Student Writing Resources

 

The Red Pen Series

In her role as Galen Scholar, Professor Elizabeth Ruiz Frost created The Red Pen Series, a collection of short, accessible video tutorials that review discrete points of grammar, punctuation, and proofreading. The videos provide overviews of basic rules, examples, common errors to avoid, and creative solutions to tricky writing problems. ​​​​​​


 

 

 

Commas & Semicolons

Professor Frost provides an explanation and examples of her top five comma rules, plus a brief glimpse into semicolons.

 

 

 

Passive Voice

Professor Frost explains the passive voice, why it can be a problem, and how to find it.

 

 

 

 

Nominalizations

Professor Frost explains nominalizations, why they can cause problems in legal writing, and how to find them.

 

 

 

Parallel Structure

Professor Frost explains what parallel structure is and why it's important.

 

 

 

 

Pronouns

​Professor Frost explains what pronouns are and discusses common pronoun use problems and how to fix them.

 

 

 

Misplaced Modifiers

Professor Frost discusses modifiers and how they can go wrong.

 

 

 

 

Verbal Clutter

In this short video, Professor Frost suggests four editing steps for reducing verbal clutter.

 

 

 

 

That v. Which

Professor Frost briefly explains when to use "that" and when to use "which."

 

 

 

 

Less v. Fewer

Professor Frost explains when to use "less" and when to use "fewer."

 

 

 

Hyphens & Dashes

Professor Frost explains when to use hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes.

 
 

Lay v. Lie

Professor Frost explains when to use "lay" and when to use "lie."

Who v. Whom

Professor Frost explains when to use "who" and when to use "whom."

 


Resources for Moving Beyond the First Draft

Professor Megan McAlpin's book Beyond the First Draft: Editing Strategies for Powerful Legal Writing identifies four phases of the revision process that help a writer move past a "first effort" draft toward a clear, organized, and powerful final product. Those phases include checking drafts for (1) coherent writing, (2) vigorous writing, (3) clear writing, and (4) polished writing.

Below, you will find helpful, short articles, written by Oregon LRW faculty for the Oregon State Bar Bulletin's Legal Writer Column, that address each of these critical stages in the rewriting process. To download a comprehensive editing checklist, please click here

 

Coherent Writing