Monday, August 2, 2010

Welcome to Conventional Language

NOTE: The online resource is open to use by anyone. If you use this site as a teacher, student, or writer, I also welcome feedback in order to improve anything I offer here. Feel free to contact me at paul.thomas[at] And thanks for seeking help at my site!

In 1983-1984, I became an English teacher, and for many years, I struggled with the central reason I entered the classroom—to teach other people to be writers.

Over the course of those first challenging years, I experimented and worked with my students to find methods that helped them grow and explore writing and being a writer. Eventually, I settled on a numbering system that allowed me to write numbers on the students' essays to increase my speed offering feedback and to shift the work of revision from me and to the student.

That numbering system began as one sheet of numbers and comments correlated with the grammar text. This didn't work. . .

Then I set out to write my own textbook and greatly expanded the numbering system, producing what I named Vivid Language and what my students called "the darned [edited] good book," or "DGB."

By the time my 18-year career as an English teacher came to an end, I found a publisher for that book (find that book here) although my principal allowed me to photocopy every student her/his own copy for many years before I left high school teaching.

I always felt something was missing from that text, an immediacy or interactive element that I could never achieve in print text.

So here is an electronic version of just the revision element of my lifelong quest to help people write. If you are a student of mine, just click on the menu the number you find on your essay. . .For others, browse and consider. . .

I hope something helps you as you wrestle with Conventional Language. . .

I can be reached any time at paul.thomas[at] . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sample APA essay with notes

See UPDATED 6th Edition guidelines for TITLE page and HEADER:


WARNING: The OWL site is quite useful EXCEPT the new sample essay is filled with ERRORS, notably the citing of sources multiple times in a paragraph (cite year first time ONLY in each new paragraph, and do NOT cite paraphrasing at the end of each sentence if that paraphrasing continues over several sentences.)

This link will take to you the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in the APA's 6th edition style guide.

NOTE: The header format has been corrected on the title page and page 2 ABOVE, but the remaining sample below has not been updated yet.