AP Language and Composition
July 10, 2013
The Race to Grace One must handle their writing with a care. Knowing what to write in literary works is not the only thing that matters. Grammar and punctuation are a big part of what makes poems, short stories, and essays great. Not one person’s writing is perfect, I am not an exception, but with William Strunk and E.B. White’s Elements of Style it is possible to get close to perfect.
Knowing when to place commas in sentences with conjunctions was never my strong suit. This was no longer a problem after reading Elements of Style. All it took was a single clarification that the comma goes before the conjunction.
Many students don’t put thought into designs. Some students do not even use designs; they take their chances and play with luck. They dive headfirst and unprepared into an essay. Before reading and studying Elements of Style, I wrote and hoped for the best. This is unacceptable now. I realized that the best work is always prepared. Previously, I used unnecessary words in my essays to reach the word count. This created awkward sentences and decreased the quality of the essay.
This next common mistake does not bring down the quality of a paper; however, there is confusion over spelling numbers and dates in literary works and essays. Elements of Style was very useful with this. A simple command not to do it was enough.
Mark Twain died at the age of seventy-four, only a day after the passing of Halley’s Comet.
Mark Twain died at the age of 74, only a day after the passing of Halley’s Comet.
The latter is preferred to the former.
It saves the reader’s and the writer’s time. One of my other troubles was quotations and their punctuation. Knowing where to place the commas was not something I took interest in. I switched back and forth between placing the commas inside or outside of the quotation marks. It’s easy to be confused over how to correctly reference an event. I am positive that everyone is taught about referencing; we merely forget. Every person with the ability to write has and will misuse a word or expression at least once. It happens but it’s avoidable. It is not easy to correct every misused word or phrase but…