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Writing: Mechanics

MLA and APA Formatting

Here is an excellent resource for helping you figure out MLA and APA formatting. Keep in mind that you may not need all of the formatting explained on the site (for example, you may or may not need an abstract section for your psychology paper). Check with your teacher or professor to make sure you know what is required.

Most of the time you will need to use proper formatting for all in-text citations (all direct quotes you got from somewhere else, as well as all paraphrases or summaries you made of someone else’s material), and also a bibliography at the end of your paper (called works cited, or references).

Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab

Common Grammar Errors

Comma Splice — example:

In English my name means hope, in Spanish it means too many letters.


Diction (informal or incorrect word choice) — examples:

English class sucks.

This essay will be about the recline and fall of the Roman empire.


Incorrect Modifier (adjective, adverb) — example:

I am feeling good today.


Modifier Position (dangling modifier, misplace modifier) — examples:

(Misplaced:) The ex-convict threatened to kill the district attorney at least twice.

(Dangling:) Driving to the old house, the family cat got loose in the car.


Possession — example:

It was my great-grandmothers sewing machine.


Preposition — example:

At what city is the Empire State Building?


Pronoun Case — examples:

Open the door, Norton; it’s me.

Neither Hamlet nor Macbeth had the luxury of talking about their problems to a psychologist.


Punctuation — examples:

After you back out of that space I’ll pull in.

The bank, which was robbed was closed for two weeks.

Maxwell Edison, was a famous mass murderer.


Run-On Sentence — examples:

The story goes she never forgave him she looked out the window her whole life.

The story goes she never forgave him and she looked out the window her whole life.


Sentence Fragment — example:

If I were a carpenter and you were a lady.


Verb Form — example:

Any of the books that you find in there are mine.


Verb Tense — example:

When he looked at the car carefully, he noticed that the engine is missing.


Spelling — examples:

Your bark is worse then your bite.

If there their by too o’clock, then I’ll be they’re by to o’clock two.

(Correction: If they’re there by two o’clock, then I’ll be there by two o’clock too.)

Go Fish in
Streams of Consciousness:

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