Formal Writing "Rules"
Grammar and Sentence Structure
..."is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliché). Avoid at all costs!!
Ensure you do not add two complete sentences together using a comma. This is known as a comma splice error. Use a period to end each sentence or a semi-colon to join them if they are related ideas.
Commonly Confused Words
Be sure of the homonym you wish to use is the correct one (they're, their, there - you're, your, yore)
Avoid using contractions - eg. They are instead of they're. Contractions can be used in narrative (story) writing.
Avoid using first person (I, we, us). Use third person present tense.
Numbers over 100 should be written numerically. Numbers under ninety-nine should be written alphabetically.
1st, 2nd, etc. should be written out in full
Slang (Colloquial Language)
Avoid the use of slang. This also includes emoticons and texting acronyms.
Ensure singular subjects use singular verbs and plural subjects use plural verbs.
Do not shift tenses of verb within a passage unless there is a reason to do so. When actions occur in different time frames, choose verb tenses that clearly indicate the order of actions.
Good Writing Habits
*We will continue to add to this list as the year goes on.