Grammar Gifts

Looking for some last-minute gifts for the grammar-loving friends among us?  We have some suggestions for you!

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“Over”, “More Than” and Over-Correcting

Today, we’re answering a question we got from one of our recent submissions, as we think it can be quite helpful to other people, as well.  It’s about word choice, and over correcting. Read More

Book Recommendations

The best way to get better at writing is to read.  Exposing yourself to as much high-quality writing as possible is the fastest way to improve your own writing style; when you surround yourself with great writing, some of it is bound to rub off on you.

With that in mind, here are a few recommendations from Wordsmith Essay’s staff on some great books to read and enjoy. Read More

Common English Mistakes Chinese Speakers Make

On Tuesday, we looked at some common English mistakes Spanish speakers make, but they’re far from the only language group that has issues when writing in English.  The third largest language group in the US are the various Chinese languages, mostly Mandarin or Cantonese.  That language family has different issues with English than Western Romance languages, and it’s important to keep those in mind when writing, translating or editing.

The various Chinese dialects—Mandarin, Cantonese, Taishanese and so forth—aren’t interchangeable, but they all share some traits and forms that are different than English.  Here are some of those common features that lead to mistakes in English—trouble-spots to watch out for. Read More

Adding an Image to Your Paper

Sometimes, students will have the urge to stick an illustration, a graphic or chart into their paper.  It certainly helps you stand out—a visual aid will certainly pop to a teacher who’s wading through a huge stack of text.  When chosen properly, a graphic can help add context and help support your papers.

If you’re thinking about adding a graphic to your paper, there are some important things to keep in mind.

First of all, don’t use it to cheat!  If your professor says a paper needs to be four pages long, don’t try to cheat them by padding your paper out with pictures; they’ll notice.  I once had a student hand in a four-page paper to me…with two pages of bar graphs in the middle.  They were excellent graphs, meaningful and on point, but there just wasn’t enough text to satisfy the assignment.  They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but that’s not true when it comes to your paper’s word count.

Secondly, your graphic should add to and supplement your text, and not merely be decorative.  If you’re running through a bunch of statistical data, a chart displaying that data visually can help your reader better grasp what you’re trying to say.  If the visual of something is important to your point, a quick picture can help the reader more than a long-winded description does.  However, if you’re writing something on, say, Jane Austen, a picture of Jane Austen is unlikely to really give your reader anything useful.  Similarly, if you’re mentioning a statistic off-hand—say, “40% of all statistics are made up”—then you don’t need a pie chart graphing that out for your reader; it doesn’t say anything more than your sentence does.

Also, remember that if you’re using someone else’s picture—a useful infographic from the web, for example, or a photo someone else has taken—you have to cite and give credit just like you would have to do for a quote from a book.  Anytime you use content you didn’t create, you have to credit the original creator.  This goes extra if you’re submitting something for any sort of publication; you’ll need explicit permission, either from a creative commons license or by specifically asking the creator, to use it commercially.  Be careful about that sort of thing!

If you want to make sure your image really works in your paper, submit it to our editors here at Wordsmith Essays.  We don’t just correct grammar; we go through and give positive and helpful pieces of advice to help you improve the quality of your paper.  Stop by our order page today!

Why Are There So Many Citation Formats?!

It seems every time you go to a new class, they’ll want you to use a different format for your citations on your essays.  While some fields pretty much use one format regularly—psychology, for example, nearly always uses APA format, while literature prefers MLA—that distinction isn’t always clear, especially at the undergrad level.

So, what’s the difference between these formats?  What’s the point of having an APA format and a MLA format and Chicago format and so on? Read More

Formatting tips for a Business Letter

So, you have to write a business letter.  This is something that you may end up facing, and if your experience in writing is limited to essays and articles, you may have a brief moment of panic.  Whether you’re writing a letter to an admissions expert to get into grad school, or writing a cover letter for a resume, business letters have their own formatting tricks and tips that are easy enough to fulfill—once you know what they are. Read More