Previous Monthly Tips
July's Tip of the Month
Technically, the word "agenda" is a plural noun! The formal singular of the word is "agendum," but "agenda" has nevertheless received widespread acknowledgment as a singular noun itself.
August's Tip of the Month
In American English, we put punctuation marks inside quotation marks. "Like this." In British English, the placement of the punctuation depends on whether it was (or was not) part of the original quotation. Although the American rule may be less logical, it's easier to remember. Put the punctuation inside the quotation mark.
September's Tip of the Month
Distinguishing when to use "that" versus "which" can often be confusing. Generally, use "which" only as part of a clause that can be separated from the rest of the sentence without changing its meaning. "That," on the other hand, should be used in all other situations.
October's Tip of the Month
Use a comma after a conjunction (and, or, but, etc.) when the clause following the conjunction is an independent clause. An independent clause can stand on its own as a sentence.
November's Tip of the Month
Prepositions are (typically small) words that connect nouns (or noun substitutes) to other words in a sentence. The vast majority of prepositions used in writing will come from the following list: with, to, from, at, in, of, by, for, on, about.
December's Tip of the Month
The words "a," "an," and "the" are articles. Articles are words that are used to establish nouns as either definite or indefinite. Definite nouns require the article "the," while indefinite nouns require either "a" or "an" depending on whether or not the noun begins with a consonant or a vowel, respectively.
January's Tip of the Month
Trying to decide between "affect" and "effect?" This mnemonic device might help: RAVEN -- Remember, Affect Verb, Effect Noun.
February's Tip of the Month
Don't combine independent clauses with just a comma! Instead, use one of these alternate techniques: a semicolon, a coordinating conjunction (such as "and"), or a compound verb (two actions affecting a single subject).
March's Tip of the Month
Introductory clauses should always be followed by a comma. An introductory clause can often be identified by determining if it begins with a starter word. Common examples of these words are: after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.
April's Tip of the Month
April is National Poetry Month! Come visit the Writing Center and contribute to the Community Verse Project. The project is a collaborative effort to produce a piece of poetry unique to the USM-LAC community. All are invited to add to the piece---stop by and add a line to the project!