flow of the paper.
Tip #10 - Have someone else read your paper
Our eyes sometimes play tricks on us when we read our own work. We can miss the obvious. I regularly recommend to my students that they have someone else read their papers. It could be a friend, family member or a professional editor (I or one of my editors on the EazyPaper editing team would be honored to provide that service).
If you follow these editing tips and the others I have shared in previous newsletters, I have no doubt that you will be well on your way to getting an A on your next paper.
Writing in Style (Part 4 of 4)
by Michael Hu
Word styles everything as Normal, or with a style based on Normal or one of its derivatives. So when you double space Normal, you've double spaced the font for every style in your document; i.e., your entire document is now double spaced.
That's not necessarily what you want. For example, Turabian double spaces the body of the text, but single spaces quotations. EazyPaper's solution was to create a double space Paragraph style and a single space Quotation style while leaving Normal alone. So creating your own style can be useful, or in EazyPaper's case, even necessary for creating templates that conform to the formatting standards. And if your school deviates from these standards, modify those styles to suit.
This is how you do create a style: click the icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the Styles section as shown in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Showing advanced options for Styles
Then click the New Style button as shown in Figure 2:
Figure 2: New Style button
Fill out the form and click OK. Using your new style is just like applying any other style: select the text and choose your style in the list of Styles of Figure 2.
And that wraps it up for styles. For the Spring semester of 2012, I'll start a new series on page layout, including margins, sections, and page numbering, and thereby answer some of the most common formatting questions we get in EazyPaper support. So until next time, see you next year!