{revised 3.09.06, 5.30.06}

Ten Most Common Problems in RDs and FDs


Failure to:

1. identify the assignment (RD2, FD4, etc.)

2. attach peer comments

3. follow reviewers' suggestions

4. use correct case in your essay title and other titles

5. use the recommended line spacing

6. avoid the empty it or there

7. avoid 2nd-person you constructs

8. avoid rhetorical questions (or RQs)

9. avoid the use of get and its variations

10. correctly punctuate direct quotes


These are the ten most common problems in review drafts and final drafts -- key on them in all your RD and FD reviews.


1. Failure to correctly identify the assignment. Know the difference between "RD1" and "FD1." Don't use RD1 when submitting a final draft for our first paper. Instead, use FD1. The correct label for the review draft for our fourth paper will be RD4. These labels are important to me, but they're much more important to you! To give you proper credit, I need to know exactly which draft you're submitting. For example, a final draft labeled as RD2 will be recorded as review draft #2. If it's really your FD3, you won't receive credit for submitting a final draft #3.


(Note: Review the 8-point checklist.)



2. Failure to append* peer comments received in the RD (review Draft) to the FD (Final Draft). Also, failure to identify the reviewer for each of the comments.


[*Append means to attach to the end or bottom.]



3. In Final Drafts (FDs), failure to incorporate suggestions made by peer reviewers. Read your RD reviews and consider the advice of your classmates. However, if the suggestions are obviously incorrect, you would be wise to disregard them.


4. Failure to apply correct upper-case and lower-case to your essay title and other titles.


Incorrect: The murder of an angel


Incorrect: The Murder Of An Angel


Correct: The Murder of an Angel.


In your essay title, don't use quotes or special formatting such as underscore, italics, or bold.


The rule for case in your essay titles as well as other titles:

        Always uppercase the first and last word in your title.

        Uppercase all nouns, verbs, pronouns (she, he, her, him, our, we, us, them), adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (because, although, though, while, because, as, since).

        Lowercase all articles (the, a, an), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, because, so, or), and prepositions (in, to, of, for, with, from).

        Option: capitalize prepositions that are longer than five characters (before, after, within, between).


Example: A Practical Guide for Conducting Research in a Hospital


5. Failure to use correct line spacing. Remember: Use double-spacing between paragraphs, but single-spacing within paragraphs.



6. Failure to avoid the empty-IT and empty-THERE constructs.


Empty-IT: It is an exciting story.

Revision: The story is exciting.


Empty-THERE: There are a number of reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Revision: The Roman Empire collapsed for a number of reasons.


(Note: Review the list of AIP or style errors.)



7. Failure to avoid 2nd-person "you" constructs (except when necessary).


2nd-person: The government expects you to pay taxes without complaining.


Revision: The government expects citizens to pay taxes without complaining.



8. Failure to avoid rhetorical questions (or RQs).


RQ: Do we want how-to instructions on building an atom bomb freely available on the web?


Revision: We don't want how-to instructions on building an atom bomb freely available on the web.



9. Failure to avoid the use of "get" and its variations when other, more meaningful alternatives are available.


get/got: Let's get down to the store to get some envelopes for the invitations that we got to get in the mail.


Revise: Let's go to the store to buy some envelopes for the invitations that we need to mail.



10. Failure to correctly punctuate direct quotes. Periods and commas are inserted within the closing quote. Also, the first letter of the first word of a quote that is a complete sentence should be capitalized -- even if it's lower-case in the original.


Incorrect: Smith said, "punctuation is very important in college papers".


Correct: Smith said, "Punctuation is very important in college papers."