Some Woes Concerning the Writing of Papers
- Woe to those who use improper footnote form. One benighted (and unnamed) student of mine recently tied the all-time record (at least in my experience) of seven errors in one footnote in the most recent assignment, thus joining "the hall of shame." This is similar to a batter striking out five times in one game.
- Woe to those who put periods outside of quotation marks: Then he said, "God is universal energy". The Brits do this; we do not. We should not.
- Woe to those who misspell my last (or first) name: Douglas Groothuis.
- A double woe on all who forget to put page numbers on their papers. You will necessarily put me in a very rotten mood if you do this, even before I read one word of your paper. This is because I must supply what your computer should do.
- Woe to those whose first page of a paper is page two. The title page is not page one. The first page of writing is page one.
- Woe to those who commonly omit needed commas or who put them where they do not belong. The comma should not be treated so rudely.
- Woe to those who do not experience the exquisite delectation of using semicolons properly. They are not commas; they are not colons; they are not dashes. They are what they are. Find out what they are if you do not know--and enjoy.