“A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil substitutes for literacy. But writing without a pencil is no particular advantage.” Robert McNamara

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When doing research, avoid sources that use advertising. Advertising can affect content.

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“Learn as much by writing as by reading.” Lord Acton

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Anyone can get a .com. Avoid whenever possible when doing research.

Question everything and everyone, including me.

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Commonly Confused Words: Shall and Will

Granted, there isn’t really a distinction between “shall” and “will” in Modern English, other than a vague sense that “shall” is more formal. Yet I’ve wondered about their difference, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If nothing else, why would we need a more formal version of “will”?

The words have different origins; “shall” comes from roots meaning “necessity” and “will” from “wish.” It makes sense, then, to have verbs that effectively mean the same thing but with different flavors. I shall do it because I have to; I will do it because I wish to.

For a time, some grammarians suggested that “shall” be used when discussing the future and “will” for any other time. “I will do it” = I will do it right now. “I shall do it” = I will do it in the future.

Other grammarians suggest “shall” is for first person (I shall, we shall) and “will” for second and third (you will, they will).

These days, “shall” tends to sound pretentious. A writer does not have to follow any of the above rules for shall and will, since those are barely rules to begin with. As always, consider the audience: what makes the most sense for them?

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Evaluate sources: author’s credentials, copyright date, cited sources

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“I love writing, but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, ‘You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, Giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy: I’m a white piece of paper. You wanna dance with me?’ and I really, really don’t. I’ll go peaceable-like.” Aaron Sorkin

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How long should your paper be? Convert words to pages: http://www.wordstopages.com/


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Google Docs and Office 365 make collaborating easy; you can all work on the same document at the same time on different computers.

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“What amazes me is that most days feel useless. I don’t seem to accomplish anything-just a few pages, most of which don’t seem very good. Yet, when I put all those wasted days together, I somehow end up with a book of which I’m very proud.” Louis Sachar

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