by Mary-Kate Coniku
Whenever someone comes to me for help with flow, sentence structure, grammar, wording, or “making sure it sounds good”, I usually say the same two things. First, I say “just write the way you speak”. I have found that many of the people who come to me with concerns such as those above, are usually very eloquent speakers, they just struggle with putting things on paper. If you write the way you speak, more often than not your point will get across more clearly than if you are actively trying to sound like something they are not. When you have your ideas on paper, then consultants can help add some punctuation here and there to make it formal. The second thing I say is “read it aloud to yourself”. When you read your own writing in your head it will always make sense to you. No one knows what you are trying to say better than you. That is why consultants often read papers aloud, so that we can both hear when something may not sound quite right or be unclear, and to get another reader’s perspective.
Since it’s often easier to articulate your ideas verbally, it may be beneficial for you to use the “Dictate” feature in Microsoft Word. It’s available in my.scranton when you access Office 365. It will even let you insert punctuation by saying the specific name of the punctuation mark. This is a great option for pre-writing and drafting, and it can help eliminate some of your writing anxiety, since you can dictate your ideas while taking a walk or exercising at the gym or while doing any other activity you enjoy. If you’re a slow typer, this resource can also save you a significant amount of time. Check it out!
Here’s a video on how to use it.
By Danielle DePasquale
After finally finishing a written assignment, one may be quick to submit their work immediately. Not having to look at that assignment ever again brings about a sense of great relief. However, receiving that assignment back covered in commentary about minute spelling and grammar errors dampens that sense of accomplishment. Even though writing the final sentence of a concluding paragraph may seem to signify the end of the writing process, proofreading your work is just as essential. Reviewing your work ensures that you’re submitting an assignment that is logically sound and addresses the task at hand. Hence, I highly recommend reading written assignments aloud, which allows you to actually hear what your writing sounds like. We are all human and mistakes happen when typing up assignments. This way, you can make any edits or adjustments needed to express your ideas clearly and concisely. If you find reading your own writing aloud tedious or don’t want to disturb your roommates, you can plug in some headphones and access the “Immersive Reader” function available in Microsoft Word; this tool has the computer read your paper back to you. It’s a great tool to check for typos, grammar errors, redundancy, and verbose phrasing. This is how you access it.
Check out this video demo here: Immersive Reader Video Demo.mp4
And proofreading your paper doesn’t have to happen right away. In fact, stepping away from your writing and revisiting with a clear head will enhance your ability to conduct a comprehensive and meaningful review of your work. In the future, I implore you to try either strategy before you submit your next assignment.