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Grammar, Clarity and AP Style. The Writing Process Research! Know who will receive your communication and how to best reach them. This means knowing your:

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Presentation on theme: "Grammar, Clarity and AP Style. The Writing Process Research! Know who will receive your communication and how to best reach them. This means knowing your:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Grammar, Clarity and AP Style

2 The Writing Process Research! Know who will receive your communication and how to best reach them. This means knowing your: –Message –Public –Medium

3 Tips on Writing Well How? –Keep most sentences short. –BUT, vary sentence length. –Avoid too many clauses. –Cut out unnecessary words. –Use more periods and fewer words. –Avoid overwriting. –Cut out personal commentary. –Avoid long words if possible.

4 Tips on Writing Well Write clearly. Make what you write interesting. Simplify the complex. Write for a 6 th grade reader Reading skills vary When in doubt, use the readability tool in Word

5 Cut it Out! Cut out excessive words –(ex. revolutionary, outstanding) Cut out redundant words –(ex. young children, ATM machine) Cut out long words if possible

6 Tips on Writing Well Simplify the complex. –Give readers only the information they need to know. –Dont use euphemisms. –Avoid jargon. –Introduce one new idea at a time, in a logical order. –Explain technical terms you cant avoid. –Explain the unfamiliar with the familiar.

7 Tips on Writing Well Make the main idea stand out. If possible, pretest drafts with intended audiences. Edit, edit, edit!

8 Grammar Why use proper grammar? –Poor grammar damages credibility. –Poor grammar affects readability. –Good grammar reduces ambiguity.

9 Grammar Tips for good grammar: Read and revise. Spell check misses some errors. Learn the rules, but break them if you need to.

10 Some Basic Grammar Rules Proper Nouns –Only capitalize proper nouns Common NounProper Noun singer cookie city restaurant Lady Gaga Oreo Tuscaloosa Pepitos

11 Possessive Nouns Possessive nouns are used to show possession (owning, or having). Add s to the end of singular noun to make it possessive: dogs collar girls shirt If a singular common noun ends in an s, add s The boss's temper was legendary among his employees.

12 Possessive Nouns If a singular proper noun (a name) ends in s, or an s sound, add an apostrophe only. Chris' exam scores were higher than any other students. If a noun is plural in form and ends in an s, add an apostrophe only The dog catcher had to check all of the dogs' tags. It is hard to endure the Marine Corps' style of discipline.

13 Possessive Nouns If a plural noun does not end in s, add 's Many activists in Oregon are concerned with children's rights. Everyone was disappointed with the American media's coverage of the Olympics in Atlanta. If there is joint possession, use the correct possessive for only the possessive closest to the noun. Clinton and Gore's campaign was successful. She was worried about her mother and father's marriage.

14 Some Basic Grammar Rules That vs. Which –That introduces essential clauses, which introduces nonessential clauses –If you use the word "which" to introduce a phrase or clause, precede it with a comma. –Do not precede the word "that" by a comma.

15 Some Basic Grammar Rules That vs. Which –Use "which" to introduce non-essential phrases and clauses, which can be eliminated from a sentence without changing its essential meaning (such as in this sentence). –Use "that" when you want to use a phrase or clause that cannot be removed from a sentence without changing its meaning (such as in this sentence). –Ex. The paper that won the award was mine. (tells which one) Vs. The paper, which can be found online, was interesting. (adds only a fact about the paper) Vs. The paper (that) I wrote in class was a winner.

16 Some Basic Grammar Rules That vs. Who –Who refers to people. That refers to groups or things. –Example: Kristen is the one who made this presentation. The Crimson Tide is the team that makes people cry. We go to a school that makes others jealous. The students are the ones who make Alabama so great.

17 Some Basic Grammar Rules Who vs. Whom –Use the he/him method to decide which word is correct. he = who him = whom –Who/Whom wrote the letter? He wrote the letter. Therefore, who is correct. –For who/whom should I vote? Should I vote for him? Therefore, whom is correct.

18 Some Basic Grammar Rules Subject-Verb Agreement –Helps avoid confusion –Words that intervene between subject and verb do not affect the number of the verb. –Ex. Growing vegetables is interesting. Vs. Growing vegetables are interesting.

19 Some Basic Grammar Rules Subject-Verb Agreement –Use a singular verb form after: Each (is) Either (is) Everyone Everybody Neither Nobody Someone

20 Some Basic Grammar Rules I vs. Me If John and (I or me?) get married, we'll have two kids. If me get married? NO If I get married? YES Therefore, If John and I get married, we'll have two kids.

21 Some Basic Grammar Rules I vs. Me He told Tom and (I or me?) to get ready. He told I to get ready? NO He told me to get ready? YES Therefore, He told Tom and me to get ready.

22 Some Basic Grammar Rules Commas Limit the use of commas Non-restrictive clauses that dont change the meaning of the sentence should be set off by commas (Ex. The celebrity, who was battling addiction, finally went to rehab.) Restrictive clauses that change the meaning of the sentence if left out, are not set off by commas. (Ex. Fans who show up early win a prize.) Dont set off short titles by commas. (Ex. Vice president Dick Cheney did not run in the 2008 election.)

23 Some Basic Grammar Rules Quotation marks: Periods and commas belong inside quotation marks Exclamation points and question marks can be placed according to the sense of the sentence. Ex. Did you see The Daily Show? vs. She said, Wheres the beef? Ex. My thought was, Who cares? vs. What companys slogan is We care?

24 Breaking Grammar Rules You dont always have to use the active voice. Sometimes you should split infinitives. (Ex. I cant bring myself to really like vampire movies. Vs. I cant bring myself really to like vampire movies.) Its okay to end a sentence in a preposition if you want to.

25 Commonly Confused Words All right Alternate vs. Alternative Among vs. Between As yet and As to whether Data Disinterested Effect vs. Affect Farther vs. Further Flammable Gratuitous Irregardless Lay Nauseous vs. Nauseated One Secondly, thirdly Shall vs. Will They, he or she Unique Utilize A lot Toward

26 AP Style AP Style is used by most print journalism organizations While publications differ, most use a style similar to AP Style Writing with AP Style will give your piece a better chance of being picked up by the press Only about 10% of the rules in the style book are used 90% of the time

27 AP Style Common AP Style Errors: –Datelines –Dates –Comma before and in a list of items –Titles after names (should be lowercase) When in doubt, check it out. AP Style quick reference handouts

28 Some Resources Grammar Girl AP Style on Twitter Just for fun: Unnecessary quotes Funny typos


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