II. General Stylistic and Formatting Requirements
We, the department’s faculty members, include grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style in the grading of written work. Unless instructed otherwise, we expect you to write in a formal, academic style. To aid in this process, you should own or have easy access to these resources: a college level dictionary, a thesaurus, a style book such as The Chicago Manual of Style or Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, and a basic grammar/style text such as Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. (Yes, even your professors have these and consult them frequently!) Most word processing programs have spell check and a thesaurus. Some programs, such as the more recent versions of MS-Word and Word Perfect, have Grammatik or a similar program which can analyze your work for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. If you have difficulty in these areas, use the services of The Writers Corner, consult your professor, or both.
A. Basic Stylistic Requirements :
1. Use formal English, but definite and clear language.
2. Do not use contractions.
3. Avoid slang or jargon unless it is necessary to communicate your point.
4. Use conventional spellings, i.e., "through" not "thru" or "night" not "nite."
5. Use the active voice; avoid passive constructions. Of course, occasional use of the passive voice is acceptable to give variety to your writing. Common clues of passive constructions are "there is" or "there are" or sentences using "is" or "are" plus the past tense of a verb. Another clue is that the subject of the sentence is unclear. Note these examples:
(1) Cultural notions of gender are believed to be shaped by economic conditions.
(2) Social institutions are maintained by everyday activity.
(1) Many scholars believe that economic conditions shape cultural notions of gender.
(2) Everyday activities maintain social institutions.
(1) There are many explanations for poverty.
(2) There are many forms of marriage practiced in today’s cultures.
(1) Poverty has many explanations
(2) Today’s cultures represent many forms of marriage practices.
6. The point and organization of the paper’s ideas should be presented early in the work and clearly stated.
7. Ideas should flow easily from one to the other. One of the best ways to construct a paper is to think of it as a road map to guide your reader through your thinking. You want to direct the reader as carefully as possible to keep him or her from getting lost. Few readers have mind reading powers.
B. Common grammatical points to heed :
1. The correct form of the possessive for "it" is "its" not "it’s." "It’s" is the contraction form of "it is."
2. Compound sentences are separated by a comma before the conjunction.
Incorrect: The social roles were ambiguous and we had difficulty following them.
Correct: The social roles were ambiguous, and we had difficulty following them.
3. All the items in a series are followed by a comma except for the last item.
Incorrect: Sociologists study institutions, families and large groups.
Correct: Sociologists study institutions, families, and large groups.
4. Use a pronoun only when it is clear to whom or what it refers.
5. Quotation marks are placed outside of periods, commas, colons, or semi-colons. They are placed inside of exclamation points or question marks, unless these marks are a part of the quote.
6. Singular subjects use singular verbs; plural subjects use plural verbs.
Incorrect: The group were forming an identity.
Correct: The group was forming an identity.
Incorrect: The data validates the conclusion.
Correct: The data validate the conclusion.
7. Do not end sentences with prepositions.
Incorrect: The students were looking for others to study with.
Correct: The students were looking for others with whom they could study.
8. Do not split infinitives:
Incorrect: The marriage ceremony was supposed to closely link the two extended families.
Correct: The ceremony was supposed to link closely the two extended families.
9. Do not abbreviate.
10. Do not use double negatives.
11. Avoid dangling participles.
Incorrect: When butchering !Kung San distribute the meat according to elaborate social rules.
Correct: When butchering an animal, !Kung San distribute the meat according to elaborate social rules.
12. Use the appropriate case.
Incorrect: You and me disagree about the theoretical implications of Geertz’s argument.
Correct: You and I disagree about the theoretical implications of Geertz’s argument.
13. Proofread your work. Use spell check but never as a substitute for reading the paper yourself for errors. Remember computers work on the principle of "garbage in, garbage out."
C. Print :
1. Use a 10 or 12 point font with 6 vertical lines of type per inch.
2. The font should be a block style. Do not use italics unless as a substitute for capitalization or underlining.
3. The print should be sufficiently dark to read with ease.
D. Margins : standard 1" margins on the left, right, top and bottom. The exception to this is the first page of text. The title is placed 2" from the top of the page, and the text begins three lines below the title.
E. Spacing : Double-space all text except quotes longer than 3 lines. (See "G" below.)
F. Page numbering : The first page should be numbered on the bottom center. Consecutive pages are numbered in the upper right hand corner with the number placed on the right hand margin, 4 lines from the top of the page. Pages must be numbered.
G. Quotes : All quotes under three lines in length are surrounded by quotation marks and are double-spaced as regular text. Quotes longer than three lines are separated from the text by a double space above and below. In this case, the quoted text also has left and right margins of 1.5" and is single-spaced. Note that the indentation serves as quotation marks. Use quotation marks only for that part of the quote that contains quoted material within it. Avoid long quotations in your writing.
H. Tables : Number tables consecutively throughout the text. Place the table close to the related text. Avoid splitting the table between pages. Each table should have a descriptive title and the columns and rows should be clearly labeled. If you borrow the table from another’s work, cite the source underneath the last row of the table. See Section III for information on citations.
I. Figures, Illustrations, and Photographs : These items are considered "figures" and are numbered consecutively throughout the text. Place the figure close to the related text, and label it clearly. If you borrow the figure from another’s work, cite the source underneath the figure. See Section III for information on citations.
J. Gender Neutral Language : In academic as well as popular writing, the use of masculine words or pronouns to refer to both men and women is inappropriate. Writers should use nouns or pronouns that correspond to or are inclusive of the actual gender(s) of the person or persons being discussed in the text. In particular, the third person masculine "he" should only be used when referring to a male person. Below are examples which compare gender-neutral and gender-biased writing.
Gender-Biased: When one writes, he should use formal language.
Gender-Neutral: When one writes, he or she should use formal language.
Gender-Biased: Kindness should be extended to all men.
Gender-Neutral: Kindness should be extended to all people.
However, when you are referring exclusively to a male person or persons in the text, use male nouns and pronouns.
K. Report Covers : Do not enclose your work in binders or report covers unless instructed otherwise.
L. Paper : Do not use erasable paper. Use white, 8 1/2" X 11" paper.
M. Stapling : All papers must be stapled in the upper left-had corner.