Preparing for English Composition
Things to remember:
- Just get started. Writing is writing, even if it’s nonsense. You can always revise later.
- The rubric is your friend. Read it before you start, review it as you go, check it before you submit.
- Always specify your sources; when in doubt, cite it out!
The Writing Process
For any style of writing, it can be helpful to follow a standard process.
- The general writing process is as follows: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
- Coming up with a topic for your paper and researching it can feel daunting. This article provides easy-to-follow tips on how to choose a topic and locate and organize sources.
- Don’t be afraid to write, even if your first draft is awful! Read “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott for a refreshing take on writing.
If you’re not super confident with your writing abilities, take a look at these tools.
- Grammarly is a web extension that will help you catch easy grammatical and spelling errors.
- Khan Academy has some helpful grammar tutorials on all kinds of topics, including: parts of speech, punctuation, syntax, usage, and style.
- A thesaurus can come in handy if you find yourself repeating the same words.
- Google Docs is a free online resource to use if you don’t have access to Microsoft Word.
Remember that academic writing can be a little different than other styles of writing. Use the resources below that are specific to writing in an academic setting.
Citations and Plagiarism
Resources and citations
A citation is a quotation from, or a reference to, a book, paper, or author, especially in a scholarly work.
- Evaluating Internet Resources
- Get Started with APA Formatting
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as your own. It’s a big ‘no-no’ and can lead to failing an assignment or even an entire course.