Common Problems in Assignment 1
I noticed people repeatedly struggling with the following formatting conventions in Assignment 1. Look them over and integrate the recommended practices in order to improve your writing for future assignments. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.
A semicolon is normally used to separate two closely related independent clauses. An independent clause is a string of words that can stand on its own as a complete sentence.
An ellipsis is a “…” which is used to indicate text omitted from a quotation. You generally do not need to provide ellipses at the beginning or end of a quotation. It is normally used to indicate where you have omitted material from the middle.
Words in foreign languages (e.g. Latin, French), as well as words in Middle English being used as technical terms, should be placed in italics. If you are quoting these words from a text, they should be placed between quotation marks—but not quotation marks and italics.
Titles of books and long poems should be placed in italics. Titles of short poems, scholarly essays, and journalistic articles should be placed between quotation marks.
Quotations should not be placed in italics. Indented quotations should not be surrounded by quotations marks because indentation and quotation marks are redundant.
Roman numbers indicating page numbers of an introduction should be placed in lower case.
Final Punctuation of Quotations
At the end of a quotation, a comma is omitted at the end of a sentence. For instance, Chaucer says “that I was of hir felaweshipe anon,” should be changed to Chaucer says “that I was of hir felaweshipe anon.” When the quotation is followed by a parenthetic citation, the period is moved to after the parenthetic citation: Chaucer says “that I was of hir felaweshipe anon” (I.32). If the original punctuation is an exclamation mark or question mark, it is retained inside the end quotation mark. However, a period is still placed after the parenthetic citation.
References to the Century
It is preferable to spell out fourteenth century, rather than using 14th century. When fourteenth century is used as an adjective, it should be hyphenated: e.g. fourteenth-century literature.
Poetry should be cited by line number, not page number, unless your edition does not supply line numbers.
Contractions like don’t are more colloquial than uncontracted forms. In an academic essay they should be avoided (along with other very colloquial expressions).
Works Cited Page
Wherever possible, bibliography should begin at the end of your essay, rather than on a separate page. This is not a professional convention—merely a request on my part to save paper.