BibMe Feature Highlight: Title Page Creator

Your paper is nearly done! You chose a great topic. The paper is written and proofread. It has all the proper citations (usually in APA or MLA format). But have you created a title page yet?

The title page (or cover page) of a report is often the last part of a paper to be completed, but it’s an important finishing touch. Did you know that BibMe can help you create a perfectly-formatted title page for your next writing assignment?

Visit www.bibme.org. In the top toolbar, simply click the link that says, “Title Page” between the links “Citation Guide” and “Support.”

After clicking, you will be taken to a form titled “Create a Title Page.” Here, you can fill in all the required pieces of information that is specific to your work: title, running head, your name, etc. Click “Create Title Page” when you’re finished, and BibMe does the rest!

You have a few options to choose from to make sure that your title page is created exactly the way you would like. First, you can choose what citation style your title page should adhere too. BibMe offers title pages in APA, MLA, and Chicago format. Also, you can choose to export your title page in docx format for easy insertion into a Microsoft Word document, or as HTML.

Whatever options you choose, BibMe has your title page covered!


Haven’t had a chance to proofread your paper yet? Check out the BibMe Plus grammar and plagiarism checker! It can help you automatically spot writing mistakes before you turn your paper in. Along with the checker, BibMe has helpful grammar guides on adjectives, what is an adverb, the differences between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, and more!

Four Steps for STEM Majors to Rock that Next Paper

STEM students everywhere feel the pain of writing assignments. As people who would rather spend their time working with numbers and figures, sitting down to write a paper can seem so tedious and boring. But effective communication is one of the most important skills we can learn in college, as it’ll help us stand out when we express ourselves. STEM students with writing abilities are super valuable!

Even if you are only required to take one writing class, it’s important that you use this opportunity to enhance your skills and build confidence in your own writing. With online tools like the BibMe Plus grammar and plagiarism tool, writing becomes much less intimidating.

While you’re working on your writing, approach the assignment like any other math problem you would tackle. You can work out your writing using four steps: identify the problem, show your work, cut out unnecessary steps, and check your final answer.

1. Identify the problem

The most crucial part of your paper is your argument or the problem to be considered. When thinking through your thesis, go through and review several, peer-reviewed sources. Academic sources can be scary, but they contain the research you need to make your points.

After you’ve done research, craft your thesis statement to capture the essence of the problem. One trick is to rephrase the assignment as a question and then make sure your thesis answers that question. Clearly identify the problem or discussion that is of interest and communicate that you understand the problem from all angles.

Writing your paper will be so much more exciting if you can find a topic that interests you, too. You might even be able to find a subject that relates to science or math in some way.

2.     Show your work

Showing your work means that you provide clear and reasoned evidence as to how you are developing your argument while incorporating outside information. This evidence should come from outside sources and try to show various views of an argument.

This will make the stated claims clear and your writing easy to understand. Clearly point your reader in the correct direction, using logical steps that follow one another.

Also important: cite your sources so others can confirm or read more on the evidence you’ve used. If you don’t know which citation style to use, ask your professor. Commonly used citation styles include MLA format, APA format, and Chicago Manual of Style.

3. Cut out unnecessary steps

It’s tempting but don’t try to impress your teacher by using the biggest words or the longest, most complicated sentences you can think of. This will make the paper hard to follow. Simple and clear is always better, just like when solving an equation.

Even if you have a gigantic assignment, you still have to cut out the fluff. This means actively checking for lengthy or wordy sentences and avoiding passive voice. For example, instead of:

The cake was baked by Mary.

You’d write:

Mary baked the cake.

Writing assignments in college require active voice, which can be a tough transition from the lab reports that require passive constructions. After you’ve written your draft, read it aloud. Listen for passive voice, and circle any words that you’re not quite sure about. After that, cut out any words that are unnecessary and revise until your writing is as clear as you can make it.

4. Check your final answer

Any time you solve a math problem, it is a good idea to check your work to make sure that your answer makes sense. Writing is no different!

Nailing a smooth flow and good writing transitions on the first try can be tough. Try making a flowchart with one-word descriptors of each paragraph, and rearrange them until you find the order that makes the most sense if your organization doesn’t seem right. Your topic sentences should serve as your roadmap, so ensure that these follow each other logically. Reviewing the flow of your argument is always a great last step in writing!

Being a mathematician or a scientist means that you will have to explain your work to the world, and mastering writing is the key to spreading your ideas and your accomplishments. The good thing is that there’s likely no need to drastically change or enhance your writing. Approaching your assignments like any STEM exercise is a great way to make you feel more at ease. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that be from your TA, a tutor, or your campus writing center. Just take the assignment one step at a time.


Trying to remember how linking verbs work? Need a refresher on what is a prepositional phrase? Looking for an interjection to use in your next paper? Check out our BibMe grammar guides for help with the above and more!

How We’re Evolving for Students

You probably know BibMe as a place to create citations with ease or check your paper for grammar and plagiarism before you hand it in. But there is so much more that the BibMe writing tools has to offer students like you. Here are some of the little-known ways that the BibMe writing tools can help take your paper to the next level!

We have an ever-growing list of citation styles

One of the most beloved features on our site BibMe.org is the ability to create citations in literally thousands  of different citation styles (APAMLAChicago format, etc.). While this list may seem comprehensive, we are constantly editing and adding to it. If you need a citation style for your paper that we do not currently offer, reach out to our support team with a link to the formatting guide for the style. After passing it on to the BibMe Citation Specialists for analysis, your style may be offered for use by millions of students like you! You can also influence existing citation styles by making us aware of style edits that you think  should be made. Simply reach out to our support team with the details.

There’s more information on our support team later in this post.

We know a lot about citations

The guides and blog at BibMe.org offer a ton of useful information about proper citation formatting, writing, and student life. Here you can find information on everything from how to format footnotes, an example of an annotated bibliography, how to properly alphabetize your bibliography, and so much more. Feel free to check out our guides pages located here before handing in  your next paper. It just might help you get a better grade!

We have grammar guides to help you build a strong writing foundation

The first step to writing well is to master the basics. That’s why we’ve built a collection of grammar guides on different parts of speech. Discover what irregular verbs are, review an adjectives list, the difference between intensive vs reflexive pronouns, learn about collective nouns, and much more!

We have an in-house group of experts

BibMe.org is home to citation specialists who are dedicated to ensuring that our citations are the most accurate they can be. If you need an answer to a tough citation related question, fill out our Citation Question Submission form and a citation expert may be able to help you.

We have a killer support team

Do you need advanced citation help? Are you having technical issues with our site? Do you have a suggestion you’d like to make for a new feature? Our support team handles questions like these every single day and would love to get you the help you need. Click the “Support” link at the top of the page, or simply go to support.bibme.org to find detailed guides for FAQs. Still can’t find what you need? Submit a question or request by going to any article and clicking “Email” in the lower right corner.

We’d love to hear from you!

More than anything, we love hearing from our users, and highly value their opinions and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Common Grammar Errors on the SAT Writing & Language

Studying for the SAT Writing & Language might sound like an endless slog through obscure grammar rules. The secret, though, is that the test tends to reuse the same few concepts. If you take the time to master the most frequently tested grammar rules, you’ll find the SAT Writing & Language test much easier. (Here’s another SAT hack: to double-check your practice writing prompts, run them through BibMe’s online grammar checker!)

To make your life easier, here’s a list of 5 common grammatical errors tested on the SAT, with examples. 

1. Subject-Verb Disagreement

Here’s an example of subject-verb disagreement: Jessica are going to the park. Yuck! Sirens are probably going off in your head, indicating that there is indeed a grammatical error in that sentence. What you’re noticing is incorrect subject-verb agreement. In that example sentence, you know that “Jessica” is a singular subject, and therefore should be paired with “is,” not “are.”

The sentence should read: Jessica is going to the park. On the SAT, subject-verb disagreement is more challenging to spot. The test will spatially separate the verb from the subject so you don’t notice the disagreement. For example, the SAT loves to insert a prepositional phrase between the subject and the verb. Check out this sentence:

The group of high school students is going on a field trip tomorrow.

In this example, “group” is the singular subject of this sentence while “is” is the singular verb. The prepositional phrase “of high school students” is inserted between the subject and the verb to make it harder to see that “group” should be paired with “is.” Here the SAT is trying to trick you into finding an “error” in this perfectly correct sentence!

Keep an eye out for these prepositional phrases, and your score will certainly be in agreement with your grammar abilities.

2. Comma Splice

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses (or clauses that can stand alone as sentences) are incorrectly connected by just a comma. Take a look at this incorrect example:

I went to the grocery store to buy some apples, I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

This type of punctuation error is one of the most popular errors on the SAT. To fix a comma splice error, you can:

  • Connect the two independent clauses with a semicolon

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples; I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

  • Add a conjunction (like “and” or “but”) after the comma

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples, and I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

  • Separate the two independent clauses into two sentences

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples. I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

Whenever you see a comma on the SAT, make sure it’s not being used to incorrectly connect two complete sentences!

3. Wrong Comparison


Check out this grammatically incorrect sentence: The performance of my sister’s band was better than my cousin’s band.

It can be tricky to spot, but that sentence is grammatically incorrect. Right now, it’s comparing a performance to a band. For wrong comparison questions, you want to ensure that you’re comparing like with like.

To fix this error, you want to be extra clear as to what’s being compared. Here are some ways you can fix that sentence:

  • The performance of my sister’s band was better than the performance of my cousin’s band.
  • The performance of my sister’s band was better than that of my cousin’s band.

It may seem repetitive, but whenever you have a comparison, ensure you’re comparing apples with apples!

4. “Who” versus “Whom”

It’s easy to get stressed about when to use “whom” since we don’t tend to use it on a daily basis. Though it’s not one of the most common types of grammar errors, knowing when to use “who” versus “whom” will make you feel more confident when taking the SAT.

On the test, “whom” usually appears after a preposition. Here’s an example of the incorrect use of “whom”:

Whom took my scarf?

In this example, you should say, “Who took my scarf?”

So when should you use “whom?” You should use it when it’s the object of a sentence. Still not sure what that means? No problem! In most cases on the SAT, there’s a preposition in front of “whom.” So if you see “to who” in a sentence, you’ll likely need to change it to “to whom” (think of the correct phrase: “To Whom It May Concern”).

5. Incorrect Modifier


Take a look at this incorrect example: After taking a long hike through Yosemite, Ryan’s sneakers were falling apart.

Here it seems like Ryan’s shoes went hiking, not Ryan. This is a great example of an incorrect modifier. The SAT loves to begin a sentence with a descriptive phrase but not immediately identify what is described. Ensure that whatever word follows the comma after the descriptive clause is what’s being described.

To fix that incorrect example, we should say:

After taking a long hike through Yosemite, Ryan noticed that his sneakers were falling apart.

Once you’ve gotten your head around these common grammatical errors, and sharpened your eagle eye with plenty of practice questions, you’ll be ready to rock the SAT Writing & Language!

While you’re at it, check out our helpful citation guides. You may not need to demonstrate how to cite a book, create MLA citations or an APA reference page for the SAT, but these guides will help you in many other language and learning situations!

SAT Reading Prep You Can Do Daily

Without the stress of group projects, quizzes, or formatting a works cited page, summer is the perfect time to start gearing up for the SAT Reading. Whether you’re on the road or at the beach, there are a few ways you can start prepping bit by bit.

Have you ever read a sentence three times only to find yourself wondering, “what the heck did I just read?” You’re not alone: one of the most common obstacles students encounter in the SAT Reading is remembering information from the passages. 

To help you work on the valuable SAT skill of retaining information, here’s a four-step process you can use to get ready for the fall SAT on a daily basis.

Step One: Figure Out How to Get the Newspaper

To start prepping, all you need is access to a good ol’ fashioned newspaper. You might be thinking, “But no one reads the newspaper anymore!” Here’s the thing: using a newspaper is a great way to prep for the SAT because one newspaper contains articles on all sorts of topics. Just like the SAT, you can read about arts & culture, current events, and more. Plus, an actual newspaper mimics the SAT since both are on paper.

An easy and free way to read the daily paper is to visit your local public library. You can try several different newspapers to see which one you like best.  

 Daily 5 minute task: none – one time task!

Step Two: Get in the Habit of Reading an Article a Day

Once you have access to the newspaper, start reading one article per day. That’s it! Don’t worry if you don’t totally understand the article. Getting in the habit of reading is the important part.

The SAT Reading will ask you to answer questions on different types of passages. To help you prepare, below is a sample weekly schedule of what kinds of articles to read. That way, you can get accustomed to reading about topics that might be unfamiliar.

Sun.

Mon.

Tues.

Wed.

Thurs.

Fri.

Sat.

Arts & culture

International news

Business

National news

Science

Local news

Whatever you like!

Like what you read? Save it to incorporate it into a research paper next year!

Daily 5 minute task: read one article a day

Step Three: Create Your Own Note-Taking System

After getting into the habit of reading an article a day for one week, begin determining your preferred note-taking method. By learning how to take notes in a way that works for you, you’ll retain more information while maintaining test-taking stamina. Taking notes on your daily newspaper article is a great way to practice.  

Most people know that underlining main ideas is helpful. Other ways to take notes include circling proper nouns, dates, and numbers, marking off lists of examples, etc. Feel free to get creative, but keep in mind that you’ll only have your #2 pencil on test day (i.e. don’t use highlighters or multi-colored pens).

 Bonus: learn how to cite sources here.

 Daily 5 minute task: take notes while reading an article

Step Four: Learn How To Identify the Main Idea

Once you’ve gotten used to taking notes while reading your daily article, end your five-minute routine by identifying the article’s main idea. A lot of the SAT Reading questions will ask you to determine the author’s main point, a skill that takes real-time practice.

Keep in mind that the difference between a main topic and main idea is that a topic refers to  the article’s subject matter, whereas the main idea is the argument behind the topic. For example, a science article’s topic may be climate change, but the main idea is that human activity is contributing to climate change.

Daily 5 minute task: write one sentence identifying the main idea after taking notes while reading.

This four-step process over time will help to improve your reading comprehension and retention. Not only will this help you be ready for the SAT Reading, but you’ll also find that you can apply this process to your class readings too! 

4 Simple Steps to Writing a Good Thesis Statement

What is a Thesis Statement Exactly?

A thesis statement is a single sentence that explains the argument you want to present in a paper. It is most often located in the first or second paragraph of your paper. If your paper is a tree, the thesis statement is the single seed it grows from.

You Mentioned an Argument? Do I Have to Argue?

Most academic outlets expect that you will present an argument. It is not sufficient to simply report what you have read. You must take it a step further and come to a conclusion based on the information you have gathered. This conclusion is your thesis and your paper is your defense of the thesis.

Tip: If you are not sure if your paper needs a thesis, ask your instructor.

Ok, so How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?

Follow our easy steps.

Step #1: Research First

Students often make the mistake of coming up with a thesis before doing any research. A better method is to begin with research in your field of study and look for patterns or themes. Not only does this make proving your thesis easier, it also prevents you from tunnel vision that could result in your arguing a thesis that is not true.

Step #2 Inspiration List

As you research, write down any ideas or themes that you notice as you go along. Look for subjects that are recurring, interesting or controversial. As an example, let’s say you are researching street art and graffiti you might write down the following:

  • Some people love street art and others think it is vandalism.
  • Certain cities seem to attract street artists more than others.
  • Street art and graffiti are not considered the same thing.
  • More visible and public areas are prized by street artists.
  • Street art can be viewed for free.

 Tip: Keep track of where you found your most compelling research; it’s not crazy to start building a works cited page in MLA or an APA reference page this early. It just means that once you are ready to write your thesis statement, you’ll already have everything you need to build an outline for the rest of your paper.

 Step #3 Get Creative

Take a look at your inspiration list and try to draw a unique conclusion that you have not already read about. When it comes to papers, creative ideas that can be supported by strong evidence are optimal. Based on our list, we could reasonably argue that:

Street art is the most accessible modern artform. 

#4 Test It

If you can answer yes to all of the following questions, your thesis statement is ready.

Could someone reasonably dispute your thesis?

Someone could argue that the sky is green, but it is not reasonable.

Is your thesis provocative or compelling?

Interesting ideas make reading more fun for your grader, which means a better grade for you.

Is there enough research to support your argument?

A thesis is only as good as the research it is built on. Make sure that there’s enough credible information to support your research paper topic.

Is your thesis statement simple to understand?

If your statement is too long or meandering take some time to edit down to a more basic version.

Remember: a thesis statement is a research-based opinion. Keep it clear and concise and you are on your way to a strong final paper.

Want guidance on your writing? Looking for a quick plagiarism or grammar check? Or maybe you need to build citation in Chicago Manual of Style or another format. Try BibMe Plus today for help with all of it!

The Four Kinds of Plagiarism a Plagiarism Checker Can Catch

You’ve probably heard from your teacher that plagiarizing can lead to serious academic consequences. Plagiarism is the act of copying or including information from someone else’s work in your own paper without giving that person proper credit. Thankfully, there are tools available to help you make sure you haven’t committed plagiarism, such as the plagiarism checker located right here on BibMe.

So what kinds of plagiarism can these tools catch? Read on for some details and tips.

1) Copy and pasted sections

Students frequently copy information from an online source and paste it into a draft of their paper. Sometimes this is done on purpose, but it can also be an accident, as the student may just want to use the snippet for organizational or research purposes. The problem is, it becomes very easy to forget to remove, change, or cite sources before handing in the paper. Plagiarism checkers, however, can detect this type of plagiarism, whether it was intentional or not.

2) Uncited quotes

Quotes are frequently used as evidence for an argument in research or literary analysis papers. What can be tricky, however, is remembering to properly cite each quote, no matter how small. It can be easy to forget to write these down, and a plagiarism checker is a great resource to check for any missing citations near quotation marks in your paper.

3) Uncited links

Websites can be great places to start research on a topic, giving you a wealth of information almost instantaneously. Be mindful that you can’t just copy a link into your paper as a reference, however. These do not count as proper citations, and must be formatted correctly in MLA style, APA, or any other format your teacher asks for. Plagiarism checkers can flag these links and suggest that you create a citation for them.  

4) Accidental

Not all plagiarism is deliberate. Often students simply forget to include proper citations, or they mistakenly include copied text in their paper. These accidents can unfortunately be very harmful to your grade and academic record. Thankfully, plagiarism checkers can be a second line of defense, along with careful note-taking so you don’t lose track of sources.

Want to check your paper for possible plagiarism? Check out the Plagiarism and Grammar Checker on BibMe! This fantastic tool is a student’s best friend, as it can help to check for instances of plagiarism, provide instant grammar improvement suggestions, and let you add any forgotten citations directly into your paper.

Wrapping up a paper? Try BibMe’s grammar and plagiarism check!

Summer Book List for People Who Hate Reading

If you’ve spent the school year wading through The Odyssey or surviving Dante’s Inferno, you might be tempted to limit your reading to Twitter now that school’s out for the summer. But long layovers and lazy days at the beach are perfect opportunities to turn on your tablet or pick up a paperback and indulge in some reading that’s a little lighter than that stats textbook you hope to never see again.

Here are seven suggestions, ranging from new novels to collections of modern short stories, essays, and other selections that can be consumed in a single sitting. Warning: pick one up, and you might start hoping for rainy days and cancelled plans.

If you have a short attention span…

Fresh Ink – Edited by Lamar Giles

On sale: August 14, 2018

This anthology includes writing from 13 of the nation’s best-known young adult authors, but will appeal to readers ranging from age 12 to 99 according to Random House, its publisher. Produced in partnership with the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, Fresh Ink features 10 short stories, a graphic novel and a one-act play that touch on timely topics including acceptance, gentrification, and coming out.


If you’re craving a juicy thriller…

Tell Me Lies – By Carola Lovering

On sale: June 12, 2018

This debut novel is a coming-of-age tale told in alternating points of view by a couple locked in a toxic romance. Lucy Albright knows there’s something off about charming, complicated, and oh-so-attractive Stephen DeMarco. But she can’t quite seem to kick her addictive attraction through college and their post-college years in New York City—even when the connection might lead to dire consequences.


If you love a good essay…

Look Alive Out There – By Slone Crosley

Published: April 3, 2018

Slone Crosley is considered a modern master of the witty one-liner. Reviews of her latest essay collection indicate she’s continued that signature style in Look Alive Out There, where essays cover everything from mountain climbing to mortality. Those who enjoy her humorous voice but prefer subjects that seem a little more like dessert than the main course might try her first book of best-selling essays, I Was Told There Would Be Cake. Another bonus: these personal pieces might sharpen your essay-writing skills, helping you wow teachers and admissions officers long after summer’s over. (Don’t forget to give it a polish by running it through BibMe’s grammar checker!)


If you can’t stop reading the news…

The Hate U Give – By Angie Thomas

Published: February 28, 2017

This best-selling book might seem more fact than fiction considering it’s about a teen, Starr Carter, who witnesses her unarmed childhood best friend being shot and killed by a cop. The event sets off a collision between Starr’s weekday world, a majority-white private school, and the poverty-plagued urban neighborhood where she lives. So, although it’s classified as a young-adult novel, The Hate U Give covers some heavy topics—no surprise given the fact it takes its name from the acronym behind rapper Tupac Shakur’s profane and profound THUG LIFE tattoo. A movie version of the novel is scheduled for release in October, so read it before it hits the screen!   


If you wished books still came with pictures…

Come Again – By Nate Powell

On sale: July 31, 2018

Artist and author Nate Powell shared the 2016 National Book Award for March: Book Three, the last book in a series created by Powell, Andrew Aydin, and U.S. Congressman John Lewis chronicling two pivotal years in the civil rights movement. Come Again, Powell’s first solo graphic novel in seven years, doesn’t cover such weighty subject matter, but still showcases the author’s vivid approach to character-driven comics in a fictional tale of two families grappling with some long-hidden secrets within a 1960s-style “intentional community” in the Ozarks mountains.

If you loved The Hunger Games…

The Darkest Minds – By Alexandra Bracken

Published: October 22, 2013 (paperback)

In the not-too-far-away future, a mysterious disease wipes out 98 percent of America’s 10- to 17-year-olds. The ones who survive all have unique abilities that scare the government enough to imprison them in “rehabilitation camps.” But some manage to escape to go in search of East River, a haven for special survivors like them. The Darkest Minds is the oldest book on this list, but a movie based on the dystopian thriller is slated for release in August and stars Amandla Stenberg, best known for playing Rue in another futuristic film based on a best-seller—The Hunger Games.


If you need a good laugh…

Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery – By Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

Published: October 10, 2017

This book by the team behind the YouTube talk show Good Mythical Morning features stories and photos from Rhett and Link’s lifelong tomfoolery-fueled friendship as well as charts, illustrations, and activities designed to get you “laughing more, learning more, and never taking yourself too seriously” according to the description on the book publisher’s page. Highlights include Character Building: The Board Game and a list of grownup merit badges you can earn. If one of them is “Read a Book for Fun Over the Summer,” you can check it off the list.

If you need to get the skinny on how to cite a book or create an annotated bibliography, check out BibMe’s other resources—not to mention our easy (and free) citation generator!

Adverbs: To Use or Not To Use?

Hemingway abhorred them. Stephen King famously quipped, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” If there can be such a thing as a controversial part of speech, adverbs probably are it.  

On the one hand, adverbs can be useful tools to enhance your writing. They can convey important information about how something is said or done, which can completely change the meaning or add more layers of significance. On the other hand, adverbs can clog up writing, become repetitive, and turn into shortcuts that cover up for lazy writing elsewhere.

So, should you use adverbs? We’ll look at both sides and let you decide!

Adverbs: The Case In Favor

Adverbs are like the spices in your kitchen cupboard: you can do without them, but if they’re used in the right amount, they can elevate the end product from “just fine” to exciting.

In essence, an adverb is meant to enhance the context around a verb – typically an action verb – by adding information about how an action is performed.

 The ideal teaching candidate will communicate ideas efficiently.

Please speak slowly – German is my second language and I can’t always keep up.

 They also can modify adjectives, usually by denoting degrees or emphasis.

 The new graduates were extremely happy.

When used properly, adverbs genuinely enhance or clarify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, or sentences. On a larger scale, they might create tension, foreshadowing, or suggestions about a character.

 For instance, let’s say there’s a character who performs a morally shady action and whose motivations are, at that point in the story, a bit murky. If they perform that action verb “slowly” or “deliberately,” that might suggest to the reader that they’re enjoying the villainous action. If they perform that action “hurriedly” or “distractedly,” that same action suddenly might be cast as something the character finds distasteful or is being forced to do.

They can also reflect priorities, as in the “job listing” example above. Being able to communicate “efficiently” draws focus to that qualification, implying its importance as opposed to other qualities not named.

Used sparingly and with specific goals in mind, adverbs can be a real asset to your writing. And yet many successful writers still disparage them as the root of all writing evil. Why?

Adverbs: The Case Against

At some point, you’ve probably read a paragraph like this:

She quickly locked the door.

 “Do we actually think we can pull this off?” she said doubtfully. She looked up at him worriedly. His face creased suddenly.

 “We have to,” he said, quietly but certainly.

That was annoying to read, wasn’t it? That’s a prime example of how adverbs can clutter up writing and produce the exact opposite effect the writer wants.

When we look at many adverb examples, we often see instances where writers use adverbs as a sort of shortcut to “spice up” writing that could be much more concise. Instead of using words that carry their own connotations, writers often use adverbs as the quickest way to add description to a sentence.

Compare the above adverb examples to something like this:

“Do you actually think we can pull this off?” she asked. Her voice was trembling almost as much as her hands were, and she avoided his gaze.

 A crease appeared on his face.

 “We have to,” he muttered.

 The second version – though perhaps not exactly cliché-free either – avoids a bunch of adverbs while also giving us more information in the implications of the words. “Muttered,” for instance, gives us a sense that perhaps the male character is reluctant or cynical, rather than the muddled “quietly but certainly.”

There are also instances where adverbs add information that already is in the sentence.

“Give that back!” she shouted menacingly.

He sidled down the corridor sneakily.

 “Shouted” already implies a degree of menace or anger, while “sidled” implies a sneaky action, making “sneakily” redundant. They’re not technically incorrect, but they’re not strong writing.

 Conclusion

You don’t need to strip your writing of all adverbs, unless you really want to. But just like it’s always a good idea to check for proper use of MLA style or APA format, check for adverb usage! A good rule of thumb is to try to eliminate around a third to half of the adverbs from your first draft. Use them sparingly, and you’ll find yourself with interesting yet concise writing!

 

6 Tips for Writing Better Facebook Posts

by Amanda Cross

How do you create a Facebook post that gets engagement, showcases your best skills, and doesn’t create a cyclone of regret later? Keep reading for some excellent advice on how to write Facebook posts you can be proud of!

1. Always check for spelling and grammar

Text or internet speak is different from incorrect grammar. It’s one thing to write “LOL”— write “lagh out lod,” and that’s what your followers are going to be doing. Before you send any Facebook update, you should take some time to look through your post. (Remember that if you have to edit a post after publishing it, Facebook will let everyone know.)

Read through your post word-for-word, correct any spelling and grammar errors, and then hit “Post.” Never post as soon as you finish writing something!

Here are some common mistakes you might make:

  • Using the wrong homophone: “To,” “too,” and “two” may sound similar, but they have different meanings. Same with “there,” “their” and “they’re.” Even seasoned writers mistake similar-sounding words, so make sure to review for these.
  • Misusing apostrophes: Apostrophes indicate possession or the omission of other letters and numbers. If you’re talking about multiples of something, you don’t need an apostrophe (for example, “free popsicle’s in the quad!” is incorrect).
  • Misspelling words: Before you become the subject of an “autocorrect fail” meme, double check for misspelled words.

If you want to make sure your post is airtight, run it through BibMe’s grammar checker!

2. Don’t go on too long 

The more characters you use to make a point, the more room for error. Plus, there’s more chance for you to go off-topic or lost the audience’s interest. While Facebook doesn’t currently put a word limit on status updates, try to keep your posts short and sweet. Your friends are probably too busy to read long rants anyway.

3. Add images or videos to grab friends’ attention

The Facebook feed doesn’t have an end; it keeps going as long as the reader continues scrolling. That means it’s easy for your friends to scroll right past your updates. A great way to grab their attention is to incorporate eye-catching visuals. Add an image, a collection of images, or a video to spice up your status updates. Facebook has a ton of additional tools to help grab your audience’s attention, such as GIFs and polls, which you can also use to your advantage.

4. Be valuable

When people see your Facebook posts, they’re forming a judgment about what you have to offer them. When you create valuable content, you create an excellent reputation for yourself online. Share content that enriches the lives of your friends. Here are some examples of valuable content:

  • Funny or inspirational quotes
  • Lessons you’ve learned
  • Study tips
  • Scholarship information
  • Companies hiring
  • Free/discounted things you’ve found
  • Hot takes on current events or hyperlocal events
  • Suggestions for things to buy based on your personal experience

It doesn’t matter what you choose to focus on; your page could be all about the latest video game news, cryptocurrency, or makeup! You just need to find a group of people who are interested in the topic that you intend to discuss.

5. Use the grandma rule

Remember that no social media content is created in a bubble. Beyond the question of where the data is stored, someone can easily take a screenshot of your post and hang on to it.

The gray areas become a lot more black-and-white when you follow the grandma rule: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother (or someone you hold in high esteem) to see. Would you be embarrassed if they saw the Facebook post you are about to make? If so, don’t post it.

6. Include a question to the audience

The final way to write better Facebook posts is simple: include a question to the audience.

If you want your friends to like your posts or comment on them, you need to let them know that. Otherwise, they’ll likely react to your post in their heads and keep scrolling. Help them out with a quick discussion starter. You may even want to leave your answer to the question in a comment to get the conversation started.

You’re now ready to tackle Facebook with a fantastic post that will get your friends talking. Happy posting!

When your social media break is over, get back into study mode by learning how to do a works cited page and how to write an annotated bibliography!