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Writing Assistance Links

The most helpful website for writing is Perdue OWL (Online Writing Lab).  It is an easy-to-use online writing lab with documentation information, grammar exercises, and writing style explanations.  It even has information about how to prepare a resume and write a cover letter for job applications (for after graduation!).  Below are a couple of quick links.

The main page: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Research and Citation MLA, APA, Chicago, and more): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/

Writing topics, such as grammar or punctuation: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/

Research
While this website lists documentation information like other websites, it also has a database of places where you could find resources for your topic.  After deciding if your field is in the Humanities, Social Sciences, History, or Sciences, you can then narrow down to your specific field under “finding sources.”  Then you’ll find a list of reference books, databases, and websites for you to rummage through. http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/

There are more helpful research websites in the Academic Assistance Links page.

Writing
Here’s a thesis generator.  Don’t get too excited!  It’s not magic.  You still have to work with it by giving correct information about your essay, so it is only as helpful as you can make it.  However, it is a good place to learn about formulating thesis statements because it shows you how it creates thesis statements, so don’t skip through the intro. http://corptrain.phoenix.edu/thesis_generator/thesis_generator.html

This website breaks down different writing issues by topic and then gives clear explanations and examples.  It covers everything from passive voice to specifics about assignments, like abstracts or speeches.  There’s even information about writing in specific fields.  There is some citation information, but nothing specific about MLA or APA.  http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/

Here is a detailed description of everything you might come across in grammar.  It covers everything from what verbs are to how to properly use modifiers to how diction changes in your writing.  http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/

The Elements of Style is a listing of grammar and composition rules with clear explanations and examples.  There’s even a list of commonly misused words or phrases that even the best writers would find interesting. http://www.bartleby.com/141/

There are a ton of free online dictionaries that work well enough, but check out this one.  It is a collection of dictionaries, so it will give you several definitions clearly listed by dictionary.  It also includes sentence examples, synonyms, and antonyms.  And, just for fun, it also tells you how many times that word has been looked up, how many times it has been bookmarked, and its scrabble score.  http://www.wordnik.com/

Confused about which word to use?  “Accept” and “Except” always trip you up?  Not sure if you should use “among” or “between”?  This is a list of common mistakes and tricky choices. http://englishplus.com/grammar/mistcont.htm

Documentation
This writing center has really helpful pages on different documentation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago.  It also has information on how to quote or paraphrase in your papers, along with tips and hints that will help you develop good paraphrases. http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Documentation.html

Helpful Links for ESL Students
This is Perdue OWL’s ESL helpful tips.  It is where you will find format and other stylistic tips about American writing, not for grammar (for grammar, see the next link below). http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/5/25/

Perdue OWL’s exercise lab includes all sorts of clearly labeled exercises with answer keys in topics such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, sentence style, paraphrasing, and writing numbers.  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/

This site is specifically for the ESL community – for teachers and students.  The page in the link below is specifically for ESL students.  Here you’ll find helpful hints, explanations of idioms and slang, and a help center with a discussion forum, among other useful tools.  http://www.eslcafe.com/students/

There are many free online dictionaries.  Here’s the link to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/

This is a detailed description of American Academic writing, along with a few more links to helpful websites. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/special/esl.shtml

Here is more information about Argument papers, which are a favorite writing style for projects among American professors.  http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/argument.html