Writing Tips for Students in Classes Taught By Prof. Michael Marks

In addition to the tips below, check out the super website Common Errors in English maintained by
Dr. Paul Brians, an Emeritus Professor of English at Washington State University

1. Do not refer to the United States in the first person plural (i.e., we, us, our) unless otherwise directed.

2. Countries are singular nouns and take singular pronouns.


3. The following are preferred and less preferred usages (according to the dictionary):


Less Preferred

4. The following terms normally are capitalized:

5. Avoid trendy use of reflexive verbs. Here are some examples of recent innovations that should be avoided:

6. Avoid split infinitives:

7. Follow these guidelines:

8. When citing course readings, cite the name of the author of the chapter in an edited volume, not the name of the book editors (e.g., if the book is edited by Snap and Crackle, but the chapter you are citing is authored by Pop, you should cite Pop).

9. When possible, avoid contractions (avoid words like aren't, don't, isn't, weren't, it's, doesn't, etc.). Instead use complete words (are not, does not, is not, were not, it is, does not, etc.).

10. Avoid the second person ("you," "your," "yours")

11. Remember the following:

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