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Writing Workshop

Archive for the tag “AP Stylebook”

One more chance

If you missed the “final” extra credit (see previous blog post), here’s one last opportunity for you: CASA finals week flier (pdf)

This CASA flier is rife with basic AP style errors, many of which are repeated multiple times. All told, I count at least eight distinct errors (not counting the repetitions).

Download this flier and bring it to today’s class, with errors noted and corrected, and you can earn 1 point extra credit for each AP style error you spot and fix. (Or add your comments using Adobe Acrobat, and email the corrected flier to me by 1:30 p.m. today.)

Happy last day of class!




AP update

Big news: The Associated Press  has changed “Web site” to “website.” Even better, the AP “tweeted” the change.

It’ll be official when the next edition of the AP Stylebook comes out in about a month, but you can get a jump on it and start using “website” now.

Now if they’d just change e-mail to email, I’d be content.

New grading strategy

I am still seeing way too many AP style errors, typos and the like in your assignments, so I am modifying my approach to grading.

From now on, I will use the following grading rubric when reviewing your assignments:

  • If you do not follow the directions for the assignment (topic/focus, format, word count, etc.), I will subtract 20 percent.
  • For each error I find in AP style, spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, etc., I will subtract 10 percent.
  • For major errors — such as starting a lead with “when” or “where” it happened, instead of with “what” or “who” — I will subtract 10 percent.
  • For minor errors (using passive voice, using incorrect quote or attribution format, not using a person’s last name only after the first full reference, etc.), I will subtract five (5) percent per error.
  • For errors of fact (including misspelled names), you will receive a “zero” for the assignment.

If I reach the point where I’ve deducted 40 percent of the grade, I will draw a line on your paper and stop grading. At that point, I will give the paper a grade of 60 percent and hand it back to you for revision. (The only thing that will get you into a deeper “hole” is a fact error, so I suggest you work very hard to avoid them.)

With a good revision, you can earn back up to half of the points you lost. However, you will never do as well with a revision as you would if you’d gotten it right the first time around … so try to get it right!

Earlier this semester, I suggested that instead of forming study groups, you might want to form proofreading groups. I still think this is a good idea.

Proofread your papers!

In class on Monday, I talked about some of the things that good writers do.

Careful writers, I noted, choose the right words and phrases, including concrete nouns and vigorous verbs. They provide details, including relevant information and focused observations. And they make sentences flow by cutting unnecessary words, using active voice, and varying sentence lengths to create rhythm and pacing.

Another thing good writers do is proofread. They get good at catching errors and fixing them … before submitting their work. That’s what professionals do, and that’s what you need to do.

That’s why I emphasize the Copy Edit the World assignment … and that’s why I’m cracking down on copy editing errors this semester.

Here’s how it’s going to work: If I find three errors (in AP style, spelling or grammar) as I’m grading your paper, I will stop grading it and return it to you for further revision. I will not finish grading your paper until you’ve revised it and resubmitted it. Every time I have to hand a paper back to you because of errors, you will lose a grade — that is, a “B” paper will become a “C” paper. This also applies to assignments submitted as blog posts and assignments that are graded Credit/No Credit.

So please make sure to proofread your assignments carefully before you submit them.

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