Archive for June 2010

Words of Advice to my Students

June 22, 2010

Another successful semester has zipped past us at St. Clair College. This past semester, I had an excellent class. Most of you achieved the goals you set for yourself and have successfully obtained your credit. There are some tips I want to suggest to keep your writing skills and even add to your knowledge. My University of Windsor students might want to take note of these ideas even though they are in the midst of their course studies with me.

1. Write on your face book account regularily. You can give updates or opinions or suggestions. You can include poems or songs lyrics or short stories.

2. Write on your twitter account. Try creating witty little poems. Polish your ability to be concise.

3. Utilize the on line resources that came with your textbook. Technical Writing by Lannon has MyTechComlab an excellent place to practice your grammar and punctuation skills. There are also sections that we did not discuss such as the writing and citation guides. You have this resource for two years. Make it a habit to watch the video tutorials and practice the grammar and punctuation exercises that you know you need to work on.

4. Write creative ideas and thoughts in a journal. Those good little ideas just might lead to poems, stories, books or whatever one day.

5. Use your phone to record ideas when you are not at your computer and there is no pen and paper close buy. Use it as a voice recorder. Capture the creative and later go back and tap the potential of those ideas.

6. Expand your vocabulary – try to learn one new word a day.

Colon Usage

June 15, 2010

One of the most common errors that I find is with colon use. The rule is that which left of the colon must be an independent clause – or a complete thought – like a sentence.

You can never have a colon after words like is or are – example of the error-

The things I am bring to Austria are: maps, a German dictionary and my laptop.

You would correct the error this way:

I am bringing the following to Austria: maps, a German dictionary and my laptop.

You can not have a colon after the word include – example of the error –

The items I wish to purchase include: a new computer, a new car and a new house. You can not have an incomplete thought before the colon!

You would correct the error in this way:

The items I wish to purchase include the following: a new computer, a new car and a New house.

You can sometimes show a comparison using a colon – when two thoughts are equally important – example –

I watched every movie in the series: a Star Trek  marathon. Notice that still the rule applies – left of the colon MUST be an independent clause.

Remember – that which is left of the colon MUST be an independent clause – a complete sentence.