Checklist for writers
Please follow this list carefully, and check you have observed all the points after you finish each paper. Grammar, punctuation, syntax
- – Do not use first person plural (we, us).
- – Make only one space after commas, periods, semi-colons and colons.
- – Understand the meaning and use of the definite article (the) and the indefinite article (a, an).
- – Do not use exclamation marks.
- – Do not use first person singular (I) or personal opinions, except in personal statement or admission
- – Do not capitalize common nouns.
- – Avoid all forms of questions, including rhetorical questions.
- – Do not use colloquial terms or expressions.
- – Do not use empty adverbs such as basically, actually, really.
- – Do not use hyperbole (great exaggeration) or hyperbolic words such as enormous, huge, magnificent,
glorious or other superlatives such as most obnoxious.
- – Make sure all verbs agree with their subject in number (singular and plural).
- – Make sure all prepositions agree with the verb (in English, most verbs have only one or two
prepositions that can be used (results in, not results to).
- – Check all spellings.
- – Check that all adverbs are in the right place (you cannot put an adverb inside an infinitive verb like
this: He tried to neatly write his name.)
- – Do NOT use archaic words or terms. Young native English-speakers do not use these words. Some
are hence, whereby, nevertheless, henceforth, hereunder, abovementioned, therefore, thus.
Nowadays, these words are only used in certain forms of Colonial English.
- – Do not use meaningless words as transitions just for their own sake.
- – Use the present tense. Never use the future tense (will be), unless you intend to suggest the future.
- – Do not use the present continuous tense as the main tense of the paper (is writing, are thinking). Use
the present: writes, think.
- – Check punctuation: do not leave out any commas.
- – Write short sentences: only one sentence for each concept.
- – Do not start a sentence with a conjunction (and, but)
- – Do not write useless words to make sentences appear grander or more complicated.
- – Make sure each sentence makes perfect, clear and logical sense.
- – Use a hyphen for compound words such as stress-free.
- – Do not repeat words frequently within the same paragraph. Use a pronoun or a synonym to vary the
- – Do not repeat the same concept, idea or thought.
- – Do not use gender-specific words for general meaning (man, mankind, men, manhood, gentleman)
- – Do not write lady when you mean woman.
- – Do not use Latin abbreviations such as etc., i.e., e.g.; use what they mean in English: and so forth,
that is, for example.
- – When paraphrasing, make sure the „synonyms‟ you use mean exactly the same as the word you wish
- – Do not start a sentence with „As such.‟
- – Never write „so as to‟ when you mean „to‟.
- – Do not label paragraphs with Introduction, Conclusion or any other subtitle.
- – Use the correct form and punctuation for in-text citations, according to the style choice.
- – Make sure the thesis sentence appears in the first paragraph.
- – Write a new, original title of less than nine words for each essay.
- – Write the lecturer‟s question on the coversheet. Center your new title on top of the essay.
- – Do not justify the text. Align it to the left only.
- – Do not identify any keywords.
- – Make sure you understand how to write and format a reference list.
- – Understand the difference between an author‟s first and last names.
- – You must state date of retrieval from the Internet.
- – Always remove hyperlinks from URLs.
- – Support each fact with an in-text citation.
- – “Number of sources” means number of books, online texts or articles you need to reference. A paper
always needs many more in-text citations from the sources than just two or three.
- – There is no need for page numbers for essays less than four pages.
- – Headers are not necessary for short essays.
- – Do not include an abstract for an essay shorter than five pages, or for an essay without sub-headings.
If you do not know the meaning of some of the words used here, such as rhetorical, common nouns, articles or hyperbole, look them up: you need to know what they are.