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 explains the passive voice, why it can be a problem, and how to find it.
Professor Frost explains nominalizations, why they can cause problems in legal writing, and how to find them.
Professor Frost explains what parallel structure is and why it's important.
Professor Frost explains what pronouns are and discusses common pronoun use problems and how to fix them.
Professor Frost discusses modifiers and how they can go wrong.
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.