Friday, April 8, 2016

Storyboarding for Academic Papers

Research for academic papers can be time-consuming and when you finally start writing that research paper, you have enough arguments, proofs and conclusions to make it a fully featured academic piece. However, most of the time, when you go through loads of data and want to include many valuable facts into your writing, the main task is to organize everything logically: each argument needs to have its place where it highlights the main point of the research paper from the best angle. So, how to structure an academic piece the best way possible?

To answer this question, I need to tell you about my anniversary with my husband :) I wanted to have a corkboard for a long time because I have many post cards from my friends from all over the world and until quite recently they have been stuffed in one of my drawers. I wanted to pin them to the board and I did. My lovely husband presented me with a corkboard made with his own hands. I was very happy. When I pinned all the post cards, there was much space left and I started using it for my writing. I just wrote some facts or ideas and put them on the board. But, then, after lots of notes were pinned, while brainstorming I rearranged them, tried to look at the research subject from different angles and it actually helped me to create a successive outline for a research paper. And without realizing I used storyboarding for writing an academic piece. And I liked that experience much.

So, now you may have guessed the answer. I discovered that storyboarding is an effective tool for planning a paper where you can see how the changes in the structure may influence the output. And I strongly advise everyone to use this method which has many different forms. As you understood from my story about anniversary, I used a simple corkboard and notes but there are many programs like MindManager that may be downloaded to your devices. I use it when I go to work to the park or a café because it’s much more convenient than taking a corkboard to a public place :)

Try storyboarding for writing academic papers, maybe it is exactly what you need to improve your writing process!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Let’s Eat Grandma or the Importance of Commas

If anyone thinks that punctuation is not important in the English language, it’s time to get rid of such misconceptions. There is a popular mem on the Internet that perfectly summarizes my point.

And today, as you may have guessed, I will talk about commas. Commas divide the sentence into separate independent clauses, phrases or words. They are irreplaceable when it comes to long sentences with numerous clauses and different points of view. So, it is important to remember several rules in order to avoid confusion on the reader’s part.

  • Commas Are Necessary before Conjunctions

It is necessary to add commas before but, and, so, or, nor, for, yet if the sentence is long and consists of independent clauses.

E.g. Freelance academic writers around the world improve their writing skills by using online courses, but some of them don’t have constant internet connection to upgrade their knowledge all the time.

However, if it is a small sentence with two independent clauses, this rule can be ignored.

E.g. These academic writers are from India and those ones are from Pakistan.

In addition, you don’t have to put comma before a conjunction if it joins subjects or predicates.
Filipino academic writers and American proofreader make a great team that produces high quality content.

  • Enumeration Also Needs Commas

When you list some items in your sentence, they surely must be separated by commas (if you end up your enumeration with words or phrases like and so forth, and the like, and so on, etc., they need commas before them). Add a comma before a conjunction that names the last item in your listing.

E.g. Clients usually order essays, research papers, dissertations, case studies, and so on.

  • Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses Are Picky

You need to understand the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses first. Restrictive clauses impact the general meaning of the sentence. It means that if you omit one of them, the sentence will focus on an entirely different thing. As a rule, it is used with the pronoun that and doesn’t require a comma.

E.g. The book that I have bought on the fair appears to be very useful.

Nonrestrictive clauses do not harm the meaning of the sentence if omitted. They are usually used with the pronoun which and require commas.

E.g. This book for international students by Stephen Bailey, which I have bought on the fair, appears to be very useful.

  • Other Situations When Commas Are Needed

If you have a long introductory phrase at the beginning of your sentence, clarifying additional comments, place-names, parenthetical elements, repeated words or appositives (a word or phrase that follows a noun and plays an explanatory role), they are all used with commas or paired commas.

It is important to remember about these rules if you want your writing to look proficient. Of course, there are more points and exceptions that demand a more thorough examination, but these are the most essential ones. Use them wisely.