Jerz > About > Dennis G. Jerz
[ Professional Biography | Writing Handouts ]
News Story vs. English Essay
Your English instructor carefully reads your essay to evaluate the depth of your knowledge, the breadth of your vocabulary, and the loftiness of your ideas. Joe Sixpack glances quickly at your news story to learn who won the game, or when Route 30 will reopen, or what happened at the school board meeting last night. What counts as “good writing” depends on what the reader values.
Quotations: Using Them Effectively in Journalism
Use direct quotations to record the opinions, emotions, and unique expressions of your sources. Let the direct words of your sources do as much work as possible, keeping yourself out of the story, and keeping transitions and explanations to a minimum. Use a phrase like “When asked about…” only when omitting it will create a false impression.
Feature Writing: The Invisible Observer
Traditional journalists are invisible observers who stay completely out of the picture, relying on factual observations and quotations from officials, participants, and witnesses do as much of the work as possible.
MLA Style Papers: How to Write English Essays (Step-by-step Instructions)
If you’ve been asked to submit a paper in MLA format, your instructor is asking you to format the page and present the content in a specific way.
- Document Settings
(1 inch margins; double spaced; 12-point)
- Page Header
(name and page number, upper right of every page)
- Title Block
(assignment info and an informative title)
(no comma between the author and page number; commas and periods go outside of inline quotes)
- Works Cited List
(lots of tricky details! sort alphabetically by author, not by the order the quotes appear in your paper)
Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips
Some professionals get scores of e-mails a day. Follow these email etiquette tips in order to give your recipients the information they need, so they’ll act on your message.
- Write a meaningful subject line.
- Keep the message focused.
- Avoid attachments.
- Identify yourself clearly.
- Be kind — don’t flame.
- Don’t assume privacy.
- Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
- Respond Promptly.
- Show Respect and Restraint.
Show, Don’t (Just) Tell: A Simple but Effective Tip for More Engaging, Persuasive Writing
Don’t just tell me your brother is talented… show me what he can do, and let me decide whether I’m impressed. To convince your readers, show, don’t just tell them what you want them to know.
There. I’ve just told you something. Pretty boring, huh? Now, let me show you.
- Choose Specific Details That Show Your Point
- Give the Reader a Reason to Feel Your Emotions
- Provide Engaging Details That Imply the Main Point
- Showing with Informative Details and / or Emotional Language
- “Telling” States Facts; “Showing” Invites Deeper Understanding
- Showing Prefers the Specific to the General
- Sometimes, “Telling” Is Good
- Related Resources
Quotations: Integrating them in MLA-Style Papers
The MLA-style in-text citation is a highly compressed format, designed to avoid interruping the flow of ideas. A proper MLA inline citation uses just the author’s last name and the page number (or line number), separated by a space (not a comma).
Researched Papers: Using Quotations Effectively
If your college instructor wants you to cite every fact or opinion you find in an outside source, how do you make room for your own opinion? Paraphrase, quote selectively, and avoid summary.
Thesis Statements: How to Write Them
A thesis statement is the single, specific claim that your essay supports. A good thesis statement is not simply an observation, a question, or a promise. It includes a topic, a precise opinion, and reasoning.
Active and Passive Verbs
Active verbs form more efficient and more powerful sentences than passive verbs. This document will teach you why and how to prefer active verbs.
- The subject of an active voice sentence performs the action of the verb: “I throw the ball.”
- The subject of a passive voice sentence is still the main character of the sentence, but something else performs the action: “The ball is thrown by me.”
Your instructor is not going to grade you on how much you loved your deceased family member, how wonderfully you played in the big game, or how narrowly you escaped death. Your instructor wants to gauge your ability to focus on one specific incident — even a routine happening — and tell it in an engaging way.
Short Stories: 10 Tips for Novice Creative Writers
A short story starts close to the conclusion, conserves characters, scenes and details, and usually focuses on a single problem and a short time period. This page offers tips on writing dialogue, building to a climax, and capturing the reader’s interest.
Writing Web Pages: Top 5 Conventions
Lead with your best stuff. Inform with linked text. Employ consistent navigation. Prefer simple designs. Write scannable text.
(Meme)X Marks the Spot: Theorizing Metablogging via “Meme” and “Conduit”
This scholarly paper examines metablogging in terms of Dawkins’s concept of the “meme” and Reddy’s critique of the “conduit” metaphor for communication…. The language of metablogging uses metaphors that emphasize communality and proximity, and thus offers an alternative to the social risks Reddy associates with the conduit metaphor.