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Writing Workshop

Archive for the tag “Grammar”

Writing Center

good-writing-is-hard-workIf grammar is not your game, and I’m starting to bug you about writing problems such as sentence fragments and passive voice, you might to consider visiting the SJSU Writing Center. Located in Clark Hall, the Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring, skill-building workshops, and online writing resources. Check them out at:  http://www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter.

If, on the other hand, writing is your game — and your writing, editing and communication skills are pretty darn stellar — you might be interested to know that the Writing Center is planning to hire some new tutors. Here’s the link to the center’s jobs page: http://www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter/jobs.

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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.

Plurals and possessives

Several of you are regularly running afoul of plurals and possessives. This is one of those things you need to figure out before you graduate…or you’ll end up embarrassing yourself in the real world.

So if you’re still at a loss as to which is which, please consult the following online grammar resources:

* a self-test exercise on plurals and possessives
* Better English lessons — another self test on plurals and possessives

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