Triangle Author Guidelines Making a Thesis Statement: Your article must have a thesis, a clearly stated central idea. Your thesis should be specific, covering only what you will talk about it your article. Your article should provide specific evidence that supports your thesis. Note that your article might change as you write (from your original idea of it). If this happens, your thesis must change as well. Outlines: Some people find it useful to organize their thoughts on a formal outline (with Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numbers, lowercase letters) before they write. This is not necessary for a magazine article. What you should do, however, is think about the various points you want to make in your article, and write them down in a bullet-point list in an order that makes sense (flows logically). Writing: Always keep your thesis in mind while writing. Make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence that relates to your thesis or that directly relates to the paragraph before it. Introduce your readers to the “big picture” first, making sure that you give them sufficient background information to understand your article. Use this background information to lead the reader to the new information you are presenting. Grammar Instructions for Clearer Writing: When possible, ALWAYS choose action verbs over forms of be as the main verbs in your sentences. Use the active voice most of the time (use passive when appropriate). o Example: Active: We decided to hold a meeting. o Example: Passive: A decision was reached to hold a meeting. Avoid sticking too many nouns together—this construction is difficult to understand, so it is better to use a mixture of nouns and verbs. o Example: many nouns: This report explains our investment growth stimulation projects. o Better Example: This report explains our projects to stimulate growth in investments. For clarity, never leave a ‘this’ or an ‘it’s’ hanging by itself. What does ‘this’ or ‘it’s refer to? o Incorrect: This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. o Correct: This cake is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Make sure you have subject-verb agreement. Make sure that you have no sentence fragments. o Fragment: Penn offers many majors in engineering. Such as electrical, chemical, and mechanical. o Full Sentence: Penn offers many majors in engineering, such as electrical, chemical, and mechanical. Do not end a sentence in a preposition. o Examples of prepositions: about, over, for, with, in, between, outside, among, around, behind, on, under, etc. Use transitions! They help the reader follow your article from one part to the next and help the reader interpret your ideas. Below are some common transitions: o To add: and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.) o To compare: whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, although, conversely, meanwhile, in contrast o To prove: because, for, since, for the same reason, evidently, furthermore, moreover, indeed, in fact, in addition o To show exception: yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spit of, despite, sometimes o To show time: immediately, thereafter, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next o To emphasize: definitely, extremely, in fact, indeed, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, eternally, never, unquestionably, certainly, undeniably o To show sequence: first, second, third, etc.; next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon o To give an example: for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration Proofreading Your Writing: Although your article will be read by at least 3 editors, you should do some initial proofreading yourself. First, take a break between finishing writing and the proofreading stage (even if only for 15 minutes) so that you will have a fresh view of your work. Read through your writing slowly (slower than your normal reading speed). Read your article out loud—this is the most important step. Something that you might not pick up on if you were just moving your eyes across the page will come out here. Look for errors like usage, sentence structure extra/omitted words, spelling/typos, and punctuation. Other things to think about when writing your article: 1. Your article must be INTERESTING—we want people to want to read the magazine in general, and once someone starts reading your article, you want to hold his/her interest. 2. Keep an eye on the tone you use—make sure you are writing an article and not a report. If people wanted to read a series of facts, they would go to Wikipedia. If they wanted to read a term paper, they wouldn’t be reading the Triangle. 3. The Triangle is a color publication, so we want to see lots of pictures. Definitely include any pictures that you think enhance your article, graphs that help the reader, etc. Also, if you have extra pictures related to your topic, submit them as well—we may need to fill extra space when we do layout. 4. Make use of Penn professors—you can use quotes from faculty members to liven up articles and lend additional authority to your article. If you are writing on a Pennrelated topic, include at least 2 quotes from appropriate faculty—they are happy to talk to you. 5. You must include the completed Submission Form sheet with your article. 6. Keep the above guidelines is mind, but be sure to write in a style that you are comfortable with (keeping in mind that you are writing a magazine article)—we can always make changes during the editing process. 7. Do not use a thesaurus indiscriminately—if you can’t think of the right word/phrase for the idea you are trying to express, make a comment in the Word file and the editors will try to help you. 8. If you have further grammar questions, either note them in comments in your Word file (if specific to a certain word/phrase in your article) or consult the Internet. Grammar Slammer, http://englishplus.com/grammar, is a good site. Another good source is the spiral-bound book that the writing seminars use. 9. If you ever have any questions about writing your article, problems you’re stuck with, writing issues, etc., don’t hesitate to email the Triangle—someone from the board will read your email and respond as quickly as possible. Good luck!