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Writing Academically (video)
An introductory video with tips on writing academically containing the same information as the workshop. (40m0s)
Plagiarism is a serious ethical offense in academics and in business. It is taking another's language and work without citing it and therefore claiming it as your own. The solution to plagiarism is to cite your sources. If someone says something perfectly, put the quotation in your work inside quotation marks and cite the source of the quotation (article, book, Web page, etc.). Paraphrasing should be cited as well, though it shouldn't be in quotation marks. This makes you not only ethical but well read.
Below is a list of paper and e-books that can answer your questions about correct English grammar.
Tips for Writing Academically
Learning to write academically is a process that you will learn as you write papers and read scholarship. To get more help at CSUSB, make an appointment with The Writing Center (undergraduates) or The Graduate Writing Center (graduates). However, below you will find tips to learning the craft and links for more information.
- Be concise. Clearly state your idea then prove it with quotations and/or statistics. Remove any extra words that do not contribute to the meaning and content. Be ruthless in this. If you don't have enough words or pages, it means you haven't developed your ideas enough.
- Link your ideas. Though you are writing a non-fiction paper, you still have a narrative or a story of your thoughts and reasoning. Convey that story clearly, with a narrative flow, and you will be writing more academically.
- Be precise. Use your language to state exactly what you mean, don't assume the reader is in your head, follows your thoughts, and understands you without your stating your logic clearly.
- Don't use slang or idioms. While those techniques can be effective in fiction and oral presentations, avoid them if you are still learning academic writing.
- Avoid "I" or "in my opinion." This one's iffy. Some professors still won't like it, while others may. APA 7th edition states you may use "I" in academic writing. Ask your professor.
- Learn academic vocabulary and discourse. This is difficult because you may not know it now, so you can't simply add it. Solve the problem by reading in your discipline a great deal. The more you read the more you will absorb how scholars in your field write and the vocabulary they use.
- Have a friend take a look. Writers have editors; maybe you have a friend who writes well. Ask this person to have a look at your work. They can tell you when you are unclear or your word choice is poor. Don't expect this colleague to re-write your work, but listen and accept their advice even when it hurts. The Writing Center can help in this as well.
- Refer to a good writing guide. Elements of Style is a tiny, powerful, inexpensive book that you can borrow from the library. It doesn't explain every rule of grammar (here is a list of books that do), but reading it can clarify how to write with greater style and clarity in all your academic assignments.
Good Web Sites for More Help
Humorous Grammar Books
Did you know a sub-genre of humorous language books exist? So fun that, if you are not careful, you might learn something.
Fractured English by
Publication Date: 1996-11-01
Anguished English by
Publication Date: 1989-08-05
Anguished English is the impossibly funny anthology of accidental assaults upon our language. From bloopers and blunders to Signs of the Times to Mixed Up Metaphors . . . from Two-Headed Headlines to Mangling Modifiers, here is an outrageous treasury of assaults upon our common language that will leave you roaring with delight and laughter.
When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It by
Publication Date: 2007-02-13
What do you get when you mix nine parts of speech, one great writer, and generous dashes of insight, humor, and irreverence? One phenomenally entertaining language book. In his waggish yet authoritative book, Ben Yagoda has managed to undo the dark work of legions of English teachers and libraries of dusty grammar texts. Not since School House Rock have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance.