Reviewing Your Final Essays
Writing Better Essays - A Rhetorical Guide to Writing and Revision (Second International Edition) - David L. Rogers
David L. Rogers [+]
Kingston University, London
Chapter 9 focuses on punctuation and the dangers of students overusing cliched phrases and overly general, commonplace language. Its advice on punctuation is based on a precautionary, safety-first approach, which is for students to rely almost exclusively on the simple period or full stop plus the question mark unless or until they are certain that they know the rules for using other forms of punctuation such as commas, semi-colons, and colons. This advice rests on the premise that the errant use of forms of punctuation for which students do not know the rules is the source of more confusion than fragments or run-on sentences or comma splices. It does not, however, preclude the fact that students should be encouraged to learn the general rules of punctuation, and the chapter explains the rules for all other forms, including apostrophes for contractions and possessives, and it illustrates them with a range of examples, all of which it explains. The chapter also lists a range of commonly overused or meaningless words that students would be well advised to avoid and encourages students to discuss these and other possible examples with their instructors so they can then be sure to spot and replace them as the revise. The exercise at the end of the chapter reminds students of the value of using a spell-check before they finalise their essays. It then asks them to practice the chapter’s advice on punctuation and overused words as they review a draft or past essay.