Poor grammar, typos, punctuation, and misspelled words may discourage anyone from reading a book or a piece of writing. So you understand how important it is to write everything properly, double-checking, and avoid any types of mistakes.
This is what writing conventions exist for. And below, you will find a detailed guide on how to master all the necessary skills and become an excellent writer. Let’s start your trip to the world of writing without errors and mistakes!
The definition of writing conventions
We bet you have faced that term at least once throughout your studies. And writing conventions are the aspects that make your writing clear, readable, and understandable. They are aimed to make the audience understand what the piece of writing was intended to.
Everything seems to be so clear but some students still are not that excited about that language part. Yes, it may not be fun to learn some rules and edit writings to learn how to follow those rules.
But there is no choice and every successful student should know these basics, so let us make everything clear the soonest, so you could make the process much easier and more exciting.
The types of writing conventions
You probably already guessed that the main writing conventions are grammar, punctuation, and spelling. We all start learning at the earliest age when we just start our school life.
And if you have not paid much attention to them at the beginning of your studies, you should start doing it now because when you come to college, mastering all these three conventions is a must for essay writing. None of the essays can be written well without knowing these basics.
Grammar is a queen of essay writing and it supposes you to know how to change the word forms and combine them into sentences properly. Speaking is easier than writing. And if you speak well and think you know how to do it well, it doesn’t mean you will succeed in writing.
Every student has to master the time usage, know the difference between the Present, Past, and Future tenses. The outcome of your work on the essay depends on it while your reader may simply lose the track of time if the actions are not described taking into account the sequence of tenses.
Spelling is not less important than grammar. You know that some words may sound the same but they are spelled differently. Sometimes, just one letter may change the meaning of the whole sentence, so we should pay special attention to spelling. For example, students often use quiet instead of quite. Such mistakes can be crucial for your final grade.
Lots of students do not pay enough attention to that writing convention and they should. Punctuation also plays an important role in writing essays.
Your readers understand the flow of your thoughts thanks to punctuation, as well as the whole mood of your message. Remember that commas mean pauses. Over- or under using them means confusing your audience.
If you are intended to get the best grade for your essay, you should not underestimate dashes and hyphens, too. And believe us, teachers will not accept your explanations about your writing style. There are certain academic standards, according to which you are estimated.
And if you do not want to fail you should not neglect to learn how to use those three writing conventions properly. Before developing your writing style, you should first master those writing skills and, of course, mater the usage of three main writing conventions.
Tips on using writing conventions
Of course, the genre and content of a piece of writing affect the rules of language. And you cannot apply the conventions you use for instant messaging, for example, to write a college essay.
Your professor will not accept any shortened words, and any slang or informal language, so don’t even think to use it, even if you think you are so successful communicating on Twitter or Instagram.
The same concerns poems, for example. The rules applied for writing poetry may not be applied to writing any type of essay. So, here are the main tips relating to writing a college essay:
- Sentences should be complete;
- Using fragments is forbidden;
- Punctuation marks are a must;
- All citations should be written correctly;
- Avoid using abbreviations and run-on sentences;
- When you first mention someone, write his or her entire name.
What is capitalization?
As we mentioned above, grammar, punctuation, and spelling are three key writing conventions every student should know and remember even with their eyes closed. And capitalization is another writing convention every student should master and not to neglect to learn its basics.
The uppercase or capital letters should be also properly used and you may be surprised but there are rules of capitalization, too. You should know from early childhood that the first word of each new sentence always starts with a capital letter. It is as easy as one plus one.
But it is also important to know why the first letter in some words in a sentence may be capitalized. We all write our names from capital letters, so it is obvious that names of people, as well as places, geographical names, brand names, etc. should start with a capital letter no matter where they are situated in a sentence.
Let us not forget about abbreviations, such as UNESCO, WHO, etc. All letters in abbreviations are usually capitalized. You should also remember not to change such abbreviations regardless of their position in a sentence. Also, you may want to write the whole sentence in capital letters if you are intended to express some emotions, for example, when shouting: FORGET ABOUT YOUR FREE TIME!
It may sound weird but some students struggle with combining simple sentences into complex ones. It often happens when there is a need to use subordinate clauses.
In this case, you can try to fulfill different tasks to conjoin sentences with the help of punctuation. So, as you understand now – punctuation and all three basics should be learned before anything else.
If you want to skip those three writing conventions, you will never master the rest of writing skills. In that case, you may just forget about the ability to form complex sentences while it is based on using proper punctuation.
Run-on sentences are another problem for many students. So, you should learn how to define the speech components, including, nouns, verbs, adjectives, using conjunctions, etc. Run-on sentences are divided into independent clauses.
If you want to avoid the problem of understanding how to interlink two sentences, you should learn how to use the semi-colon. So, again, to see the relationships between the clauses, it is necessary to learn punctuation first.
Academic writing conventions
Knowing writing conventions is great but almost each of you has mastered all of them in primary school. So, it’s time to think of conventions in academic writing that you will definitely need when studying in college or university.
As a student, you should know what kinds of papers academic writing includes – critical analysis, research papers, exploratory essays, response papers, and many other different types.
And it is crucial to know the basics of academic writing conventions to succeed in them all or at least in one of those types. The requirements for students are much stricter than those in school. You may be surprised but even professors are required to follow the conventions when working on their articles and papers. So, you should know the most important aspects of academic writing conventions.
When it comes to academic writing, it should not only be free of any type of mistakes, errors, and typos but also deliver the information without any confusion no matter who the target audience is.
You will fail if using unnecessary or improper vocabulary. So, you should avoid all the bizarre words that distract and confuse your reader, otherwise, your paper will make no sense at all.
Sticking to the academic writing style is crucial for your success. Your papers should be written using formal words and style. You should listen to your teacher’s guidelines and follow them always. Professors always give tips on what vocabulary it is better to use.
If you didn’t get such guidelines, you can always find that information online or in the library. In short, you should use “however” instead of “but”, “contradict” instead of “deny”, etc.
In your academic writing, you should never go bias, especially when it comes to sciences. Your opinion should never be subjective. Even if you want to convince your reader, teacher, audience, you should always use facts and evidence to support and prove your viewpoint.
You should avoid such judgmental phrases, as “I strongly believe”, “to my mind”, “horrible”, “terrible”, “My personal opinion is” … Such phrases demonstrate the personal inclination of your paper that should be avoided by all means.
Using citations and references is a must when it comes to academic writing. You may never use someone’s thoughts and write them as your own. When you use someone’s opinion, quote, statement, you should always cite your source properly.
Plagiarism is one of the worst mistakes made by students, so remember that your work should be totally unique and original. Using citations is crucial for your success. But make sure to use the style your professor required from you.
Writing conventions are a must for both school and college students no matter what faculty you choose. Students of any direction are required to write a lot of paper works and they should be written in accordance with all the rules to bring you the desired grades.
If you struggle with writing a top-quality essay or are not sure about your skills or knowledge of the field, you can always apply to the help of professional writers who guarantee a 100% unique and competent result.