All essays MUST conform to the following guidelines. This is not an attempt to make your life miserable; being able to apply the standards of historical writing (such as a thesis statement or footnotes) to your own work is an essential part of a history degree. Attention to detail in the finer points of presentation and style contributes to the overall professionalism of an essay, and lends more credence to its contents. Here is a brief survey of some of the more important elements of a history essay. 1. The Writing Process 2. Format 3. Plagiarism and Referencing 4. Common Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes

Writing an essay is not just a matter of sitting down with a pile of books and a blank sheet of paper in front of you. It involves three main stages: 1. Pre-writing 2. Writing 3. Re-writing

1. Pre-writing
This stage is sometimes called the ‘planning stage’ of writing and most historians would argue that this is the most important part of writing an essay. With good planning and preparation, writing and re-writing are made much easier. What does planning to write an essay involve?


They are called ‘Web of Science’ and ‘FirstSearch’ and a user name and password can be got from the Information Desk in the library. As well. but might be useful for definitions of nationalism or for European parallels. once you have found a specific reference which you have found relevant. [DA900] • browse the shelves in the section of the library which holds the Irish history journals. • browse the shelves in the Irish history section of the library. And finally.E. especially articles and book reviews. places and events. many other ways of finding relevant sources. Idem. 2 . as well as the computer cataloguing system in the library.a. Some entries will also give you the most important book or article concerning the subject. 1998). there is a ‘find books on a similar subject’ option. Connolly (ed. If you are doing an essay on Irish nationalists. because the computer simply looks for books with the same class number as the one you have been looking at. Dictionary of Ulster biography (Belfast. you can also do ‘subject’ and ‘keyword’ searches. don’t forget the standard reference work. Journals have several articles in each issue and one might have an article of use to you. This is called a ‘class number’ search. There are many dictionaries of Irish history which will give you brief summaries of important people. A dictionary of Irish history since 1800 (Dublin. A chronology of Irish history since 1500 (Dublin. Using these references you can check in the OPAC if our library has copies. It will contain a list of all the books used in the preparation of the text. 1980). J. you could try a ‘keyword’ search using the term ‘nationalism’. Not only can you hunt up specific titles. 1989). In Irish history the class number for journals is DA900.. • As a student you are entitled to gain access to two on-line databases which are useful for tracking down material. most of which will not have a direct Irish connection. You can also use your booklist to find additional books. Doherty and E. The Oxford companion to Irish history (Oxford. • don't forget. You will find lots of books this way. your textbook will have a bibliography at the back which you can consult. Use the index to find any relevant pages and read them first.). S.J. however. There are. the OPAC. 1993). the obvious place to start is your textbook. so it would be worthwhile to scan the indexes of several of these periodicals. • you can also use the OPAC itself as a finding aid.J. Kate Newmann. Hickey (eds). doing research and finding sources of information Once you know what your topic or essay question is.

skipping over bits you don't understand in order to get a general impression of the author's intent. they tend to lack detail and analysis. Read the introduction. Any direct quotations which you think are relevant should be copied out word for word for future use (or else put a page reference in so you know where you found it). Routledge or Macmillan) or is it published by a local historical society? the quality of the research will vary accordingly. 3 . looking for relevant keywords: don't feel the need to plough through every word and sentence. Thus. which you will find in a more specific work. You need to be aware of several things about your source before you even start reading: • be aware of the publication date: is this an old book? is it out of date? is the date a historically significant one? has it taken into account recent interpretations of the topic? • be aware of the author: is s/he an historian? a journalist? a clergyman? how will this affect their treatment of the topic? • be aware of the publisher: is this a book published by a big academic publisher (like Oxford. Look out for parallels or contradictions which are being made with other author's you have read. looking at every word. Skim read. you should be reading critically and concentrating on the information which pertains to your topic. • take good notes: You should try to summarize the main arguments or ideas in your own words. which will give you a general idea of the book's main arguments (and sometimes the main arguments of each chapter). reading and taking notes Once you have found a source. In general. you can start reading. don’t feel you have to read it through the whole way. Always keep track of the page number on which you got the information. key ideas. and supporting evidence. so you need to be careful about where your sources are coming from • be aware of the audience to which the publication is aimed: is this a textbook? is it a propaganda pamphlet? is it a scholarly monograph? textbooks tend to be easier to read than complex and involved monographs. just keep reading. Don’t be afraid to be critical: just because arguments/evidence are in print doesn't mean they are well expressed or well-founded.b. However. • be selective in what you read: Use the table of contents and the index to help you focus on those sections which appear most relevant. You need to balance the two. Once you've ascertained the ‘background’ to the source. • read actively: When you are reading you should be consciously on the lookout for arguments. This will allow you to cite your sources accurately.

All of this should be decided BEFORE you sit down to write out a first draft. Make sure you introduce your characters properly. With your plan/outline in place you already have. the basic structure of each paragraph. in point form. Thus. because they have all the details in their heads. If ideas occur to you as you write (which often happens). The object in this stage is to get a reasonably coherent draft together which can then be worked on in the final stage. then. preparing an outline Once your reading is done and your notes taken. This will help you to stay on track. lines.c. It will help you to avoid writer’s ‘block’. while you are writing. This will help you find information quickly. You can take this outline one step further by listing the books/notes you will use for each section on the same page. Draw circles. in your head (and roughly on paper) what the essay will look like from start to finish.). with your plan in front of you. Some simply put down the main points. 2. scribble them down on another piece of paper and include them in the relevant spot later on. there are several techniques you can adopt: • try brainstorming: Scribble down on a rough sheet of paper any key words. Polish this. stray thoughts that you have. point b. boxes around and connecting these ideas. now is the time to compile your ideas and evidence into a skeleton structure of how your essay will be written. • try writing the question out at the top of the page. if you need to. To help you with your organization. You have already thrashed out where you are going to discuss point A and whether point C would be better off coming before point B. point a. Your plan/outline can be as rough or as elaborate as you wish. etc. and relevant source books nearby. ideas. It will also help you to remember which sources you plan to use and where. write out your thesis statement. Others like to sketch out. Try to stick to the point as outlined in your plan. and that they logically follow on from each other. most of the hard work is already done. and that you give basic explanations of relevant events. You need to find a system that works for you and which you feel comfortable with. making sure that you are expressing your ideas clearly. Writing Once you have a fairly detailed plan. when you can’t think of what to say next. and not to wander off on a tangent. Then. At this point you should be concentrating on your style and expression. 4 . underneath. trying to pull more major points together. scribble down the general headings you think the information falls into (background. and don't go off onto tangents. you can start to write.

but that you have explained why it is relevant to your argument. 1983). It sets up the thesis and tries to capture the reader's attention. Such statements are generally made at the end of a section or paragraph.g.1 Start the essay with a general statement concerning the subject under discussion (e. ‘The very public and political activity of parish priests in the campaign for Catholic emancipation represented the emergence of the Catholic church as a self-confident and influential institution. the Catholic church was still living under the legacy of the penal era.Your essay should have three main sections: introduction. Analysis and your opinions should be the driving force behind the narrative. 5 . more specific description until the thesis is stated (e. Then move away from this narrow focus to the wider implications of your thesis (i.’). 1 Sheridan Baker.’). p. ‘The emergence of an independent and assertive Church did not bode well for the future of religious tranquillity in nineteenth-century Ireland. or with a relevant quotation. • body An essay is the exposition of a reasoned argument to support a point.g. with a good. written it down).e. It is in the body of your essay that you should use the factual details and events which you have discovered in your research to give your arguments strength. strong point. Each one has its own purpose and function. and show your reader exactly WHY you feel that this piece of evidence is relevant to your argument. A common technique is ‘the funnel approach’.’) and then lead gradually into a narrower. 24. Make sure that you have not only explained your evidence (that is. Try to link your arguments together using ‘signposts’ or ‘transition signals’. Your arguments need to flow logically on from one another and together they should provide a coherent whole. The practical stylist (New York. It is not a recitation of facts nor is it a summary of events. ‘In the early nineteenth century. Try to end on a strong note: with a stylistic flourish. • conclusionThe best way to conclude an essay is to use the inverted funnel’. not the other way around. body and conclusion. A brief outline of the main points supporting this thesis should then follow. so it should be written with that intention in mind: • introduction An introduction is an essential part of a good essay. This is a very important point. Restate your thesis in different words and allude to the main points you used to support it. You must be explicit. A decent introduction should be at least 5-8 sentences long.

Some Basic Writing Tips • use a dictionary to clarify your understanding of the meaning of any terms you are unsure about • use a relatively formal style of writing. it is always easier the second time. get someone else to read your essay. Re-writing This stage is sometimes called ‘editing’ or ‘proof reading’. but if they don't make sense then sometimes it is better to just start over. how?’ 6 . Yes. keep reading and re-reading the question. Watch out for assumptions. If you want to be even more rigorous. ‘Does this section relate to the question? If so. Aim the 'tone' of the essay at an intelligent reader who is not an expert in this field. and insist that they are TOTALLY honest with you if they find a passage muddled or confused.3. re-read the question and ask yourself. Try to ‘connect’ your sections together. and not left to the reader to infer. Then go back and read it over. Remember. After you've written a section. just to make sure that you've understood it properly and that you are still heading in the right direction. it is difficult to bin sentences that took hours to construct. Think about writing the essay for your friend who is not taking history. to string your argument throughout the whole essay. leave it alone for a few days (ideally. Make sure the point that you are driving at is made CLEARLY. gets it right the first time. to make sure that what we are saying is comprehensible to the outside world. You cannot assume that people will ‘know what you mean’. The important thing to remember is that no one. Because our minds run on ahead of our hands. the reader can only read what is in print on the page in front of her/him. Now is the time to change your essay. Once you've got a first draft. You’ll be amazed at what you can see wrong with it. We need to have a critical eye for errors and to have the courage to trash rubbish and start over. of course). You have to tell them what you mean. Check spellings and sentence structures ruthlessly. Thankfully. They can’t read your mind and can’t infer what you were TRYING to say. Tidy up references and footnotes. it is important to go back over what we've written. In order to ‘see’ our mistakes. Be merciless. It always amazes me how hard it is to actually say in words what we are thinking in our minds. not even John Grisham. where the idea isn’t expressed clearly enough. Be especially watchful for unfinished sentences. we need to practice our editing skills. Try to avoid slang expressions and too much use of the first person. How would you explain this topic to him/her? • when working out your plan.

Kate. you might think about purchasing or borrowing from the library one of the many books which have been published in this area. Chicago Manual of Style: www. do you always get stuck? To avoid this.html. 1996). Remember the golden rule: 1 idea = 1 paragraph • always introduce new characters fully when you first mention them. Now you've only got 1800 words left. • when you go to start writing. As well. or using a similar metaphor in both paragraphs. A student's guide to history (3rd ed. Isn't that a lot more manageable? While it may seem petty to approach writing this way. that means only 450 words per section (or about 1 and a half pages). You don't have to write it first. it does help you get over the psychological barrier of a rather intimidating word limit. One final word of advice. if all else fails. Some of them are of a more general focus whilst others are specifically directed to History students. The history student's writer's manual (New Jersey. The elements of style (3rd ed. and dissertations (var. Strunk and White.. Stephen. [the classic text] Turabian. in order to keep the thread of argument going. then you'll have a better idea of what the essay looks like. A manual for writers of term papers. and say you have 4 sections. break down the total word limit. Hellstern. the 'official' voice of Irish nationalism). 1998). Don’t just start telling the reader about Redmond's enthusiastic support for the First World War.wisc. give his first and last name and a brief explanation of who he was (the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party which was. Don't be afraid to chop. Move the words around.• once you have a plan. A short guide to writing about history (3rd ed. Jules. Marius. theses. In fact. and assign a word limit to each section. 1982. it might turn out better if you leave it to the end. others are on order. 1983). you can get it to ‘match’ your conclusion by using similar constructions. New York: Longman. • try to write in a clear. in 1914. edns. Scott. Benjamin.. Mark.. Richard. This will make the 2000 words seem much less intimidating. change or reword. assign 100 words each to the introduction and conclusion. 1998). start over. direct style. Gregory and Garrison. try to rephrase it. try to find alternatives which are more concise. 1979). New York. A couple are in the library now. Thus. New York. If you are really interested in improving your writing. include a sentence or two of summary in which you reiterate what your thesis is and how this section has worked to support it • always remember that prose can be manipulated. write your introduction last. and how to best introduce it. or. 1973. • at the end of a 7 . If a sentence sounds kind of ‘wordy’ or awkward to you.

In neither should the quotation be bolded. In both cases the quotation must be footnoted. You should leave 1” margins on all four sides (this is so your tutor has room for comments). • page numbers Here. If the excerpt is longer than 30 words it should be separated from the main body of text by a blank line. They are the standard rules of practice within the historical establishment. 1999). typed essays should no longer be impossible.500 words long (approx. and the passage is less than 30 words. Martin. John and Coyle. • sufficient margins The standard practice is to leave 1” on all four margins. taken from Michael Laffan's book The partition of Ireland. 6-7 pages). Look at the following example. For HIS101 and HIS307 the word limit is 2000 words.Peck. italicized or otherwise highlighted in any way. PART 2 ESSAY FORMAT Essays must follow the following format. then indented and single spaced. The use of computers is available free to everyone in the university. • using direct quotations in your text If you are quoting directly from a book or article. p. in ink. They must be written neatly. however. using every line and one side of the page only. practice varies. 64: 8 . you cannot use a computer. without quotation marks. • double-spaced The text should be printed on every other line and on one side of the page only. The student’s guide to writing (London: Palgrave. If. Page numbers are commonly placed in the top right-hand corner or are centered at the bottom of the page. essays can be hand-written. • length Standard undergraduate essays are generally about 2-2. • typed In the computer age we all live in. it should be placed in quotation marks and kept within the flow of text.

9 . 14 Feb.6 The unionists had never sought a separate parliament and had always wanted Ulster to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom with her status quite unchanged. lay its constant anxiety to be free of Irish problems. you are plagiarizing. course name. simply because they did not know how to ‘cite’ their sources of information properly.”’2 How can it be avoided? Plagiarism among students is usually inadvertent. Available [Online]: http://wpl.Arguing against holding a plebiscite Balfour later remarked that 'Ireland is not like a conquered state. date of submission. 1999]. registration number. you must use a system of referencing. it is plagiarism to take credit for Shakespeare’s "To be.. For instance. whether they wanted it or not. .washingtonpost. or not to be: That is the question.” It’s also plagiarism to modify his sentence without credit to “The question is: to be. which we can carve up as in Central Europe'. In order to give credit to your [4 Jan. tutor name. you should use a reference (sometimes called a ‘citation’) when you want to: 2 Sara Cormeny. 1996.5 Behind the government's decision to impose selfdetermination on all sides. or not to be. Thus. ‘A word on plagiarism’ in Washington Post... your name.. so that he/she can check your sources and verify the accuracy of your information.. which tells the reader where you got your information from. and the blessed refusal of the Sinn Feiners to take the oath of allegiance in 1918. Plagiarism includes both using the words or phrases of another person and restating another’s thoughts in slightly different words. • footnotes/endnotes (see below) • bibliography (see below) PART 3 PLAGIARISM and REFERENCING What is plagiarism? ‘Any time you take another person's words and claim them as your own. • title page It should include the title of the essay. The removal of responsibility for all local affairs to two home rule parliaments would ease the lives of British politicians and end what Balfour described as all the troubles which we have had at Westminster during the forty years between the advent of Parnell on the political stage in 1878.

It was developed by T. 1983). 10 3 . Many scholars dislike this style because of several illogical rules. for undergraduate purposes. If you are familiar with another style. Moody in a 1975 issue of the journal Irish Historical Studies. and it should be listed in the following order: Margot Northey. not full stops. p. or statistics) • to provide additional information which you can't fit into your text easily3 Format for references There are several ways of referencing your sources. but which you got from someone else (like specific details about a government policy. The differences between a footnote and an endnote are minimal: • footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page • endnotes are listed at the end of the essay or chapter The style which is recommended here is a modified version of the style which is most commonly used in Irish history. Information should be separated by spaces or commas. which you put at the END of the sentence. Some styles place the source of the reference directly in the text. pp 95-6. Making sense: a student’s guide to writing and style (Toronto: Oxford UP.W. but you will see it in some history texts. an easy style to learn and use. 1996. Despite these drawbacks. 4 Don’t forget. numbers should increase consecutively throughout the text. In arts and humanities subjects it is accepted practice to use a system of numbers (arabic). and separated by brackets. Superscript the number (raise it slightly above the text. 43). feel free to use it on two conditions: that you are CONSISTENT and that you include all the required basic information. 2. Information in references The basic format for footnotes/endnotes is that they should read like a sentence.• indicate the source of a direct quotation (when you use someone else's words exactly) • indicate the source of particular or specific information. These are called ‘styles’. like modernizing all spellings and abandoning capitals except on place names. like so4) and number the references consecutively (1. 3 and so on). or at the END of the phrase. which you have used in your own words. in which you make your reference. it is. This is more common in the sciences and social sciences. like so (Holmes. Each number should correspond to a matching endnote or footnote which contains details about the source used.

If you prefer capitals. and that it is in Roman numerals.). pp 10-15 For articles: • • • • • author's name: first name then last name title of article: placed in single quotation marks title of journal: underlined or italicised volume number. 11. Sean Connolly. Religion and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Dundalk: Dundalgan.' is used for one page. like so: p. In ‘pure’ IHS style. followed by date of publication in parentheses page number of the reference FOOTNOTES/ENDNOTES: EXAMPLES BOOK BY ONE AUTHOR Books should be listed with the author. BOOK WITH SEVERAL VOLUMES Note that the volume number is placed after the publication information. Religion and society in nineteenth-century Ireland (Dundalk: Dundalgan. and issue number. 1996). The Northern Ireland peace process 1993-1996: a chronology (London: Serif. as long as you are consistent. title (underlined or italicised).For books: • • • • • author's name: first name then last name title of book: underlined or italicised place of publication: along with publisher’s name and date. Peadar Mac Suibhne (ed. 1985). that is acceptable. and 'pp' for several pages. BOOK BY TWO AUTHORS Paul Bew and Gordon Gillespie. Paul Cullen and his contemporaries (5 vols. 1961-77). only the first word of the title is capitalised. pp 2-4. 24. 12. 1985).. p. 12. OR Sean Connolly. 3 11 . Naas: Leinster Leader. place and date of publication (in parentheses). p. all the rest are in lower case. p. II. placed in round brackets (or 'parentheses') date of publication: usually found on the back of the title page page number of the reference: 'p.

p. It is important. 45. below). Nationalism in Ireland (3rd ed. Then. If you are using two books by the same author. title of journal (underlined or italicised).. 4 J.S. 1994). the editor(s) of the collection is listed. H. Lyons quoted in J.). there is no need to copy out all the same information over and over again. 25. Kearney. p. ARTICLE IN A JOURNAL Articles should be listed with the author. 8 SUBSEQUENT REFERENCES If you are referring to the same book or article several times. Ireland 1912-1985 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. title of article (in single quotation marks). 258. church and state (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.G. Lee. p. 12 .C. but they can also be conference proceedings or essays written in memory of a particular person.J. therefore. pp 281-4. O'Connell: education. pp 169-71. A QUOTE FROM A PERSON QUOTED BY SOMEONE ELSE 7 F. just use a shortened version of the author's name followed by the relevant page number. Edward Carson (Dundalk: Dundalgan. for instance. 1979). Edward Carson quoted in Alvin Jackson. volume number.F. Boyce. Studies in Irish history presented to R. or Daniel O'Connell). year of journal (in parentheses). issue number.BOOK WITH SEVERAL EDITIONS 4 D. 'Fr. when citing an article in an anthology. 1989). 'The colleges bill 1845-9' in Maurice O'Connell (ed. Beckett. For second and subsequent references. ‘The government and the Church of Ireland’ in Irish Historical Studies. that the author of the article itself is placed first. then followed by the title of the article (and not the title of the collection). followed by the title of the anthology and its publication details. Geraldine Grogan. 1992). Dublin: Routledge. use a shortened version of both the author's name and the title of the book (see 5. p. written by different people and edited by one or more individuals. Dudley Edwards (Dublin: UCD. 1993). 24. page numbers. 2 (1941). ARTICLE IN AN ANTHOLOGY An anthology is a collection of essays.L. They usually relate to a single theme (like the famine. Mathew: apostle of modernisation' in Art Cosgrove and Donal McCartney (eds).

and exhaustive guide can be found at: http://www.] 7 CITING INTERNET SOURCES Information that you have obtained from the Internet/WWW must be cited.. [This means that both the source AND the page number are exactly the same as in the preceding ARTICLE WITHIN A WEBSITE If you have used a particular article (or ‘page’) within a bigger website. Lee.html Here are some examples of the most common internet sources. 92 of J. p. it means that the source used here is exactly the same as that quoted in the footnote directly preceding it. 60. In this case. 1892-1914?' in Richard English and Graham Walker (eds). p. you need to cite it. 1989). 13 . 1973). 1848-1918 (Dublin: Gill and p. 457. Available [Online]: http://rest of address [date you looked at this article]. Because this is a relatively new area. Ireland 1912-85 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 359. 92. p.nationalarchives. Lee.memphis. The modernisation of Irish society. Lee's Ireland 1912-85. One excellent.html [18 Sept. Title of Website (last date site updated). Title of Website (last date website updated). the source was p. 3 J. Ireland. 2 Ibid. Available [Online]: http://www. and how to cite them (using Crouse’s style). 'The modernisation of Unionism. p. and its specific address. Citing electronic information in history papers (25 October 2001). Unionism in modern Ireland (Basingstoke: Macmillan.J. Maurice Crouse. ENTIRE WEBSITE Author. 2002]. there isn’t really one definitive ‘style’ for citing websites or URLs. ‘Title of article’. 2002). 6 Ibid.1 J. Author of article (if relevant).html [18 September 2002]. ‘Chief Secretary’s Office’ in The National Archives of Ireland (30 Aug.] David Burnett. p. 54. [This reference to Lee is from Ireland 1912-85 and NOT Modernisation] 4 5 Lee.. ['Ibid. 1996). Available [Online]: http://rest of address [date you looked at the information]. Burnett. just like the books and articles that you use.people. In a footnote.' means 'in the same place'. in Author of Website. Available [Online]: http://www. 25.J.people.

C. 14 . 2 (1941). Dublin: Routledge. G. 1846-1850 (2 May 1996).people. The Northern Ireland peace process 1993-1996: a chronology (London: Serif. 2002].‘Robert Whyte's The Ocean Plague: The Diary of a Cabin Passenger. 2002). D. Unionism in modern Ireland (Basingstoke: Macmillan. but full stops • if the source is a book.. Graham (eds).virginia. 1994).html [18 Sept. J. you list the page numbers on which the article starts and finishes] Bew.nationalarchives. This is not an excuse to ‘pad’ your bibliography with books you did not read. You should include only those books which you read. ‘Chief Secretary’s Office’ in The National Archives of Ireland (30 Available [Online]: http://www. Paul and Gillespie. 'The government and the Church of Ireland' in Irish Historical Studies. 1847’ in Liz Szabo.. Boyce.. look at this sample bibliography. Richard and Walker. there should be page numbers which refer to the pages on which the article starts and finishes For example. BIBLIOGRAPHIES A bibliography is different from a footnote or endnote in its function and style of referencing. The information contained in these references is pretty much the same as for footnotes/endnotes except: • the sources are listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name • the punctuation used in the references are not commas. pp 48-65. Available [Online]: <http://www. 1996). based on the sources used in this guide: Bibliography Beckett. even if you did not quote directly from them. Gordon. Burnett. Interpreting the Irish famine. It is an alphabetical listing (by last name) of all the books or articles which you read while preparing the essay. David. Nationalism in Ireland (3rd ed. 'The modernisation of Unionism. 2002]. 1996). [NB: when citing an article in a bibliography. page numbers should not be listed • if the source is an article. pp 281-97. or which gave you information relevant to the essay.html> [18 1892-1914?' in English.

15 . 1985). Studies in Irish history presented to R. Interpreting the Irish famine. Grogan. 22 Sept. Available [Online]: http://www. Lee.).e. Thus. ['Idem' means 'the same author'.] Mac Suibhne. Maurice.html> [18 Sept. 1973). while the last is missing a subject.J.Sunday Tribune. 1996. Stood on streets where 50 years ago a Catholic couldn’t walk. To Catholics who had just learnt to hold their heads high.’ . 1979). ‘I’ve given a number of priests’ and parish retreats along that west coast of Scotland.. Paul Cullen and his contemporaries (5 vols. 2002]. J.Connolly. Dudley Edwards (Dublin: UCD. Ireland 1912-85 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 'The colleges bill 1845-9' in Maurice O'Connell ( ‘Robert Whyte's The Ocean Plague: The Diary of a Cabin Passenger.. in this case J. you are saying here that the author of Modernisation is exactly the same as the author directly preceding it. Naas: Leinster Leader. 15-36. Kearney. Available [Online]: <http:// www. Crouse. 1847’ in Liz Szabo.memphis. The modernisation of Irish society.people.F.virginia. pp 165-87.. PART 4 COMMON GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION MISTAKES • sentence fragments Sentences without the proper subject/verb combination. church and state (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.people. i. p. 1961-77). Idem. Citing electronic information in history papers (25 October 2001). 1846-1850 (2 May 1996). 'Fr. Lee.). O'Connell: education.J. 1992). Peadar (ed. Mathew: apostle of modernisation' in Art Cosgrove and Donal McCartney (eds).html [18 September 2002]. 1848-1918 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Religion and society in nineteenth-century Ireland (Dundalk: Dundalgan. 1989). The middle sentence is missing both a subject and a verb. Geraldine. Sean. In this excerpt it is the last two sentences which are problematic..

e.e. the farmer’s land. her. Think of the slogan for Senator's Amber Sherry: ‘Made its way . The Third Home Rule crisis began in 1912.e. For example: i. its.the way it’s made.’ • avoid use of the passive voice The passive voice is an indirect way of expressing action in a sentence and it is easily recognized. i. • using an apostrophe Apostrophes indicate the possessive case. assertive language. Fenians were criticised by Cullen because of their commitment to physical force nationalism. It is generally a weak construction because it tends to obscure the doer of the action or the action they describe.e. 16 . they are sentences trying to express too many ideas. with no following ‘s’ i. In Britain and Ireland. It occurs when independent clauses are run together without any punctuation or conjunction. It turns the direct object into the subject of the verb. try to use more direct. the common usage is to use single quotation marks ( ‘’ ).e. • quotation marks Marks should be placed around passages quoted directly from another source. Instead. use double quotation marks ( “” ). This means they indicate ‘belonging to’ singular nouns plural nouns use apostrophe ‘s’ i. politicians’ efforts NB: Possessive pronouns (like his. be careful to avoid the present tense.• run-on sentences Fairly self-explanatory.e. our. the government’s plans use an apostrophe. followed by a past participle and the conjunction ‘by’. Try separating the clauses with a semi-colon or start an entirely new sentence. For a quote within a quote. i. Cullen critcised the Fenians because of their commitment to physical force nationalism. unless stating the opinions of a living historian or writer i. • trouble with tense Historical writing is conducted primarily in the past tense. The verb contains some form of the verb ‘to be’. Emmet Larkin calls the changes in the Catholic church a ‘devotional revolution’. their) do not use an apostrophe. your. Avoid the common error of writing ‘it’s’ (a contraction for ‘it is’) instead of ‘its’ (possessive).

Assignments (UUJ handout. the rapid growth in Belfast’s population led to a rise in sectarian tensions within the city. 1983). I believe that I have shown that the rapid growth in Belfast’s population led to a rise in sectarian tensions within the city. writing and style (Toronto: Oxford UP. Writing academic english (2nd ed. Making sense: a student's guide to.• avoid using the first person The use of constructions like ‘I intend to prove’ or ‘I will argue that’ or ‘This essay will show’ are awkward and unsightly. 1978).). September 2002 Acknowledgements Colin Harper.d. 1997).. ©Janice Holmes. n. Writing essays: a short guide (2nd ed. better: As a result. 17 . poor: Therefore. Margot Northey.. Kingston: Queen’s UP. Alice Oshima and Ann Hogue. eliminate them and express your ideas in a more detached fashion. If possible. New York. Colin Norman.

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