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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Education
September 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Professional Writing Standards

Remember that you are writing for someone other than yourself, so think about your audience.  You are writing as a professional for other professionals.  Your writing needs to demonstrate good organization, flow, and transitions.  It should be clear and concise, and ideas and information should be organized into logical and cohesive units.

In general, the tone (or “voice”) of your writing should be scholarly (i.e., more formal than personal, although not stuffy).  Be sure to demonstrate accurate grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Use academic and technical vocabulary correctly. Proofread and edit your work carefully.

When submitting an assignment in essay format, follow basic APA style. [See:].   The most current edition of the APA Style Manual is available at the WLU Library. This will serve as the final authority on format and style. Use 12-point font for the body of your text unless otherwise instructed.  NOTE: Some exceptions with regard to formatting may apply to assignments submitted through Chalk and Wire.  Be sure to check with your instructor.

Some Specific Guidelines/Advice

  • Write in complete sentences unless otherwise instructed or indicated.
  • Use tenses consistently.
  • Make sure that subjects and verbs agree.
  • Make sure pronouns and their antecedents agree.
  • Spell all words correctly.
  • Use the apostrophe correctly. 
  • Use correct capitalization.
  • Use appropriate punctuation correctly.
  • Use “i.e.” and “e.g.” correctly within parentheses.
  • Avoid run on or overly complicated sentences.
  • Avoid contractions and other abbreviations. 
  • Avoid faulty parallels (e.g., Bob especially likes apples, oranges, bananas and to eat meat.).
  • Avoid slang and colloquialisms.