Table of Contents

Clear Writing: A Checklist

1. Choosing the Best Words

a. Be as Clear and Specific as Possible
b. Watch for Redundancy
c. Avoid Wordiness
d. Watch for Missing Parts
e. Choose the Best Verb

2. Order and Connect Your Ideas

a. Paragraphing
b. Joining Words
c. Order and Weight your Ideas According to Their Importance
d. Watch for Ambiguity

3. Make Your Writing Consistent

a. Agreement Among the Grammatical Parts of your Writing
b. Watch for Mixed Metaphors

4. Rhythm and Variety

5. Tone, Voice, and Special Writing Situations

a. Academic Writing
b. Writing About Literature
c. Writing in Other Academic Disciplines
d. Business Writing
e. Slang and Informal English

6. Bias-free Usage

a. Gender
b. Race, Culture, and Sexual Orientation
Bias-free Vocabulary: A Short List


7. Verbs and Verb Tense Difficulties

a. The Infinitive
b. The Simple Present Tense
c. Subject-Verb Agreement
d. Survey of Verb Tenses
e. Voice

8. Combining Verb Tenses

a. The Past Perfect Tense
b. Combining Tenses—Quoted Material

9. Irregular Verbs

10. Dangling Constructions

11. Nouns and Pronouns

a. Singular and Plural Nouns
b. Singular Pronouns
c. Unreferenced or Wrongly Referenced Pronouns
d. Subject and Object Pronouns

12. Adjectives and Adverbs

a. Comparatives and Superlatives

13. Sentence Fragments / Incomplete Sentences

14. Run-on Sentences / Comma Splices

15. For Those Whose Native Language Is Not English

a. Articles
b. Frequently Used Non-count Nouns
c. Continuous Verb Tenses
d. Omission or Repetition of the Subject
e. The Conditional


16. The Period

17. The Comma

a. Extra Comma
b. Commas and Lists
c. Commas and Non-restrictive Elements
d. That and Which

18. The Question Mark

19. The Exclamation Mark

20. The Semi-colon

21. The Colon

22. The Hyphen

23. The Dash

24. Parentheses

25. Square Brackets

26. The Apostrophe

a. Contractions
b. Possession

27. Quotation Marks

a. Other Uses of Quotation Marks
b. Misuse of Quotation Marks to Indicate Emphasis
c. Single Quotation Marks

28. Ellipses

Format and Spelling

29. Capitalization

30. Abbreviations

a. Titles
b. Academic and Business Terms
c. Latin Abbreviations

31. Numbers

32. Italics

33. Spelling

a. Spell Check
b. Spelling and Sound
c. American Spelling, British Spelling, Canadian Spelling
d. Other Spelling Mistakes


34. Citation and Documentation—MLA

a. Citation and Plagiarism
b. Signal Phrases

35. MLA Style

a. About Parenthetical Referencing
b. About Works Cited

36. APA Style

a. About In-text Citations
b. About References

37. Chicago Style

38. CBE Style

39. Research in Various Disciplines

a. Anthropology
b. Art History
c. Biology
d. Business and Commerce
e. Chemistry
f. Economics
g. English Studies
h. History
i. Philosophy
j. Physics
k. Political Science
l. Psychology
m. Sociology

Writing By Computer

40. Computers and the Writing Process

a. What computers Can and Can’t Do
b. A Note on Spell Check
c. The Internet
d. Research Using the Internet
e. Observing Netiquette
f. Point-form Netiquette
g. Plagiarism, Copyright, and the Web

Glossary of Usage

Appendix 1: A Reference Guide to Basic Grammar
Appendix 2: Correction Key


Posted on October 29, 2015