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 RULE: 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.
When doing research, using an article, a scholarly article, or a scientific journal can often give your research more credibility. First, ask you local library or your school library about their database, and see if you can use it for research. If your library doesn't have these resources, here are a few free online databases you could use.
Vermont Online Library This is a resource many of your own teachers and librarians may use. There are eBooks, articles, career resources, and school resources all available with a simple search.
We want our writing to feel genuine, and to connect with our readers to the point where they can visualize our words in their heads. A great way to learn to connect to readers through writing is by understanding the difference between concrete and abstract details. A concrete detail/image, most of the time, will engage your reader, and make them have that visual and deep reaction to your writing.
Concrete vs Abstract. A concrete detail/image is one that is grounded in tangible ideas, examples, and descriptions. An abstract detail/image has language and examples that are conceptual and have multiple interpretations.
Examples: Concrete: The plant just barely brushed the bottom of my knee; its flower was broad as my face, and its stem as thick as my pinky.
Presenting can be scary. Whether you are giving a speech, doing stand-up, or reading a creative writing piece you wrote, it can be nerve-wracking. Almost everyone gets stage fright, even actors. But, knowing some helpful tips can get you through your presentation, and help you deliver it with a greater sense of confidence.
Photojournalism — the photography you use in newsmedi articles — plays by different rules artistic photography doesn't. You have to be respectful, cannot alter your photos and you need to be careful or show a bias.
Gathering Information. In any situation where you are gathering information from someone -- even if for a project that will only be seen in school -- it's good to exchange information with your subjects. HINT: When you take pictures of people, when you interview them, look at this process as a form of conversation; if you share information about yourself, they're more likely to share back. Tell them who you are associated with, why you are taking their photo, and where it might be published. Make sure they are OK with what you are doing.
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!
When recording someone, or yourself, there are a few tips that will make your experience go that much smoother.
Renting. Now of days, you can record on your phone, but if you want to have a slightly higher quality recording, many people opt to use an actual audio recorder. You can often rent audio equipment at your local library, at your school, or through community programs.
Questions. There are a few questions you should find the answers to before committing to a recording device. How much many minutes does your device record? Do you need to charge it? How do you get your files off the machine, and in what format are they? When was it lasted tested for functionality? Is it compatible with x device? Etc.
When performing an interview, there are a few basic rules you need to remember — whether it be for legal reasons, general courtesy, or credibility.
Permission. You have to ask permission to interview someone. You must ask if you can disclose information like their name, and ask if you can quote them. You also must tell them where this information will be published. In addition, if you are going to record this interview on a device, or if you want to take their picture, you have to ask permission for both.
Editing and revising a piece can be one of the hardest parts of writing. Yet, it is one of the most important stages of writing. Here is a suggested process to help you organize yourself when editing.
1. Read your piece to yourself to find big problems. When editing, let yourself be the first set of eyes. ONLY look at big picture items. Things such as topic/theme consistency, relevancy, clarity, voice, tone, imagery, order, message, and length are often looked at in this stage. If you are writing a narrative, or if you have a person in your story, you'll often consider the person's voice or character consistency throughout. This is the point where you will often cut sentences or paragraphs, change the order, rewrite entire sections of your piece, or change your wording to make your piece more clear. BIG things are happening.