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If you are among the thousands of college students that have trouble writing all those  essays , research reports and other assignments, you are not alone. It is estimated that three out of four college students struggles with their research assignments, not because of the research, but the writing. Not only is it difficult to get started, many students are unsure about grammar, punctuation use and the proper use of the English language. This is one of the top secrets, not only among college students, but also people in general. It is kept secret because people believe that they were suppose to learn to write, use English and make sense of sentences in elementary school. This is true, we all learned the basics of English through our school career, but we have all slept since then as well.

Plagiarism – To Copy or Not to Copy

Here is what we say about plagiarism – DON’T DO IT! Not only will it get you a failing grade, but also can get you expelled from school. How do you go home and tell your parents, friends or better yet a potential employer? Most students think that they will never get caught and several years ago, they were probably right. Today there are a ton of spiders on the web that professors and teachers can sign into and plug your work in to see if it matches anything on the Internet. There is another database that searches the Internet and a huge database of research papers, dissertations,  essays  and reports that have been building for several years. You think that you got it reworded good enough? Think again, these search sites will also compare your paper to other sites for information not 100% copied, but similar. It will hit on the results and then bring up the exact site that you may have taken the information from. If your professor finds that your work is too similar or not cited appropriately in your paper, your toast! This is the reason that learning the appropriate manner to cite work is very important, crucial in fact. Also, isn’t it just better to review a grammar guide instead of copying or rewording and taking the chance?

Use of Commas and other punctuation

One of the most common mistakes, besides misspelled words is the misuse of commas in writing. Students either use too many, not enough or all in the wrong places. This gives the professor a great red pen workout and unfortunately, your grade suffers. There are a million rules and guidelines for using commas and it is not only, where it sounds good! Another reasons to bring in a little helper when writing your paper. It never hurts to have the appropriate material to refer back to. In fact, it can save you countless hours of work, searching on the net, and your grade!

Punctuation is something that most students know well, but they are in such a hurry in their writing escapade that they make stupid mistakes. Practicing and really proofing your paper can keep this from happening. Watch for questions and end with a question mark. Emotion sentences warrant an exclamation point and so on! Refer back to your guide to make sure that your paper is correct.

Proofing

Never turn in a paper before proof reading it, ever. No matter how skilled you are as a writer, you can still make mistakes. It does not hurt to have someone else proof your paper either. They may see or catch something that you missed. When you are proofing your own paper you are likely to read across an incorrect sentence and say it the way that you meant it. Allowing others to proof your paper is also a good idea, because they can watch for sentences that are unclear or structured poorly. Fragments are another thing that others can find in your work, makes sense to you, but it may not make sense to them. They have no idea what you were trying to say, but you did when you wrote it! Brush up on rules It does not hurt to brush up on your rules even if you are a great writer. Even great writers make mistakes from time to time. Taking the time to refresh in a subject does not mean that you are inadequate in the subject. In fact to many, it makes you look smarter because you are willing to admit that you don’t know everything. One thing that most people are not good at doing!

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