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Proofreading Your Writing – The Fat Lady Must Sing

Proofreading Your Writing – The Fat Lady Must Sing

There is an old saying related to classical opera. Many people don’t understand opera because people are singing in foreign languages and it is hard to follow the plot line. And in days gone by, the female star of these operas was usually a pretty big gal. So, those who were unable to understand what was going on developed a saying, “It’s over when the fat lady sings.” And so it is with your writing. It is over when the proofreading has been done and done well.

The Importance of Proofreading

Mark Twain was a newspaper reporter before he became a famous author. And as progressive as he was in many areas of societal concerns, he was unforgiving about grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors of others. It is said that he used to proofread the articles that other reporters wrote, circle all of their errors and then place the articles on their desks. You may have an instructor or professor just like Mark Twain.

When you don’t proofread your work, here is what you are saying to your instructor. “Your assignment is just not that important to me, so I am just handing in what I wrote without cleaning it up.” Or “I am basically a lazy person, and this is the best you can expect from me.” You don’t want to do this – instructors are human and they do take offense. So, here is your guide for proofreading everything that you write.

Only Proofread for One Thing at a Time

You are not a master proofreader, so don’t try to be. You need to go through your piece several times, looking for only one thing each time. For example, the first time, read it out loud to yourself to check for sentence and other wording errors. You can catch most if not all of these if you read it aloud. Once you have done that, you decide what you will check for next – spelling? Punctuation? Wrong word usage?

Re-Check and Facts, Figures and Other Numerical Information, as well as capitalization

No spell check will correct incorrect dates, amounts of money, percentages, etc. You may have typed them wrong and not known it. So, just double-check them.

Another thing spell check does not always do well is recognize proper names. So read through and make sure they are all capitalized.

Checking Punctuation

Here we go again. The biggest errors are usually in the use of commas. There are only a few comma rules really, and you should review them. But if you will read the piece out loud again and listen for where you pause naturally, you will pick up where commas should go. When in doubt, check the rules.

Using a Spellchecker is not Enough

Your spellchecker only lets you know if a particular word is spelled correctly. It does not tell you if you have used that word correctly. And there are many instances when incorrect usage is an issue. Do you know the difference between “their, there, & they’re,” “desert & dessert,” and “your & you’re?” If you are not sure, then you need a reference sheet for these kinds of words that sound the same but are spelled differently. There are some instructors who just see “red” when these words are used incorrectly, so let’s keep them calm. There are glossaries of mis-used words all over the Internet, so use one!

Proof for Subject-Verb Agreement

There are some errors that we make in everyday conversation that should not be made in formal writing. For example, we say, “Everyone want their voices heard.” “Everyone” is a singular pronoun, not plural. But the rest of the sentence treats it like it is plural. The proper way to write this sentence is, “Everyone wants his voice heard.” It may sound wrong to you, but it’s not. “Someone” and “anyone” is singular too.

Print Your Essay or Paper Out

Reading a hard copy of your piece will often let you find errors that you haven’t found reading it from the screen.

Read Your Piece Backwards

This is one of the best ways to find spelling errors, if you are typically a pretty good speller. When you are not reading the word in context and as a part of a sentence, it is easier to find your mis-spellings.

Get Some Help

Writing is just not everyone’s strength. Nor is grammar and punctuation. If you know that you have a problem in these areas, then you really should not be proofreading your own writing. If you a friend who is a good writer and is willing to help out, that is great. If not, you need to find a good writing service that can give you a quick turnaround time. When you find a good one, you can email your essay or paper over and have an English expert proofread and correct it – a smart choice if your goal is to get a good grade. In the meantime, you also need to bone up on the rules of grammar, composition and mechanics.

Make Your Own Cheat Sheet

You should identify the typical mistakes you make and put together a “cheat sheet” for yourself. You can refer to this as you write and as you proofread. And, as you do this, you will ultimately learn the rules that you have forgotten or never learned in the first place.

So…what will it be? How about making that fat lady sing?

A Human Trafficking Research Paper – Prepare for the Shock

A Human Trafficking Research Paper – Prepare for the Shock

There have been a number of television specials in recent years that have attempted to shine a light on the issue of human trafficking – an issue we all tend not to want to make ourselves aware of. And yet it continues, day after day, in countries all over the world, including in the United States, and it take many forms, all of which are hideous and horrific for the victims.

What is Human Trafficking? Getting at a Definition

The earliest forms of human trafficking were obviously the slave trade. Even in the Old Testament, we read that David’s brothers sold him into slavery. But our real knowledge of the slave trade came from original sources that depict the buying and selling of human beings for slave labor when it was perfectly legal to do so.

Today, human trafficking is illegal in every nation in the world. And the UN has come up with a definition that pretty accurately covers all form of this crime. It defines human trafficking as an act of recruiting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person by “improper means” for and “improper purpose” such as forced labor or exploitation sexual or otherwise). While this definition seems to cover it all, the trafficking of humans continues, while many governments either ignore the problem or condone it by their failure to take strong action.

Areas of Research for Good Human Trafficking Research Paper Topics

Here are some general areas of research that should provide excellent topics:

  1. Read the reports of the UN Commission on Human Rights that relate to human trafficking. You will get some amazing statistics and data, as well as the names of countries in which human trafficking seems to be most prevalent.
  2. Live stream documentaries that have been produced by investigative reporters about the human trafficking business. You will be amazed to learn how many wealthy businessmen, all over the world are involved in the sex trade industry.
  3. Read the stories of survivors of contemporary slave trade operations and use those stories as original, primary resources for your paper.
  4. Research human trafficking in the U.S. While you may have a superficial understanding of “pimps” and their “slave” prostitutes, you don’t know the “half of it.” One example for research might be the advertisements for “modeling” jobs to which young girls respond, only to find themselves drugged, kidnapped and shipped overseas to become the sex slaves of wealthy men all over the world.
  5. Research the organizations that attempt to rescue girls and young women from the slave trade industry, their tactics, and their successes/failures.
  6. Research what individual governments are doing to stop human trafficking in their own countries. How much are they allocating in resources to this effort? What are the penalties in place for offenders once they are caught?

Human trafficking is a real problem and a prevalent crime throughout the world. It is a fascinating topic for research but also a depressing one. What type of people engage in this business anyway? 

How to Write a Career Research Paper – Looking Realistically at Your Future

How to Write a Career Research Paper – Looking Realistically at Your Future

High school students all take “career exploration” coursework. It is either a part of another course of a course itself. In the course of that career exploration, they are usually asked to identify a career of interest and then to write a career research paper which delves into all of the details of that field. This is no longer just an exercise for high school students, however. As colleges are becoming more aware of the need for students to make wise career choices (since they are spending so much money on their educations), the requirement of a career research paper is also becoming a more popular assignment, as students declare their majors. The assignment may come in an early course in that major field, so that students are aware of all of the possibilities once they graduate and enter the work force.

When You Must Write a Career Research Paper

If you should be assigned a research paper on a career, you will need to understand two things:

  1. Your process will be no different than writing a research paper on any other topic. You will need to identify your topic and craft a thesis statement. Often, however, this thesis statement cannot be created until your research is completed and you have a better idea of what you really believe about a specific career and the choices you may have.
  2. There are very critical sub-topics that you must cover, and these will be outlined below.

The Sub-Topics for a Career Research Paper

Any research that you conduct relative to careers must include the following:

  1. What are the educational requirements in this career field? Are their opportunities for those with a two-year degree and a four-year degree? Are there opportunities for those who choose a vocational-technical program as opposed to an academic program of a college?
  2. What are the current positions in this career field – how many are actually employed in positions based upon education and skill training? What are current salaries of those in this field?
  3. What are the future prospects for this field? There are certain fields which have the potential to “explode” in the future – robotics, micro-medicine, artificial intelligence, certain fields of education, green energy, health care, leisure, etc. What are the prospects for employment and salary in your career choice?
  4. What stable companies and corporations will be supporting career positions in the field that you have chosen? Or will there be opportunities for entrepreneurship?

Sources of Information

As you conduct your research, you need to understand that an important part of knowing how to write a career research paper involves finding the right resource materials. These do not include such sources as Wikipedia or schools that are advertising for students. Instead, you need to go to objective sources – the Department of Labor and respected journals such as Forbes Magazine and the Huffington Post. These resources are online and will provide objective data that you can use to support you ultimate thesis statement. The really important other benefit from this research will be to give you the information you need to determine whether your career choice is going to satisfy your true passions and, as well, offer a means to make a decent living in the future.

Writing a career research paper will not “look” any different than writing a research paper on any other topic. The benefit of this assignment, however, is that you will come away with some really practical knowledge that may impact how you spend your education dollars.

How to Write an Essay Introduction that Will Hook your Audience

How to Write an Essay Introduction that Will Hook your Audience

A great introduction is an important element of any piece of writing. Just think about it for a moment, how many beloved novels begin with an unforgettable phrase or sentence? When you are writing an essay introduction, you too must write something that will hook your reader, and make them want to read more. Then, once you have your reader hooked, you must keep them interested by skillfully seguing into the topic at hand, and then present them with a clear and concise thesis statement. If you can accomplish these things, you will have won your audience over and they will be eager to read the rest of your essay. If you fail to do these things, not only will your audience feel lukewarm about your writing, they may not understand the points you make in the rest of the essay simply because your introduction paragraph lacked clarity and direction. Why not give a few of the following tips and tricks a try, the next time you are trying to write out your next introductory paragraph.

Open with a Story

When you research your topic, try to identify one or two stories that are related to your topic. These can be used in your introductory paragraph to get your audience interested and to add an element of realism to your writing. A good story can also evoke certain emotions in your readers. This is a great way to put them in the mood that you believe is best for reading, understanding, and relating to the points. Just be sure that your story isn’t so long that you take too much time before you introduce your topic.

Start with a Fact or a Statistic

If you cannot find a good story, or you believe a story is not appropriate for your essay topic, consider opening with an interesting fact or statistic that is related to the subject of your essay. This will make your readers stop and think for a moment. Then, the will want to continue to read in order to learn more.

Make it Personal

Think about your audience. What about your subject directly impacts them? If you can identify a key point that will make your subject relevant to your audience, they will definitely be interested in reading more.

Transition by Asking Readers to Reflect

One of the best ways to transition into your essay topic after your hook is to ask your audience to reflect on what they just read. Here are a few questions that can accomplish this quite effectively:

  • Doesn’t that make you angry?
  • How do those numbers make you feel?
  • Did you ever expect that this problem was so widespread?
  • How would you feel if this happened to somebody you love?

End with Your Thesis

The last thing your audience should read in your introduction is a well-written thesis statement. Once this is complete, you are ready to move on to the rest of your essay.

More Help Writing an Introduction for an Essay

If you need additional help, you may contact us for writing assistance. We are available 24 hours per day.

Catcher in the Rye Essay Ideas

Catcher in the Rye Essay Ideas

Writing a Catcher in the Rye Essay is such a common assignment that it is almost a rite of passage. In fact, if you are a college student, chances are good that you wrote an essay on this coming of age novel while you were in high school. Now, here you are faced with the same assignment. Only this time, things are different. The expectations are higher. Your instructors expect your writing skills to be more highly developed.  They also expect you to have more insight than your teachers in high school expected. That’s okay. You can do this. Just think of main character, Holden Caulfield as a familiar friend who you are writing about once again. Keep reading and we will provide some great ideas to get you started on your essay.

Essay Questions

  • How did Holden Caulfield’s relationships with his teachers impact his development and growth as he became a man?
  • One criticism that JD Salinger has faced is that his characters seem self-absorbed, judgmental, and emotionally stunted. Do you agree with this criticism? Defend your position in an argumentative essay.
  • How well does the character Holden hold up when compared with today’s youth? Is he a realistic character? Do young me today struggle with the thoughts and feelings that plagued Holden?
  • Would this novel have been a successful young adult novel if it was written today?
  • This book frequently makes banned books lists. Is there any content in The Catcher in the Rye that high school or college students would be scandalized by?
  • Do you wonder if JD Salinger and Holden Caulfield are the same person? Write an essay comparing the life of the author with the life of the character.
  • Holden judges people harshly that he believes are phonies. Is he too harsh in his judgments?
  • How does the theme of death impact the story?
  • This was, for its time, a book that shocked people with the amount of profanity that it contained. Do you believe the use of profanity was over the top, or that it was needed to paint a clear picture of the characters?
  • Was the ending of The Catcher in the Rye Satisfactory, or did Salinger leave too many loose ends?
  • Which character in the novel do you think had the biggest influence over Holden?

Once you have made your selection from this list of essay topics, you are ready to start writing. It is best to start with notes, and then write an outline in order to get your main points together. As you work through your outline, begin thinking about your formal thesis statement. It’s okay if you don’t have a thesis statement written out in the beginning, but you will need one before you can begin working on the rough draft. Remember that attention to detail is extremely important when writing essays at this level. Don’t worry too much though. If you have trouble with this essay or any other essay, our writers are always available to provide assistance with anything from writing to proofreading.

Topic Ideas for a Police Brutality Research Paper

Topic Ideas for a Police Brutality Research Paper

If you’ve watched the news during the last 12 months, you probably know that there have been several reported instances of police brutality in the United States. These have ranged from minor assaults to instances where people have become seriously, even fatally, injured. Some of these instances appear to be quite cut and dry while others are quite ambiguous. In any case, police brutality in America is a topic that is getting a lot of attention right now. The good news is that this means you will have a lot of information available to you as you write your police brutality research paper. The bad news is that you will have to sift through a lot of information, some of which is quite inaccurate, as you are writing your police brutality essay. So, be sure the information you are using is accurate. Once that is done, your next step is to find a good topic idea on the subject of police brutality.

Police Brutality Paper Topic Ideas

In order to write a research paper that is organized and has a good sense of focus, you will need to select a specific topic on which to write. The topic of police brutality is one that you can take in many different directions. On one hand this is a good thing because you have a variety of topics to select. On the other hand, narrowing down your choices can be difficult. Here are a few topic ideas that you can use for your police brutality essay or research paper.

  • Is police brutality in America a big problem or is it blown out of proportion by people with an agenda?
  • What is the most effective way to stop police brutality?
  • What are the primary causes of police brutality?
  • Why is there a tendency to believe law enforcement instead of the victims of police brutality?
  • Write an argumentative essay on the impacts of militarization of police departments and the level of police brutality.
  • Will community policing help the issue of brutality?
  • Do there need to be better screening policies for entry into police academies?
  • What recourse should the victims of police brutality have?
  • How should community leaders deal with the issue of police brutality?
  • Should police departments answer to civilian oversight committees?
  • Would police relationships improve if officers lived in the communities where they patrolled?
  • Write about the services that could be provided to police officers in order to prevent brutality
  • What is the best way to handle a complaint of brutality?
  • How can officers be convinced to testify against other officers who are a danger to the community?
  • Address the issue of economics and police brutality
  • What are the negative impacts on a community when a false accusation of police brutality is made?
  • Should police officers be required to wear body cameras?
  • Should it be a crime for a civilian to film the police?

Writing a Racial Profiling Research Paper

Writing a Racial Profiling Research Paper

Depending on where you grew up, racial profiling may be something that you experienced on a regular basis. It could also be a something of which you are completely unaware. Racial profiling is something that happens when members of racial minorities are targeted by law enforcement and other similar agencies simply due to their race, or the racial group that they appear to belong to. Racial profiling is something that is technically illegal in places, but it still happens. This may be changing slowly, but it is still a hot topic, and this explains why the racial profiling essay is currently a very timely and relevant writing assignment. Here are a few tips that can help you write a racial profiling research paper.

Track Down Some Good Resources

It does not matter which side of this issue that you choose to take. It just matters that you wisely select resources on and offline that are fair and objective. This is a subject that causes people to become pretty emotional, and there is a lot of divisive information that is not always accurate. So, before you decide that a source is worthwhile, do a bit of fact checking. Know who the person or entity behind the source is. Then, find out if that person or group has any kind of agenda that would cause them to be less than honest in their reporting. One way to make sure that your sources ‘pass the smell test’ is to focus on academic studies and statistics. If you do that, and then find some anecdotal evidence that also supports your thesis, you will have a great basis for your research paper.

Choose a Focal Point

Is your paper going to focus on racial profiling in law enforcement? If so, will you focus on the practice of racial profiling in street level policing, vice and drug enforcement, the court system, or in the corrections side of law enforcement. Will your focus be on the damage it does to police relationships with community members, or the damage that is done to minority populations who have many young men entering the criminal justice system at a young age, often for very minor crimes. Perhaps you will focus on something outside of criminal justice. You could, for example, write your paper on racial profiling in employment. There have been stories recently where people with very ethnic sounding names were receiving  no feedback on their resumes, but then received many callbacks after submitting their resumes using more ‘Anglo’ sounding.

Stay Organized

Once you have chosen a focal point, and tracked down some great resources, you are ready to take notes. Your goal here should be to stay as organized as possible. If you have problems with keeping paper notes organized, it may be a good idea to try a note taking app such as EverNote. This will allow you to enter notes with your device and then search them later when you are ready to write your research paper.

4 Habits of Successful College Students

4 Habits of Successful College Students

Have you ever wondered what it would take to be a successful college student? We have, and we’ve figured out the answers to the question how to be a successful college student. Are you interested in a bit of information that might help you on your path to college success? If so, keep reading. We sincerely believe that you can apply these 4 habits of successful college students to your own life and reap many great benefits.

  1. They are Self-Disciplined

College students who do well, do so because they apply a bit of self-discipline in their daily lives. They know that they are no longer being monitored by their parents or school staff, but they still do what they need to do each day. This means waking up and going to class in the morning in spite of being tired. It also means skipping out on social events when studying is much more important. This may sound like absolute drudgery, but the truth is this; Students who are self-disciplined in the first part of the term often have more than their fair share of free time later on. This is because they build up the grades and attendance records that allow them to relax at the end of the term they are in. This is what the best college students do.

  1. They ask for Help

When college students run into academic difficulties many of them make one of two mistakes. They either spend too much time working on something before they seek help, or they go into   denial mode and ignore their issue until it becomes too big. Successful college students on the other hand, recognize when they need help and they make an effort to get that help as soon as they can. They will contact their professors and advisers. They will arrange for tutoring, or to get writing help from a company like

  1. They keep up with Their health

Colds can become sinus infections. Sinus infections can become ear infections. Coughs can become bronchitis. An aching back can morph into muscle spasms that make it hard to get around. A cold sensitive tooth can become a dangerous abscess. The stress caused by adjusting to college can multiply until a student is so anxious that they feel as if they are unable to get out of bed. Making sure that they make and keep doctor’s appointments and do what they need to stay well is another one of the habits of successful college students.

  1. They Keep in Touch

Having a great base of friends and family to serve as a touchstone is a great thing. Successful students make time to keep up with family and friends. They know that these connections are so important to have when they need advice or just somebody to speak with. Successful students also know that connections from home can make them feel connected and loved when their lives feel stressful and out of control.

APA, MLA, Harvard – The Most Common Citation Styles Visualized

Since the dawn of civilization text visualization has been a proven method to enhance reading comprehension, so why not apply to the boring citation style rules? We have made understandable, by gathering into an infographic, three of the most popular styles – APA, MLA and Harvard – choose one depending on the style your professor and/or institution has set for your paper.


APA, MLA, Harvard - The Most Common Citation Styles Visualized

* Click the image to enlarge.

Fun Classroom Activities for College Students

Fun Classroom Activities for College Students

There are many great reasons to deviate from the normal classroom routine. This is as true for college students as it is for younger students. Fun classroom activities for college students can be used as icebreakers at the beginning of  a semester. They can be used to break up the monotony of a long and boring unit. They can also be used as a reward for getting through a difficult assignment as a class. Class activities for college students are also a great way to teach concepts while engaging students in a non-traditional ways. Incorporating classroom activities that are enjoyable for students creates a learning environment that is supportive, friendly, and enjoyable. Students who have instructors who make an effort to create an enjoyable classroom experience tend to be students who are more engaged in the learning process.

Classroom Activities as Icebreakers

Icebreakers may not be important in a classroom where students will work on their own for the most part. However, in classes where collaboration and cooperation are needed, it can be very beneficial to utilize a few icebreaker activities to get to know one another. Here are some great examples of ice breaker  activities for collee students:

  • Having students interview each other and introduce one another to the class
  • Having groups of college students work together as a team to work on a project
  • Playing  games that require cooperation between students who do not have the benefit of knowing one another.

Diversity Activities for College Student

Sometimes instructors have something more important to do than making sure that students enjoy themselves. Sometimes, they must take it on as their job to promote cultural sensitivity in the classroom. This is why many instructors must focus on the importance of cultural acceptance and diversity. Instructors who need to use student activities to ensure that members of  all cultures get together can encourage activities that respect diversity, and the fact that students must work to understand and work with students who are from different cultures One activity involves reviewing proverbs from various cultures to show how values and beliefs are similar in spite of cultural differences. One example of this is the golden rule. There are many cultures who have a saying that is similar to the golden rule that is familiar to American students.

Fun Classroom Activities

Sometimes, it is perfectly acceptable to plan classroom activities for no reason other simple enjoyment.  After all, college classes can be intent, and the ability to enjoy some levity can go a great way towards promoting classroom morale. The possible activities are nearly limitless. If the weather is nice, for example, the class can go outside for an impromptu game of kickball. In the classroom options include board game or card game tournaments, video games, telling stories in the round, or even enjoying a movie. If students are allowed one or two class sessions that are a little more relaxed and a little less task oriented, there is a good chance that they will be focused and eager to learn when they must be engaged.

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