Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

I will make this one short.

Quick tip from the AP Stylebook:

Unique means one of a kind. Do not describe something as rather unique, most unique or very unique.

And I have already mentioned my own feelings towards the use of the word “very” (just don’t do it).

That is all.

Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

The following post is actually something I try to avoid when it comes to the WNW, only because 1. I would rather focus on words specifically, instead of a style. And 2. There are many different styles that students may have to use during their time in college, and it feels a little wrong for me to only pay attention to one.

With that being said, today I will briefly go over citing government documents when using APA (American Psychological Association) style, 6th edition. Here at the MFD Writing Center at OLLU, we work with a great number of students who must use APA style when writing their papers. It is certainly the style I end up working with the most, and aside from citing websites, citing government documents seems to be the trickiest thing that a student may have to do.

So here are some general rules to go by: First, it may help to remember to treat the document as you would a book, and if there is a name on the title page, use that name as the author. If no name is present, use the name of the agency, department, or branch as a group author. So really, an in-text citation would look almost exactly the same as if it were for a book or journal article.

Ex: Paraphrase
(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Year)

(U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2004)

(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Year, Page Number)

(U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2004, p. 8)

As for the reference page, the same rules apply.

Ex: References
Author Surname, First Initial. OR Government Name. Name of Government Agency. (Year). Title: Subtitle (Report No. xxx [if available]). Place of Publication: Publisher.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2004). Antidepressants and suicide. Washington, DC: Author.

Was that helpful at all? No? Still confused? Yeah, me too. So I get it. APA is tricky enough. Throw in government documents, websites, or court cases, and things get a little crazy.

*Some examples were taken from the Research Guide at George Washington University.

Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson



  1. (of a fluid, gas, or electricity) move along or out steadily and continuously in a current or stream.
  2. go from one place to another in a steady stream, typically in large numbers.


  1. the action or fact of moving along in a steady, continuous stream.
  2. a steady, continuous stream of something.

Something the writing consultants often get asked to check for is if a student’s paper “flows.” For whatever reason, the use of this word for that meaning bothers me. I am honestly not sure why. I have no issue if a student comes in asking to go over organization, or to look at transitions, or to address any choppy sentences or clunky phrases. But hearing the sentence “I just want to make sure my paper flows” makes me cringe, and then my eye goes all twitchy a la an enraged Moe from The Simpsons.

From the episode “Bart Sells His Soul.”

Maybe it is the vagueness of the request that gets me. It is somewhat similar to being asked to “edit” someone’s paper (although that does not bother me nearly as much). There is a lot that goes into editing, and there is a lot that goes into making a paper flow. A similar request we often hear is “I want to make sure that the paper makes sense.” Again, incredibly vague, and does not give us anything specific to look for.

This is not to say that I won’t work with a student who makes such a request. Most of the time, I will even hold back on the cringing and twitchy eyes…most of the time. But the more specific a student’s requests or questions, the better.

Spring Break Hours for March 13-17th

Salutations, Friends!

Sabrina here, I have some news about upcoming schedule changes.

Spring Break is upon us and I am sure everyone is welcoming that break from classes.

The MFD Writing Center and the ACE will have limited hours next week.

Our hours will be the following:
Monday – Wednesday: 9-5pm (The Library will be closing at 5pm)
Thursday & Friday: University Closed

We will have a consultant back in the office on Sunday March 19th.
All schedules have been updated on WC Online.

Have a safe and relaxing Spring Break next week!

Happy Writing!


Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

I’m going to make this quick, word nerds. Below are three phrases that are never to be used under any circumstances for any type of writing.

Past History (ex: Her past history would not allow her to let go of the remark as an innocent joke.)

Current Present (ex: Jamie’s current present experience was unlike anything he had encountered before.)

Future Destiny (ex: “It’s my future destiny!” Logan exclaimed, taking the book back and running out the door.)

I will also throw in some advice handed out on Twitter by the incomparable Stephen King: Never use the phrase “for a long moment.” Just say “moment.” If the amount of time you wish to convey is longer than a moment, then use a different word.

Welcome to the Mary Francine Danis Writing Center at ACE. You can find tips, news, and fun posts about the wonderful world of writing, the ACE, and the OLLU Community!