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Aug 03

Polish Methods Part II

This is an extension to Polish Methods Part I. This section brings in a friend to help you edit. 

Now that you have done your editing in Polish Methods Part I, let your friends help you. Use your friends to help you edit, and analyze your editing method.

First, give your second, clean piece you printed off in Part I to a friend. Ask them to mark it up with a pen.


Second, look at your three copies. Which method caught the most typos and mistakes? In the future, is there a method you would use above the other methods, or two methods you would use in conjunction?

[Creative Commons Lisence: Magnus Hagdorn, non-commercial,

Aug 02
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Correct This -- Answer Key

Aug 02

Correct This

Here's some practice with polishing for grammar. 

Edit this story for grammar mistakes as a polish practice. You will find at least one mistake from each rule listed in the resource posts "Basic Grammar: Words" and "Basic Grammar: Punctuation."  (Teachers: Answer key is a resource that can be found here: https://mycommunity.ywpvt.org/node/301 )

The Murder of David Duke


     “Who was the culprit? Who murdered the man?” the officer asked.

“She did, the woman in the car,” the detective said, throwing a small look over his shoulder to the cruiser.

The woman in question was sitting, calmly, causally in the back of the cruiser — as if she was waiting for it to take off so she could do some light grocery shopping before the weekend.  The blood staining her hair was steadily dripping onto the carpet of the car.

“Who were her intentions directed at?” the officer asked, keeping his voice low, and his eyes off the woman.

“Him. David Duke,” the detective said, nudging the black bag by their feet with the toe of his loafers. “I can uncover him, if you’d like.”

“God no.” The officer shuddered. “Show me the weapon.”

The detective reached over the body bag. He rustled around for a moment only to pull up the bag containing the man’s severed ring finger.

“Oh god, please, lie that down on the examination table. Show me the weapon!”

“There’s three: a knife, a rock, and a hammer,” the detective said, his arm still shoved behind the body bag.

“Then show me already! You and me will have to stay late if you don't hurry,” the officer said. He glanced at the woman. She had started to casually braid the tips of her hair; the officer blinked. He couldn’t help but wonder whether or not she was a red head, or whether all of the blood had started to dye her hair.

The detective finally hauled clear bags in front of the two men.

“Are these all hers’?” the officer asked, leaning down to get a better look at the crimson tools.

“We think they belong to him. His girlfriend said she saw things missing from the garage.”

The officer grunted. “Is that what’s effected her? She’s mad that he’s got a new girlfriend?”

The detective looked at his notes. “According to the girlfriend, a photo the couple with a cross over it was hanged outside of their bedroom window.”

The officer chanced one more look at the woman in the cruiser. She had moved on from her hair to her nails. She was painting them — completely — red.

“So we definitely have enough evidence to bring her to court?”

    The detective nudged the body bag that contained David Duke once more. “Because of this? I’d say so.”

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Olivia Ville Marie]
Aug 02
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Basic Grammar: Words

An often very confusing part of writing is when to use what word and where to use it. More than once you've probably had someone tell you, "You said that wrong!" Here are a few common usage/grammar rules that often get mixed up by writers.

1. You and I vs. You and me. People have a hard time remembering which phrase you are supposed to say and when. To learn this rule, you just need to remember your subject pronouns and object pronouns. 

            The words "you" and "I" are what we call subject pronouns. These are the pronouns that perform an action. The words "you" (yes, it has two categories) and "me" are object pronouns. These are the pronouns that receive an action. Thus, you say "you and I" if the group is doing an action, and "you and me" if the group received an action. 

Aug 01
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Grammar Strategies

The English language is complex, so it can be hard to keep all those rules in your head. You need a strategy.

Try these grammar strategies:

  • Catch phrases. People use odd phrases to help them memorize things. The phrase My Very Elderly Mother Just Sat on Uncle Ned can help you memorize the order of the planets. You can do the same to help you memorize grammar. For instance, F.A.N.B.O.Y.S stands for each word that can help you fix a comma splice. For, and, but, or, yet, and so are coordinating conjunctions, that, when paired with a comma, can join together two independent related clauses. A song works just as well!


Jul 31

Grammar Memorization

Identify your grammar trouble areas, and find a way to memorize these rules. 

If you're having issues learning grammar rules, this activity will help. For this activity, find a friend, and a recent My Community piece you need to edit for grammar. 

First, make sure you have all of your large edits done on your piece -- structure, tone, point of view, etc.; don't edit for grammar. 

Second, print three copies of your piece. Give a copy to a friend, an adult (like a teacher), and yourself. You all should edit the piece for grammar. 

Third, compare all of the pieces. With what grammar rules do you most struggle? Comma usage? Semicolons? The hyphen? Identify your struggle areas, and make a list. 

Fourth, learn each grammar rule on your list, and come up with a creative way to memorize these rules. Maybe you could create drawings, or rhymes, or make a song. Find the best way to help you learn these rules. Check out the Grammar Memorization Resource for some memorization strategies. Or comment memorization strategies on the work of your peers. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang] 

Jul 27
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Basic Grammar: Punctuation

Most people avoid learning about grammar like it's a 2:00pm test on a Friday. Yet, grammar is not only important for making your work polished and professional, but it's important in terms of comprehension as well. Here are five basic punctuation rules you should know. 

  1. The apostrophe. The common mistake people make with the apostrophe is that they use it to show that something is plural. The apostrophe should actual be used to show possession in a singular or plural situation. 


Jul 27
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Grammar Resources

People are more likely to hold onto grammar rules if they learned them in a fun, easy to comprehend way. Here are some fun and creative grammar resources.


The Yuniversity 
This website is a treasure trove. It has grammar rules covering punctuation, syntax, spelling, and more. They even have essay writing resources. Plus, they post SAT words everyday with easy to comprehend definitions and examples. The Yuniversity is extremely EASY to learn from and navigate — plus, each of their posts have weird and wacky animations, pictures, or even (gasp) memes to help people understand these writing rules in a fun way. 

Khan Academy

Jul 27

Polish Methods Part I

Experiment with different methods of editing your writing for grammar mistakes, typos, etc. 

With this activity, you will be analyzing your polish methods and trying to determine what method works for you. In Part I, you will be doing all of the polish. In Part II, you will be handing the work over to a friend.

First, take the most recent My Community piece you have been working on. Do your revisions and large edits first.


Second, now comes the polish, aka, fixing your work for grammar, typos, etc. Print off two copies of your piece, keep one up on your computer, and find a colorful pen.


Third, read through your piece on your computer and highlight your typos.


Fourth, now, with one of your printed copies, read through your piece and mark your mistakes with a pen. THEN, start over on the same paper, but this time, read your paper upside down and find your mistakes.

[Creative Commons Lisence: Eliezer Borges, non-commercial, https://www.flickr.com/photos/eliezerborges/ ]