What is a Topic Sentence?

  The body of an essay includes many paragraphs that each discuss a new topic to substantiate the essay’s thesis statement (i.e. answer the essay question). Before you start writing a paragraph, it is important to have a topic sentence to unify the paragraph’s content and to ensure the paragraph discusses the topic coherently. A topic sentence is a single sentence that states the main point of a paragraph. It acts like a thesis statement for just that paragraph. It must be presented at the beginning of a paragraph to tell the reader what the topic of the paragraph is and how the paragraph will discuss it. Another important function of a topic sentence is to prove the essay’s thesis statement. It can …

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How to Write an Article Critique

An article critique is a genre of academic writing that provides critical evaluation through intensive analysis of an article, which involves giving a brief summary of the article. Reading an article critique helps an audience to understand the key points of the article, and the author’s ideas and intentions. It indicates the perceived success of an article and analyses its strengths and weaknesses. As with other types of academic writing, an article critique has to be written in formal language and using a structured format. It should consist of an introduction, several body paragraphs and a conclusion. Though the general pattern is similar, some formatting styles have certain specific guidelines for writing an article critique. It is important to study how to …

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Why use styles in Microsoft Word?

  Writing your thesis is taxing as it is; and formatting your thesis to make it look neat and consistent is an essential, but often tedious (and sometimes, confusing) part of the thesis-writing process. Good thing Microsoft Word has Styles—a feature that makes formatting much quicker and less complicated. But what exactly is a style? It is a set of formatting instructions, such as the font size, colour and paragraph spacing to be used, that has been saved, so you don’t have to manually format each section of your document. A style is also what Word uses to identify different parts of your document. This is how you are able to see headings and subheadings on the Navigation Pane. It …

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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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What is the difference between a primary and a secondary source?

In conducting research, you can normally find both primary and secondary sources that can be used. It is important for students to recognise the difference between a primary and a secondary source and know how to use them appropriately. A primary source, as the name implies, is a primary or original document or physical object that was written or created: • at the time the situation under study happens; or • by a person who experienced or witnessed the situation directly or has direct knowledge of it. Examples of primary sources include: • Personal documents: diaries, novels, speeches, letters, personal narratives, interviews, firsthand stories, emails • Documents from research studies: theses, experiment results, reports, data or findings • Original documents: original manuscripts, government documents, maps, …

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How to use quotations effectively

So you have finished researching for your essay, and you have all of these amazing quotations. Now it is important to know when and how to use quotations to enhance the effectiveness of your writing. When should you use quotations? • Like supporting examples, quotations should be used to strengthen arguments. • They should be used primarily when the specific language of the quotation is important (such as when you need to be exact about the writer’s position). When shouldn’t you use quotations? • Quotations should be used sparingly in most types of academic writing. • They should never be inserted into your text because you think the idea is better worded by the quoted author than you yourself could word it. • They should …

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