My name is Parnika Sharma and I’m excited to work with you through the Schulich English Language Peer Support (ELPS) program to help you with your writing, editing, and speaking skills.
I am a Master of Marketing student at Schulich and Managing Editor of the Future of Marketing magazine.
Edit Like a Pro: Parnika’s Tips and Tricks!
Serif and Sans Serif Fonts
Fun Fact: Books, magazines, and most printed publications use serif* fonts like Times New Roman, whereas sans serif fonts are more popular for digital media. While there is still a lot of debate about which font is best for reading off of screens, there is a general consensus that sans serif ones are easier on the eyes, and because the information is processed faster, you read and notice mistakes better.
Tip: Writing in a sans serif font for drafts can stop your paragraphs from turning to mush right before your eyes! It adds more space between the lines and becomes physically clearer to read.
*serif = the little lines at the edges of letters
Ex: Times New Roman, unlike sans serif fonts such as Tahoma or Calibri, has serifs on the letters
Ew, Comic Sans
Comic Sans has earned quite the reputation. Everyone knows that it’s not professional, it’s often considered childish, and most of us haven’t used it since early grade school. A productivity hack that many writers use to overcome writers block, and one that I personally use when I feel that I just can’t articulate myself well enough, is to edit in Comic Sans! We associate the font with our childhood, and if you ever catch yourself being too wordy or fluffy in your writing, a quick edit in comic sans can bring you back to reality and readability! We always hear about the importance of explaining things concisely, avoiding unnecessary fluffy language and limiting the use of the passive voice (haha, see – I did it right now). Rereading your work in Comic Sans allows you to see how clear and simple your writing really is.
Read it out loud!
Once you’ve written an assignment, try to leave it for a day (or a couple of hours), and come back and read it out loud. Often, we realize how long a sentence is or how clunky some phrasing seems when we catch ourselves not knowing where to breathe during a sentence. Stepping away from your work for a little bit gives your mind time to think about other things so that when you come back to re-read, you can get somewhat of a fresh perspective.
Ask a friend (or an English Language Peer Mentor)!
As much as our own edits our necessary, sometimes there really is nothing else like a genuine fresh pair of eyes. Ask a friend if your sentence/paragraph makes sense and listen carefully to their feedback. Ask for specifics about where you can improve or what makes a part “good”. At ELPS, you can bring a printed-out copy of your work and have a mentor go through it line by line with you. The key focus here is to not only identify mistakes or areas for improvement, but also figure out what it was that made your sentence “good” or a conclusion “strong.”
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