Resources for Writing
Advice on Cutting Words — This document provides a list of signs of wordiness (with explanations); use it as a checklist to improve concision in your own writing. When I mark your exercises and essays, a W means you can find an explanation of the mistake on this page. Wordy writing will result in penalties to your scores, while concise writing can earn you a bonus.
Comment Key — This is the explanation of the symbols and abbreviations I use when marking your writing.


Format Rules — This document explains proper formatting for all work in this course. Here also is a sample of the first few pages of a paper using the proper format as both a doc and a docx file.


Essay Structure Options — Here you will find explanations of how to structure both closed form and open form essays, with links to examples of both.


The Incredibly Annoying Error List — A list of errors (with explanations) I never want to see in my courses. When I mark your exercises and essays, E means you can find an explanation of the mistake on this page.
Stylistic Conventions for Academic Essays  — This page points out a number of conventions of good academic writing.
Transition Word Hand-Out — An extensive list of transition words and short phrases, divided into categories.


The Writing Center — The Writing Center provides peer tutoring and advice on all aspects of the writing process. The tutors get extremely busy towards the end of the semester, so it is a good idea to go early and establish a working relationship with one you find helpful.
The Writing Center's Quick Guides Page  — Here you can find a bevy of specific resources to help you with many aspects of the writing process.
The Writing from Sources Rating Scale — This is my slight modification of the rating scale developed by Jon Hall to evaluate the use of sources in academic essays.
Resources for Research
An Annotated Bibliography and Review of Scholarship This document shows the planning for a scholarly essay. It includes quotations from multiple sources, and under each quotation the author explains how she plans to use the quotation in her essay. It also includes a tentative thesis for the essay and a complete works cited. The essay examines Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, but the topic does not matter. The approach is what you should be paying attention to.


Mason Libraries Main Page — where your research should start


Mason Libraries Databases Page — where you can access the MLA Database, J-STOR, and The Oxford English Dictionary, among many other research materials — a useful site that gives you definitions from many different dictionaries with only one click and also offers a thesaurus function


The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University MLA Guide page — This site has the latest updates in MLA (Modern Language Association) citation format, as well as many other helpful materials. You will find many specific pages here (the index is on the left), but this is a good starting point. MLA is the most common format for papers in the humanities.

General Resources

Scoring System — How to calculate scores on the major assignments


The English Department Main Page — if you have questions about the department, including major and minor requirements


ITU Services — Where to find information about technology at Mason; also offers downloads for common programs such as Norton Antivirus, Google Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer.


My Home Page —For more information about me, including courses I am scheduled to teach next semester.

Class Calendar and
Schedule of Assignments