Style and Grace

Recent Additions

04 Nov 2002 (updated); Dennis G. Jerz
Gender-neutral Language
Many people believe that the general use of the term "man" is offensive, or at least inaccurate.  Phrases like "no man is an island" or "every man for himself" seem to exclude women. Unless your goal is to offend or annoy your audience, you should follow the conventions they expect.

11 Jan 2001; by Dennis G. Jerz
Hypertext Essays- How to Write Them
The ordinary prose essay has been around for hundreds of years; people have had a long time to discover how to write a good one.  But hypertext is a much more recent invention.

29 Aug 2000; by Dennis G. Jerz
Revision vs. Editing
If you are expected to revise your own document, but all you do is edit it, then you are only making surface changes, instead of deep, substantive ones that will enable you to express your thoughts clearly and effectively.

08 May 2000; by Dennis G. Jerz
Show, Don't (Just) Tell
When writing a short story, an academic essay, or a technical report, show, don't just tell your readers what you want them to know. There.  I've just told you something.  Pretty lame, huh? Now, let me show you.

05 May 2000; by Dennis G. Jerz
Crisis vs. Conflict
Many beginning writers, in an attempt to create an exciting or emotionally powerful story, describe a crisis -- an emergency, such as a car crash or an illness.   Good stories are built, not around crises, but rather conflict -- a clash of wills, a difficult moral choice, an internal mental struggle.  You need conflict in order to make the reader care about the people involved in the crisis.

04 May 2000; by Dennis G. Jerz
Timed Essays: Planning and Organizing in a Crunch
Some students are so worried about filling up the page that they just open up the valve and let the B.S. flow. Remember, your instructor will read your essay, not weigh it.

04 May 2000; by Dennis G. Jerz
Writing That Demonstrates Thinking Ability
Many students have no trouble summarizing the plot of a novel or repeating dates from history, but they they freeze up when asked to formulate a theory or critique an argument. If you learn to recognize the kinds of thinking you are expected to demonstrate on a particular assignment, you can focus your efforts more efficiently.

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