article guidelines

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
 Note that your article might change as you write (from your original idea of
it). If this happens, your thesis must change as well.
 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).
 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
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,
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
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,, 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!