Liberate the Hyphen

The problem In the complicated workplace of punctuation, the poor old hyphen needs to form a union. It dutifully performs its role of joining compound words and reliably appears when a suffix or prefix needs assistance. However, many students and writers drag the overworked hyphen into use while the en dash and em dash rest sadly on the sidelines. Dashes and hyphens have distinctly different uses, and while the rest of the world seems to have retired the dashes permanently, their correct use is still extremely important in academia and publishing. In fact, the incorrect use of dashes and hyphens is perhaps one of the most common errors encountered during editing. The solution In the interests of resting the exhausted …

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7 Strategies for Controlling Your Word Count

So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads – Dr Seuss After spending hours, days and sometimes years researching an essay, article or thesis, it can be difficult to squeeze all that valuable information into the designated word count. Knowing how to sacrifice words is a common challenge for writers and students, so I’ve compiled some useful strategies to help you keep your word count under control. Note: We’ve created a Free Essay Template which will help you to plan out your essay and control your word count. Opt for shorter sentences or bulleted lists This may seem a little simplistic, but it is actually quite effective. Editors frequently …

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Shut Up and Write!

This is not a command from a particularly cranky and irritated supervisor, but an increasingly popular strategy used to facilitate short bursts of productive writing in a fun and social setting. ‘Fun’ and ‘social’ are not words students or academics generally use to describe the hard slog of the usually solitary pursuit of academic writing, but ‘Shut up and Write!’ sessions are different. Along with these incentives for attending, peer pressure helps stop the inevitable excuse of ‘I’m too busy this week…’, or loss of focus during the session. The basic idea is simple, and can be adapted to the preferences of a particular group. A short (just an hour or so is enough), regular time period (perhaps first thing …

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Theirs a bare in they’re! Or, just because it sounds write doesn’t mean its bean written the rite weigh.

It doesn’t really matter to a two-year-old watching a certain classic Australian pre-school TV program whether the lyrics of the introductory song read ‘theirs a bare in they’re’, ‘there’s a bare in their’ or ‘there’s a bear in there’ (the correct version); because they all sound the same. English has an abundance of groups of two or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings and/or spelling. These are called homophones. They can have the same pronunciation and spelling but different meanings—for example, bear (the animal) and bear (to carry), or have identical pronunciation but different spelling and meanings—for example, bear (the animal) and bare (devoid of covering). Usually there are two or three words that are differently …

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The Comma and its Usage

The comma is one of the most common and important punctuation marks in the English language. It is also one of the most commonly misused. It is not uncommon when asking someone why he or she has used a comma incorrectly to receive answers like ‘because it just looked like it needed one,’ or ‘I haven’t used one in a while and it is a really long sentence!’ When people respond in this manner, they reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of the comma and the way that it is used. Many different situations call for the use of the comma; however, the four situations that follow are possibly the most common and their mastery will give any piece of …

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Writing an Effective Résumé

For many, writing a résumé can be a daunting task. Quite often, the power of a résumé is underestimated, but of course a résumé acts as your first impression to your potential employer. Since it could be among thousands of résumés sent to a company, it is really important that yours establishes your value as employee and captures the attention of the prospective employer. While a top-notch résumé can enhance your chances of gaining an interview, a disorganised résumé can risk you being turned down at the very first glance. Overall, being able to produce an effective résumé is very important. Below we have listed a few guidelines as to how. •    Your résumé should document your employment history, education …

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