Vatterott OKC Paralegal Studies

We don't teach you what to think. We teach you HOW to think.

Archive for the category “Writing Tips”

Grammar Basics

Here are some words you should know how to use (and how to use those words):

  • They’re – contraction of they are; they are going to class.
  • Their – possessive; that is their midterm project.
  • There – a place or position; put your book over there.
  • Too – a higher degree, very; don’t be too late to your appointment; it was windy, too.
  • To – motion or direction; he wrote a letter to his friend; he pulled the car to the garage.

More tips:

  • An apostrophe ‘s’ indicates possession and does not make a word plural.  Example: I have games for my XBox.  Those are Robin’s games for her XBox.
  • Yes, commas are a necessity.  However, they are easily abused.  Learn when to use a comma.  If you need a refresher, I can give you some individual advice.
  • Your APA reference sheet should be alphabetized, first line of each reference aligned to the left, and all other lines pertaining to each reference are indented five spaces.
  • In text citations – you need these!
  • is your friend.  It will format your references for you AND give you the in text citation.
  • Remember to proof your document before submitting it.In fact, it is often beneficial to walk away from your project for even ten minutes and look at it with a “fresh” set of eyes.
  • Do not write in third person or first person.  The papers you write for my courses are generally NOT opinion papers.  Do not use “you.” Do not use “me.”  Do not use “I.”  Use words such as we, he, she, one, ourselves, and themselves.
  • Write in an active voice.  If you don’t understand how to do that or need assistance, meet with me.

Domestic strangulation?

Domestic strangulation?

He’s 34 and the nephew is 28.  When you first see the article, it appears a little misleading.  When we see a headline such as this one, the natural presumption is that a child was involved.  As it is shown from this title, word choice is important and it can have a huge effect on what we think or feel even before we read the article.

Also, domestic strangulation?  That’s a new one for me!

Semicolon – It’s Your Friend!

You need to learn to use a semicolon.

The Promiscuous Writer

It really is your friend.  It’s not hard to use.

My rule is relatively easy.  I won’t go into telling you about related independent clauses because then you will ask, “What’s an independent clause?”

If you have a longer sentence that includes:

  • but
  • and
  • however
  • furthermore

And such and such…you, too, can use the semicolon.

  • I taught for four hours today, but I don’t feel like I accomplished enough.
  • I taught for four hours today; I don’t feel like I accomplished enough.


  • I am watching Judge Alex while writing this blog.  However, you should know I’m really bored.
  • I am watching Judge Alex while writing this blog; you should know I’m really bored.

You can use it for choppy sentences as long as they relate.

  • I am drinking a Dirty Shirley. It’s mostly gin.
  • I am drinking a Dirty Shirley; it’s mostly gin.

Got it?  Good!

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Sentence Length

Sentence Length.

via Sentence Length.

Sentence length is vital in all writing.

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