Writing Coaching Blog

two students studying

Oftentimes students are tasked with developing their own idea while trying to incorporate the arguments presented in various texts. Ultimately, many students struggle to find the division between their words and those of the authors of the textual support pieces. The blending of independent positions and the original author’s position generally leads to simple summarization of the author’s article. In order to reduce “summary” and…


two students studying

Let us appreciate the singular quality of the em dash, my favorite punctuation mark and one that is entirely underused. I am not speaking of the paltry hyphen, which is only useful for connecting words and dates—but the em dash, more than twice the length and with quite a bit more emphatic heft. Observe how it strikes through the previous sentence, drawing the reader's attention to its clause in a way that commas and…


student and paper

When your professor gives out the prompt to a paper, it can be easy to react with alarm. Even worse, if the prompt is multi-layered and requires the answer to multiple questions, you may quickly become overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. Here are some strategies that may come in handy when tackling the dreaded term paper.

  1. What question(s) do I need to…

Student holding a pen.

Helen Sword is Professor and Director of the Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Ackland. She has created the WritersDiet Test that "identifies some of the sentence-level grammatical features that most frequently weigh down academic prose." To use the Test, simply copy and paste 100 - 1,000 words from your paper and paste them into the textbox. This feedback tool will…


Students working together.

Even if the SATs are in your past, it’s always fun and advantageous to expand your vocabulary. Below are a few tips to help you do just that!

Look up words. A lot. Maybe even 20 times a day. Every time you encounter a new word, do a quick Google search to discover what it means. This means always being on the lookout for words you don’t know, regardless of whether you are reading Dickens for a class or hanging out in…