Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lesson 310 - Mechanics - Capitalization

Capitalize geographic names and places. Examples: Mount Rushmore, Hudson Bay, Michigan Avenue, Washington D.C.

Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.

1. We visited the black hills and the badlands this summer.

2. Is broadway in the bronx?

3. Many new jersey cities have interesting names such as whippany.

4. The ozarks have many interesting stories about them.

5. france and england have fought a lot throughout history.

--For answers scroll down.


1. Black Hills/Badlands

2. Broadway/Bronx

3. New Jersey/Whippany

4. Ozarks

5. France/England

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8 Scrumptious Words to Describe Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Chefs are like writers—always combining the elements of their trade to create new works of art. How else do you think we got ice cream made with liquid nitrogen? When it comes to describing food, some writers stick to common words: delicious, tasty, yummy. But eating is a multisensory experience. Here are some scrumptious food adjectives to appeal to all our senses.

Toothsome means pleasing to the taste. But the mention of teeth conjures up thoughts of how food feels in your mouth. For some, the appeal of potato chips is in the delightful crunch. Many disdain cereal after milk changes its texture. Which foods please your palate and your teeth?

Ambrosial derives from ambrosia. You might know it as a sweet fruit dessert, but it was first the name of the food of the gods of Greek mythology. Now, anything especially delicious or fragrant is ambrosial. Can you think of a snack that smells and tastes divine?

Redolent refers to having a pleasing odor. Writers often use it for foods that are naturally fragrant, such as garlic, herbs, and citrus fruits.

Nectarous foods have the sweet, delicious taste of nectar or resemble it in appearance. Rarely, the adjective is spelled nectareous or nectarean. However you spell it, the food it describes is delish!

Sapid dishes are agreeable to the tongue. Sapid also means flavorful. Yes, it’s a rather mild compliment to give, but praise is praise.

Aperitive means stimulating to the appetite. You may know the related French word, apĆ©ritifs: appetite-boosting alcoholic beverages such as pastis, champagne, or dry sherry. Fragrant spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, and fennel are aperitive. That’s why the smell of highly spiced foods may make your stomach rumble.

Many of the adjectives in this article are defined in the dictionary using the terms “agreeable” or “pleasing”.

Piquant is no different. In particular, piquant meals are pungent, sharp, biting, or tart—in a good way. To give you an idea, peppery, zesty, and highly seasoned are among the synonyms of this flavorful word.

Herbaceous fare often smells amazing. Rosemary, mint, and other aromatic herbs are responsible for the mouthwatering odors. In addition to their smell and taste, herbs offer health benefits. Research from the National Academy of Sciences suggests that oregano, for example, is helpful in fighting inflammation.

How was your last meal? Perhaps before reading this article, you would have been content to describe it as delectable. But after considering how eating activates the senses, can you think of a better adjective? Why not surprise your host at the next dinner party you attend with an adjective that reflects how multidimensional the food is!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This Is How to Write an Effective Research Paper

There are two words that evoke instant anxiety in nearly every academic—research paper. In this article, we’ll break down the steps to writing a research paper.

Here’s a tip: Although the research paper format is fairly standardized, writing guidelines may vary not only among academic institutions but also among individual professors. Pay attention to any how-to handouts you’ve received, and don’t forget to check your university’s writing lab for more resources.

How does a research paper differ from a research proposal?

A research paper is different from a research proposal (also known as a prospectus), although the writing process is similar. Research papers are intended to demonstrate a student’s academic knowledge of a subject. A proposal is a persuasive piece meant to convince its audience of the value of a research project. Think of the proposal as the pitch and the paper as the finished product.

A prospectus is a formal proposal of a research project developed to convince a reader (a professor or research committee, or later in life, a project coordinator, funding agency, or the like) that the research can be carried out and will yield worthwhile results.

Wichita State University Department of English

Dig into the research process.

Although we’ll focus more on the organization and writing of a research paper in this article, the research process is an important first step. Research will help you in several ways:

  • understanding your subject
  • formulating ideas for your paper
  • developing a thesis statement
  • speaking about your topic with authority

Gather resource materials and begin reviewing them. Here are a few good information sources:

As you read and evaluate the information you discover, take notes. Keep track of your reference materials so you can cite them and build your bibliography later. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) and other university writing lab websites are excellent resources to help you understand what information you’ll need to collect to properly cite references.

Here’s a tip: Try storing your notes in a spreadsheet. Create columns for elements you want to include in your paper as well as information necessary for your citations/bibliography. Columns can include headings such as Title, Author, Reference link, Page number, and Quotes.
Here’s a tip: Check with your instructor or university writing lab to determine the preferred citation style. Grammarly Premium identifies things that need to be cited and helps you cite them.

Organize before you start writing.

Your research spawned tons of ideas. Great! Now you’re ready to begin the process of organizing your presentation . . . before you begin writing. Don’t skip the organization step—it’s critical to your paper’s success. Without it, your paper will lack focus and you’ll spend much more time in the revision process trying to make sense of your jumbled thoughts.

The Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay.

Purdue OWL – Developing a Thesis

Most research papers begin with a thesis statement at the end of an introductory paragraph. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s a good idea to write a thesis statement as you begin to organize your research. Writing the thesis statement first is helpful because every argument or point you make in your paper should support this central idea you’re putting forward.

Most research papers fall into one of three categories: analytical, expository, or argumentative. If you’re presenting an analysis of information, then your paper is analytical. If you’re writing to explain information, then your paper is expository. If you’re arguing a conclusion, then it’s argumentative or persuasive. Your thesis statement should match the type of paper you’re writing.

Invest time in writing your thesis statement—it’s the main idea of your paper, from which everything else flows. Without a well-thought-out thesis statement, your paper is likely to end up jumbled and with an unclear purpose. Here’s more guidance from Purdue OWL.

The Outline

An outline will help you organize your thoughts before you dig into the writing process. Once you’ve developed your thesis statement, think about the main points you’ll need to present to support that statement. Those main points are your sub-headings. Now, organize your thoughts and information under each sub-heading.

Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach. (You know, the one where you throw in every bit of interesting research you uncovered, including the fungal growth in the U-joint of your kitchen sink?) Everything you learn may be fascinating, but not all of it is going to be relevant to your paper.

Need more help? Here’s an effective outlining strategy.

Writing the Research Paper

The good news is, once you reach this point in the process you’re likely to feel energized by all the ideas and thoughts you’ve uncovered in your research, and you’ll have a clear direction because you’ve taken the time to create a thesis statement and organize your presentation with an outline.

Here are the best elements to a research paper:

1 The Introduction

Here’s where you present the background and context for the rest of your article. Craft a strong opening sentence that will engage the reader. Just because you’re writing an academic research paper doesn’t mean you have to be dry and boring.

Here’s a tip: See Step 4 in our guide to better content writing. Although it’s about writing for the web, it’s relevant here, too.

Explain the purpose of your paper and how you plan to approach the topic. (Is this a factual report? An analysis? A persuasive piece?) Describe how you’ve organized your approach to the topic. Conclude the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement.

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:

  • What is this?
  • Why am I reading it?
  • What do you want me to do?
  • You should answer these questions by doing the following:
  • Set the context – Provide general information about the main idea, explaining the situation so the reader can make sense of the topic and the claims you make and support.
  • State why the main idea is important – Tell the reader why he or she should care and keep reading. Your goal is to create a compelling, clear, and convincing essay people will want to read and act upon.
  • State your thesis/claim – Compose a sentence or two stating the position you will support with logos (sound reasoning: induction, deduction), pathos (balanced emotional appeal), and ethos (author credibility).
Purdue OWL

MORE INFO: Starting Your Research Paper: Writing an Introductory Paragraph

2 The Body

Here’s where your outline will come in handy. As you’re writing, remember that your outline isn’t meant to be a prison—it’s a guideline to keep you on track. Your paper may evolve, so keep it fluid, but do remember to stay focused on your thesis statement and proving your points. Don’t let your sources organize your paper! Organize first and use your sources as they become relevant.

Consider the Rule of Three. Find supporting arguments for each point you make, and present a strong point first, followed by an even stronger one, and finish with your strongest point.

MORE INFO: Strong Body Paragraphs

3 Conclusion

Now, it’s time to wrap it up. Most research papers conclude with a restated thesis statement. Present your thesis again, but reword it. Briefly summarize the points you’ve made. Take a moment to explain why you believe those points support your case. If your research is inconclusive, take a moment to point out why you believe this topic bears further research.

MORE INFO: USC Libraries Research Guides: The Conclusion

Checklist for Revising Your Research Paper Draft

Make sure you allow time to revise and edit after you’ve completed your first draft. This part of the process is about much more than just fixing typos and adding or subtracting commas. Here’s a handy checklist to help you make sure your paper is on point.

Developmental Edit

  • Is your thesis statement clear and concise?
  • Is your paper well-organized and does it flow from beginning to end with logical transitions?
  • Do your ideas follow a logical sequence in each paragraph?
  • Have you used concrete details and facts and avoided generalizations?
  • Do your arguments support and prove your thesis?
  • Have you avoided repetition?
  • Are your sources properly cited?
  • Have you checked for accidental plagiarism?

Line Edit

  • Is your language clear and specific?
  • Do your sentences flow smoothly and clearly? (Hint: Read your paper aloud to help you catch syntax problems.)
  • Have you avoided filler words and phrases?
  • Have you checked for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation? (Hint: Grammarly can help!)

Thorough research, thoughtful organization and presentation, and attention to detail in your developmental and final line edit will help you succeed in crafting a winning research paper.

The post This Is How to Write an Effective Research Paper appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Quiz: Do You Know How to Network?

Networking can be a challenge.

There’s more to it than just researching events, identifying contacts, and following up. You also have to balance talking about your goals and interests against getting to know others. Effective networking as much an art as a science.

This quiz will guide you through some key aspects of effective networking and help you understand how good a networker you are.

Do you need to brush up on your skills? Here are our top networking tips.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Lesson 307 - Mechanics - Capitalization

Capitalize North, South, East, West, and words such as Northwest when they indicate a section of the world or country. Do not capitalize them when they indicate a direction.

Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.

1. I used to live in the northwest.

2. go north a mile and then turn east for two miles.

3. The west is burning up this year.

4. The Navahos of the southwest make beautiful blankets.

5. The north is cold, but if you travel south, the weather becomes warmer.

--For answers scroll down.


1. Northwest

2. Go

3. West

4. Southwest

5. North

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at Our lessons are also available to purchase in eBook and Workbook format.
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Here’s How to Write a Perfect Letter of Interest

Your perfect job with the perfect company may not be advertised. So, how do you find gigs from within the hidden job market? You ask about them. Here’s how to write a letter of interest that will get you noticed . . . and maybe even result in a job.

Years ago, before I was the full-blown word monkey that I am today, I relocated to a new city. I’d left a job I loved—doing marketing for a dog grooming school. I knew I wanted to keep working in a field related to both marketing and pets. But I also knew that, in the small city I’d moved to, that was going to be a pretty slim job search net to cast. I’d have to get creative.

I set my sights on a large, upscale pet boarding kennel. I wrote the kennel’s owners a letter of interest, including clips from a portfolio of marketing materials I’d created, and asked them if they needed some help from an experienced pet industry professional to build their brand even further.

Although the kennel didn’t have an opening, or any role related to marketing, they did call me in to chat. Two weeks later, they created a position for me and I was employed doing something I enjoyed in an industry I loved.

Why Write a Letter of Interest?

The letter of interest is a job prospecting tool. Job hunting legend has it that 70 to 80 percent of open positions are never advertised. Although that figure is probably way higher than it should be, the truth is there are potential job opportunities out there that you’re not hooking as you troll the waters of Glassdoor, Indeed, and

Say you’re intrigued by a young startup and you wish they were hiring for a position that fit your skills. You could haunt the careers page of their website and hope for the best, or you could write a letter of interest to introduce yourself and begin the networking process. Which do you think will yield the best results?

A letter of interest may not get you immediately hired, but it has many advantages. It shows you have both interest and initiative—two things employers are always looking for. It also demonstrates your ability to market yourself through personal branding. In many cases, your letter will be regarded as a formal request to be considered for employment, so it will become part of a human resources file. When a position does open, guess whose letter and resume will be at the top of the pile instead of buried under a mountain of applications?

Your goal is to find out exactly what the company of your dreams looks for in an employee. Then, you’re going to become that person—the mythical Ideal Candidate.

How to Write a Letter of Interest

1 Write it like a business letter.

The first and most important thing to remember about writing a letter of interest is that it’s a business letter—treat it like one. Use the standard business letter format. Be professional.

Here’s a tip: Being professional doesn’t mean being stuffy. It’s always a good idea to try to match the communication style of the company you’re reaching out to. Look at their marketing copy, job postings, and website. If their approach to communication is more casual, yours can be, too.

2 Find the right contact.

Even if you have to call the company, get the name (and possibly the email address) of the best person to contact with your inquiry. If you do call or email to ask for a contact name, be direct. Say, “I’m interested in learning more about employment opportunities in your [department]. Would you tell me the name of the person responsible for hiring those positions and the best way to contact them?”

3 Research the company.

I scored that marketing job in a long-ago time before the Internet was mainstream. When I wrote my hard copy letter and prepared my clips, I didn’t even know what a letter of interest was. I was operating on instinct. You have the advantage of a ton of information right in your pocket anytime you need it. Let’s use it!

Your goal is to find out exactly what the company of your dreams looks for in an employee. Then, you’re going to become that person—the mythical Ideal Candidate. Check the company’s social media feeds and the careers and culture pages on its website for clues about the type of people they hire. Read job descriptions for their open positions; they’ll give you insight even if the jobs aren’t a fit for your talents.

Learn about their brand style—are they funky and fun or conservative and all business? Mirror that style to show that you’d be a good cultural fit.

4 Show how you’d add value.

Unlike a cover letter, where you’re homing in on skills and traits for a specific position, a letter of interest should demonstrate to the employer that you have a variety of skills that would make you a great fit in lots of different places. Think broadly and you’ll open more doors. What skills would make you an asset to the company?

The key to a successful letter of interest is not in showing off what you can do, but in showing what you can do for the company. Demonstrate excitement, not arrogance.

5 Keep it short, but write it powerfully.

Hiring managers and department heads don’t have a lot of extra time to read your magnum opus on why you’re awesome. The key is to be brief but memorable. Make every word count.

Avoid filler words and phrases. Keep your writing lean and clean. Use some power words to make your writing pop.

Letter of Interest Structure


Let’s start with the simple stuff first! (You do know what day it is, right?) You’ll need this only for hard copy letters; in email, the date stamp is fine.

Contact Information

In a hard copy letter, put your contact info here. Include your phone number and email address. In an email, include your contact information after your signature, instead.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to put Phone: and Email: in front of your phone number and email address. That’s just clutter. The hiring manager probably won’t have trouble figuring out what that ten-digit number and the thing with the @ symbol are.


Greet the hiring manager or department head by name. And please do your best to find a name. (See Tip #2!) Avoid To Whom It May Concern. Nobody ever got truly concerned with, or even interested in, an email that began thus.

Opening Paragraph

Briefly introduce yourself and tell the hiring manager why you’re writing. Share your enthusiasm for the company—why do you want to work there?

Qualifications/Experience Paragraph

Talk about what you bring to the table. Let the hiring manager know why hiring you would add value to her team. Demonstrate the qualities you have that mesh well with the company’s mission and culture. (This is why you did all that research!)

The key to a successful letter of interest is not in showing off what you can do, but in showing what you can do for the company. Think in terms of excitement, not arrogance.

Close by casting a networking net.

You’re not going to close by saying something like “I hope you’ll keep me in mind if you have an opening in the future,” right?

Never! You’re better than that.

Close by asking for something. Use a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage the hiring manager to connect with you. You might ask for an informational interview—an opportunity for you to sit down with the hiring manager and learn more about the company.

Letter of Interest Example

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I’ve been following the Alpha Beta Company’s trajectory since it launched in 2007. When the company reached 10 million active users last month, I thought about how exciting it would be to be part of a team with the potential to grow that number to 20 million and beyond. I’m writing you to express my interest in joining your team and to learn more about upcoming employment opportunities.

I’ve been a user acquisition manager at XYZ, Inc. for five years. At XYZ, I developed the go-to-market strategy for new apps and performed analysis to calculate how our campaigns influenced user engagement. As you may know, XYZ operates in a smaller niche market. Even so, during my time with them, XYZ’s user base grew from just five hundred beta users to over 3 million today. In the ten years since I graduated with a bachelor of science in business and marketing from Great Big University, I’ve managed and launched hundreds of successful marketing campaigns on channels ranging from print media to social media to videos.

I’m excited by the idea of working in a larger market and for a company that is constantly innovating and recognized as an industry leader. I’ve enclosed my resume, which outlines my experience and skills. I’d love to sit down and talk with you about Alpha Beta’s explosive growth and new user acquisition strategy. Would you be open to meeting with me at your convenience?


Your Name

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lesson 306 - Mechanics - Capitalization

Capitalize the days of the week, the months of the year, but do not capitalize the seasons. Example: Monday, March, summer

Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.

1. monday, may 1st was an important day.

2. we need more rain in the spring of the year.

3. I like december and the summer best.

4. The class will be thursday, friday, and saturday.

5. Will you come next tuesday and tell us about preparations for winter?

--For answers scroll down.


1. Monday/May

2. We

3. December

4. Thursday/Friday/Saturday

5. Tuesday

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
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