Difference between revisions of "Korean English errors"

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Latest revision as of 20:50, 9 August 2019

The following is a summary of typical writing errors by Korean learners, and other East Asians students, of English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL or L2).


1 Global issues

The following are true for many learners of English as a second/foreign language. Some of these are not unique to second language learners, some native English speakers may have some similar problems when learning academic writing. Some general features might detract from a polished academic writing style. For more, see the article on L2 writing problems (global issues).


Essay structure
  • Lack of a well developed introduction paragraph
  • An introduction that does not clearly and directly lead to a specific thesis
  • An introduction that begins with very familiar, general, or familiar information
  • An introduction that is anecdotal, informal, colloquial, or general
  • Not stating a clear main thesis in the beginning
  • Not stating clear main ideas (topic sentences) in the body paragraphs
  • Lack of well developed body paragraphs and contents
  • Self-announcing expressions instead of an actual thesis or topic sentence (E.g., instead of saying "In this essay, I will explain my proposal for improving the program in my department," the writer should actually state a specific thesis that includes that main points of the proposal.)


Support


Source use
  • Not citing sources
  • Not using sources meaningfully
  • Simply dumping info from sources for the sake of citing sources
  • Citing a number of isolated facts that do not cohere with the main flow of thought
  • Citing from sources that you did not really read and understand, e.g., academic sources that are too hard for you or too much for you to read, comprehend, and use meaningfully, or sources that you could not have understood
  • Not using in-text citations
  • Not including end references (or works cited, or bibliography)
  • Not including all the sources that were cited in the paper in the references / works cited section
  • Some items are in the references that were not cited in the paper ("padding" the references with unused sources)


Overall discourse style
  • Emotional or subjective wording or expressions (unprofessional tone)
  • Use of second person forms ("you")
  • Use or overuse of first person forms ("I, we") and expressions (e.g., "I think")
  • Short, choppy sentences
  • Short, choppy paragraphs
  • Writing in a colloquial or informal style
  • Use or overuse of questions, especially non-rhetorical questions that a writer poses and then immediately answers, i.e., topic-raising questions; also, overuse of hypothetical questions, or suggestive questions (which imply a certain answer or assumption)
  • Emotional, negative, or unprofessional tone
  • General level discussion, e.g., using common, general knowledge; not providing informative, new, insightful, or unique ideas or information

 

2 Word choice (lexical) errors

2.1 English-Korean lexemes

Some errors arise from English loanwords into Korean, with altered meanings. For more, see the article on Konglish (vocabulary issues). Examples include:

Korean English source Korean meaning
화이팅 "fighting" a cheer or expression of encouragement
멀티탭 multi + tab a powerstrip
스킨십 skin + ship affectionate touch
핸들 handle steering wheel


2.2 English countable nouns

Some nouns in English differ in countability or their status as singular nouns. The following nouns, for example, have singular collective meanings, i.e., as singular but group-like entities, and are thus not used as plurals, at least not with the meaning that Korean students may intend.

English noun meaning notes
faculty a group of teachers / professors at a school / institution i.e., not 'faculties' for professors or teachers [1]
staff a group of people working in an office i.e., not 'staffs' for a group of employees or personnel
alphabet a set of characters or letters that form a writing system, e.g., the Latin alphabet       cf. 'letters' = characters of an alphabet
vocabulary the set of all words in a language, e.g., English vocabulary cf. 'words' or 'vocabulary items', or 'lexical items'
equipment a set/group of devices cf. 'a piece of / pieces of equipment'
furniture a set/group of items cf. 'a piece of / pieces of furniture'
homework an activity or a set of assignments cf. 'an assignment' or 'a homework assignment' or 'a piece of homework'
research a general activity cf. 'a research study, a study' or 'a piece of research' or 'a (research) report'
evidence a general set of facts or information that supports a conclusion One cannot say "evidences" in English.


Also, the word 'evidence' is not used as a transitional or connector to cite examples, unlike the Korean 증거로(는). Instead of "as evidence" we can say "for example" or "e.g."


2.3 Informal terms

The following are informal, or can be informal if used too often, and can be better expressed with more formal equivalents in academic writing. Synonyms for such words can be found from a thesaurus (a synonym dictionary) such as www.thesaurus.com.

Informal → More formal
Adverbials & connectors
about approximately
afterwards afterward
anyway, anyways [ = topic shift marker] As mentioned, ....
For / As for ...,
Or a sentence starting with another prepositional phrase; or start a new paragraph.
besides Furthermore, / Also, / In addition, / Additionally,
like this like so, thus, accordingly, similarly, respectively, ...
nowadays currently, in recent times, recently,...
Adjectives & modifiers
big, huge, gigantic large, extremely large, enormous, great, voluminous, massive, exorbitant, significant, substantial...
good advantageous, excellent, desirable, effective, suitable, beneficial, of considerable quality, greatly appreciated, ...
kind of, sort of slightly, somewhat
a little slightly, somewhat, fairly
lots of, a lot of many, a large amount of, a large quantity of, numerous
more and more increasingly __, __-er (e.g., increasingly fierce, increasingly fiercer, fiercer; more daunting, increasingly daunting)
pretty fairly, somewhat, generally, very
really extremely, greatly, dramatically; indeed
Nouns & pronouns
part partition, section, component, sector, element, entity, portion, aspect, paragraph, ...
people individuals, participants, subjects, men, women, humans, citizens, voters, students, adults, population, researchers, Canadians, ... (The appropriate noun would depend on the context.)
thing item, object, material, entity, device, ...
stuff, thing(s) items, objects, material, entities, devices, ...
someone, something a certain person/item, a specific person, a/this/that particular individual, an entity, a person, an item
Use a specific noun phrase; or use a passive voice verb and omit the vague subject.
way manner, method, means, methodology, instrument, aspect
Verbs
do conduct, perform, ...
get receive, obtain, acquire ... ; become
Contractions:
don't, can't, won't, they're...
Uncontracted forms:
do not, can not / cannot, will not, they are

3 Main verbs

3.1 Verb meanings

Some verbs differ in meaning or use between Korean and English, leading to errors in English usage. Examples include:

  • Proceed: In English, this is intransitive only (차동사). The transitive (타동사) equivalent in English is to conduct, e.g., to conduct an experiment.
  • Mention: This means to briefly talk about something, without going into detail. It is not the same as discuss, and is in fact quite different, as discuss means to go into a detailed explanation or description.
  • Blame vs. Criticize: 'To criticize' is to point out problems or to express a negative evaluation, while 'blame' refers to ascribing guilt or fault to someone.

For example:

  • The class will be conducted in German.
  • The report merely mentioned his involvement in the crime, but did not actually discuss it.
  • I'm not blaming you; I'm merely criticizing your behavior.


3.2 State and state change verbs

Koreans and Japanese writers tend to misuse certain English intransitive verbs [자동사] in the passive voice [수동태]. The problematic verbs are those that indicate a state of existence, or a change of state. In Korean, these intransitives are the same as the passive forms, but most Western languages distinguish the state-change mode from passives. Thus, verbs like these are wrongly passivized:

  • exist, live, die, appear, disappear, vanish, tend to

Thus, East Asian students incorrectly write or say sentences like these:

X Santa Claus was existed.
✔️ Santa Claus exists.
X The car was disappeared.
✔️ The car disappeared.

This is also problematic for some English verbs that have transitive [타동사] and intransitive forms. Asian learners may use the passive incorrectly to describe a change, when the intransitive would be better in the context. Using the passive implies an actual agent or force at work, which may not work in contexts where the cause is not known, is abstract, or is not relevant.

? A significant segment of the population still believes in traditional gender roles. This is a social attitude that must be changed.
✔️ A significant segment of the population still believes in traditional gender roles. This is a social attitude that must change.


3.3 Phrasal verbs

See the article on Phrasal verb errors. See the article on Phrasal verbs for a linguistic description. In more formal English, we use phrasal verbs less often and we prefer instead to use main verbs from Latin (or Greek) for more precise meanings; e.g.:

  • go out → exit, depart, leave ...
  • take out → remove, excise, delete ...

 


4 Modal verbs

For more, refer to the article on modals.

4.1 Must versus should

‘Must’ is used to express a strong obligation (like a moral or social obligation, or otherwise some kind of obligation that is an external force); ‘should’ expresses strong advisability or warning. So in the following sentence, ‘must’ sounds more like an obligation imposed from above, and 'should' sounds more like strong advice or expectation.

  1. For this reason, online banking must be made quick and simple.
  2. For this reason, online banking should be quick and simple.


In #1, this makes sense only if the speaker is one who can state this as an obligation (or an implied demand or command), for example, a bank president is unhappy about customer complaints about their online system, and scolds his IT department by stating that it must be quick and simple, somewhat like an order. In most cases, however, the second sentence would be more natural. This expresses strong advice, warning, or strong expectation. For example, unhappy bank customers might say this to express their frustration with the system, in order to give the bank a warning or strong advice to improve its online system, and/or to express a strong sense of expectation, that the system should function much better.


4.2 Can vs. could

The verb can puts more emphasis on something possible, though perhaps requiring effort or involving difficulty in achieving it. The verb could is more hypothetical in meaning. Note: the meaning of could is not primarily past tense, and its main use is not as a past tense of can. It historically developed in English as a past tense of can, but its main use in modern English is for hypothetical situations or conditional (if-type clauses) clauses. For example, trying to use could as a past tense form of can / be able to in this sentence sounds awkward or ambiguous.

  • We could replicate the experiment with subjects from a different country.

This is ambiguous, because native English readers would first interpret this as a hypothetical statement – “hypothetically, we might try to replicated it” or “hypothetically, we might be able to replicate it.” Rather than using could here, it would be better to either use ‘was able to’ to emphasize the idea of ability, or to delete it altogether and use just the main verb, and/or the main verb modified by an appropriate adverb.

  • We were able to replicate the experiment with subjects from a different country.
  • We replicated the experiment with subjects from a different country.
  • We successfully replicated the experiment with subjects from a different country.

However, in the negative, it is less ambiguous, so could not would be more common and clearer. Other cases where could is used as a non-ambiguous past tense form might be with appropriate temporal (time) clauses. Otherwise, could is more commonly used in conditional statements, for hypothetical and speculative statements, or for permission.


4.3 May & might

The verb may expresses as its core meaning the idea of possibility. Because might is an old hypothetical form, it suggests a less likely possibility than may, i.e., might sounds less probably, less likely, less confident, or more hypothetical than may.

  • He may be lying to us.
  • He might be lying to us.
  • This might be an interesting film.
  • He might agree to it (but then, he might not).

The verb might can also express speculation, suggestion, or implied criticism; in very formal British English, it can be used for requests.

  • She might have bought it in Mongolia, but I’m not sure if she’s been there. [speculation]
  • I’m not sure what the problem is, but you might try putting the RAM chip in a different slot. [suggestion]
  • You might have asked if someone else wanted cake before eating the last piece! [criticism]
  • Might I have another glass? [British, permission]


4.4 Could, may, might

The verb could was originally a past tense form of can, which has to do with one's own internal ability ("I can do it"). What was originally just a past tense form was adopted and remade into a hypothetical form of can ("I could do it -- if I had the time, maybe"). So can and could have to do with internal ability; the focus is on the subject's internal ability. The verbs may and might are more about the situation, circumstances, or what is external to the sentence subject.

Let's consider the following examples.

  1. The president could be lying to us.
  2. The president may be lying to us.
  3. The president might be lying to us.

In the first example, the speaker believes that the president is inherently capable of lying; perhaps the speaker believes that the president has lied before, or he is a capable liar, or it's in his nature to lie (cf. the more factual assertion that "The president can lie"). In the second and third examples, the speaker's belief is based more on the situation or circumstances, e.g., because things look suspicious, so the speaker concludes that the president may be (fairly or somewhat likely) lying or might be (less likely) lying. In many cases, the difference between the internal ability of could and the external evaluation of may, might is more of a semantic nuance.

The forms may have, might have, could have are used for speculating about the past.

  • He may have escaped (but we’re not sure).
  • He might have escaped (but not so likely).
  • He could have escaped (it’s possible, but we don’t know yet).


These forms are also used for requests and permission.

  • May I leave now? [very formal]
  • Could I leave now? [formal]
  • Can I leave now? [informal]
  • You may leave / may not leave now. [more formal]
  • You can / cannot leave now. [more informal] (adapted from Cowan (2008:299))

 


5 Sentence form and style

Common sentence style problems include:

  • Use of second person forms ("you")
  • Use or overuse of first person forms ("I, we") and expressions (e.g., "I think")
  • Short, choppy sentences
  • Short, choppy paragraphs
  • Use or overuse of questions, especially non-rhetorical questions that a writer poses and then immediately answers, i.e., topic-raising questions; also, overuse of hypothetical questions, or suggestive questions (which imply a certain answer or assumption)

Short, choppy sentences can lead to an awkward, poor flow of sentences and ideas. This can be alleviated by (1) combining shorter sentences together, and (2) expanding short sentences into longer ones with more detailed explanation or development of ideas. Creating a greater variety of sentence types with longer sentences can improve the logical flow. This can be done by relying on more complicated sentence forms.

5.1 Sentence forms

Sentences can be of the following types. More complicated sentences can be better for academic writing, as they can make for better flow of ideas. For more, see the general article on connectors, and the article on sentence types.

type definition example function
Simple one main clause The iguana ate the rodent. Foregrounds activities and ideas
Compound or coordinate two main clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction The iguana at the rodent and the cheetah chases the zebra. Foregrounds two clauses equally in sequence
Complex main clause + subordinate clause Zebras hate cheetahs because they always try to chase and eat them. Backgrounds one idea to a main idea
Compound-complex two main clauses + subordinate clause
(or main clause + two subordinate clauses)
Some mammals hibernate in winter, but others simply adapt to cold weather, because they have evolved to adapt to and to exploit their niches differently. Juxtaposes two foregrounded ideas with a backgrounded idea, e.g., for explanation


5.2 Complex sentence structure

The sentences on the left are simpler, and do not flow as well. Combining sentences with logical connectors like after, because, so, although, and others can improve logical flow as well as the academic style of writing.

Less formal More formal
I ran the simulation, and then the problem became apparent. After I ran the simulation, the problem then became apparent.
Gender was found to be a significant variable. So it was entered into the regression equation. Since gender was found to be a significant variable, it was entered into the regression equation.
The effect of first language background was examined extensively. But it was not found to have an effect. Although the effect of first language background was examined extensively, it was not found to have an effect.


5.3 Subordinate (dependent) clauses [종속절]

The following are subordinating conjunctions, and in formal writing, they require a main clause (independent clause, 주절) in addition to their subordinate (dependent) clause. A main clause can stand on its own as an independent sentence, or can be combined with another clause with a conjunction. A subordinate clause cannot exist on its own, and must be joined with a main clause with a subordinating conjunction.

  • because
  • though / although
  • even though
  • even if

Most often, a subordinate clause by itself would be grammatically incorrect. In colloquial English, however, one can hear a clause with because or 'cuz by itself, but this is very colloquial, and considered non-standard or "incorrect" in formal writing.

  1. X The investigator could not get uncover the truth. Because the President did not want to be interviewed. [colloquial or substandard]
  2. ✔️ The investigator could not get uncover the truth, because the President did not want to be interviewed. [formal or standard]


5.4 Run-on sentences

These consist of two or more clauses joined together without appropriate conjunctions or punctuation. These are called run-on or fused sentences, and can be fixed by breaking the sentences into separate sentences, inserting appropriate punctuation, and/or inserting conjunctions.

X Zebras hate cheetahs very much these vicious wildcats always try to chase and eat them.
✔️ Zebras hate cheetahs very much; these vicious wildcats always try to chase and eat them.
✔️ Zebras hate cheetahs very much. These vicious wildcats always try to chase and eat them.
✔️ Zebras hate cheetahs very much, because these vicious wildcats always try to chase and eat them.


6 Conjunctions and connectors

For more, see the general article on connectors, and the article on L2 connector errors (East Asians).

6.1 Variety

Asian students writing in English as a second language tend to overuse common conjunctions like but, so, then. It is not wrong to start a sentence with these words, but overusing them can make your paper sound too colloquial, so using a greater variety of conjunctions is better. It is not good formal style to start a sentence with and.

  • But → although/though, yet, however, nevertheless, in contrast, to the contrary …
  • So → thus, as a result, hence, therefore
  • Then → (1) thus; (2) later, afterward, subsequently; (3) in addition
  • And → also, too; (or simply delete “And” at the start of a sentence, since 'And' sounds informal when used at the beginning of a sentence)


It is less common to use first... second ... third to structure the body paragraphs of essays. This is a TOEFL/TOEIC essay style device that Koreans learn for standardized test essays, but in essays or papers it can sound mechanical or formulaic. It is better to omit these, unless the writer is explaining something that would be hard for readers to follow, e.g., a complicated process or abstract ideas.

Using 'etc.' at the end of a list or sentence sounds colloquial. The following conjunctions are known as conjunctive adverbs – originally adverbs, they came to be used like sentence at the start of clauses.

  • however, therefore, furthermore, otherwise, moreover


6.2 Commas

6.2.1 With coordinating conjunctions

Commas are not usually used with coordinating conjunctions like the following. A comma would reflect more intonation (in speaking) for emphasis, and in writing this looks colloquial.

  • But
  • So
  • Then
  • And

For example:

  1. X But, statistics show the greatest escape rates from poverty by welfare benefits.
  2. ✔️ But statistics show the greatest escape rates from poverty by welfare benefits.
  3. X So, it is necessary to research the effects of cultural factors on English learning, including Korean culture.
  4. ✔️ So it is necessary to research the effects of cultural factors on English learning, including Korean culture.
  5. X Then, they might have some problems in making various kinds of English sentences, because they tend to make easy, short sentences to avoid making grammar mistakes.
  6. ✔️ Then they might have some problems in making various kinds of English sentences, because they tend to make easy, short sentences to avoid making grammar mistakes.


It would be fine in formal writing to use a comma with these, if some other material comes between the conjunction and the sentence subject.

  1. But, as a recent report indicates, statistics show the greatest escape rates from poverty by welfare benefits.


6.2.2 With conjunctive adverbials

The following conjunctions are known as conjunctive adverbs / adverbials – originally adverbs, they came to be used like sentence at the start of clauses.

  • however, therefore, furthermore, otherwise, moreover

These are preceded by a full stop (period or semicolon) and followed by a comma.

  1. The result means the preschooler’s capacity for language skills is affected by age. However, at this point they are all preschoolers, so higher scores for older ages may not be meaningful.
  2. The result means the preschooler’s capacity for language skills is affected by age; however, at this point they are all preschoolers, so higher scores for older ages may not be meaningful.
  3. Participants found specific cues to be helpful for the task. Furthermore, higher proficiency L2 learners may be more aware of visible speech cues and better able to make use of them.

Some connectors can come after the sentence subject or other phrase, i.e., not in sentence-initial position. How do these affect the flow? (Note that thus does not necessarily require commas when non-initial.)

  1. As an adult, however, learning a foreign language was his own decision, and so that strong motivation was essential to maintain and achieve his goals.
  2. The historical evidence thus does not support the standard hypothesis.
  3. Bilingual education at the preschool level is therefore quite effective.

6.3 Topic management & topic shift markers

Topic shift markers are used for shifting to a related topic, or shifting back to a previous topic or item. Koreans tend to overuse certain markers; these markers, or their overuse in writing, can sound colloquial or informal. Sometimes this is due to Korean writers translating expressions from Korean to English, when the expressions do not function the same way in English.

Less formal Comment More formal
In my case, in case of Influenced by the Korean 경우에(는); very colloquial in English Delete, reword, or use a different expression
With regard to, Regarding, As to/for These are okay in academic writing if they are not used too often; overuse sounds informal. Start sentences with full noun subjects or different prepositional phrases.
There is/are Influenced by Korean 있다; in English, this is used for introducing a new topic There exists / There seems to be /
Start a new paragraph; start a sentence with a full noun subject.
First, ... Second, ... Third, ... Last, ... These are not really needed in many college level papers, and can sound mechanical or formulaic. Koreans tend to learn these from test preparation courses for TOEFL/TOEIC essays, which is fine for such essays, but these are used less often in academic writing. In English, they would be used only when necessary, e.g., for explaining concepts or processes that are abstract or complex and thus hard to follow. Delete these terms, and start a new paragraph; or start a sentence with a full noun subject.
Firstly, ... Secondly, ... Thirdly, ... These are British equivalents of the North American 'First... Second ... Third. Use consistent North American or British style in papers; use only if necessary for clarity (see above).
First of all, ... This is a more colloquial version of First / Firstly Delete (see above), or just use First / Firstly


For example:

Colloquial or awkward example Improved, more formal example
In my case, I had severe cultural shock when I went to Canada for almost 8 months. I had severe cultural shock when I went to Canada for almost 8 months.
In case of daylight, it is composed equal intensity of color light in visible spectrum. Daylight is composed equal intensity of color light in the visible spectrum.
In case of Turkey, if the buildings were designed by proper method, the severe calamity could be reduced. If the buildings in Turkey were designed properly, the severe calamity could have been reduced.
With regard to this symptom, I have same experience. I have had the same experience with this symptom.
As for the ANOVA analysis of internal motivation, ... For / In the ANOVA analysis of motivation, ...
However, it is supposed there is no fundamental limitation to OLEDs efficiencies. However, it is assumed that no fundamental limitation exists for OLED efficiencies.
Second, in Korea, there is no specific high-stake for graduating a junior and a high school. ...Third, most of students in U.S.A. has not improved learning in a school. In Korea, no specific high-stakes test is used for graduating from junior and high school. ... Most students in the U.S.A. have not improved learning in school.


6.3.1 Emphatic markers

The emphatic marker at the beginning of a sentence in English can sound informal or colloquial. In English, it functions as a sentence adverb, and thus emphasizes the entire sentence, which breaks the logical flow in academic texts. Korean students tend to overuse this due to the influence of the Korean term and how it is used in Korean [특별히]. In academic English, this is better if it only modifies a verb, adjective or adverb within the sentence. It can often be omitted, or replaced with a less emphatic expression like particularly or in particular.

Less formal More formal
The information is various from the exchange rate and stock prices and to the current of national economy. Especially, economic predictions are useful to make a plan for long-term economic policy for several reasons. ... In particular, economic predictions are useful to make a plan for long-term economic policy for several reasons.


... Particularly, economic predictions are useful to make a plan for long-term economic policy for several reasons.
... Economic predictions are useful to make a plan for long-term economic policy for several reasons.
... Economic predictions are especially useful to make a plan for long-term economic policy for several reasons.

Especially the negative aspect of the violence is active in the minds of young people. The negative aspect of the violence is active in the minds of young people.


The negative aspect of violence is especially active in the minds of young people.


However, if another element is moved to the front of the sentence, such as an adverbial or prepositional phrase, especially can begin the sentence without any stylistic problem, because it is not modifying the entire sentence, but just that adverbial or prepositional element.

  • Especially interesting was the finding that age was not a factor.
  • Especially of interest was the latent factor for internal motivation in the data.



7 Mechanics

7.1 Punctuation

See also: Punctuation symbols.

Parentheses
A space should come before an opening parenthesis, separating it from the preceding word.
X We found a tetrahedron(a four-sided object) in the artwork. [wrong]
✔️ We found a tetrahedron (a four-sided object) in the artwork. [right]

The one type of instance where no space is used before the first parenthesis is in formal notation in certain fields, such as in math and logic.

  • f(x) = a + b1x12 + b2x2
  • ∀(x) → ∀(-y)
  • VP(VT) → (x,y)
  • ∃x(P(x) ⇒ Q(x))
  • p(x) → q

See the notes above regarding punctuation and conjunctions.

Quotation marks
In formal and academic writing, we do not use quotation marks (or bold text or italics) to highlight key terms or new words -- this is more like textbook style. For example:
X Because the topic of 'fake news' is such a critical one, this essay will address various aspects of 'fake news' and related issues, such as 'misinformation', 'troll factories' and 'propaganda'. [ = awkward use of quotation marks]
✔️ Because the topic of fake news is such a critical one, this essay will address various aspects of fake news and related issues, such as misinformation, troll factories and propaganda. [correct]


7.1.1 Non-English punctuation

The following are not standard types of English punctuation.

Tilde [~]

A short dash (en dash) is used for numerical ranges, and a short or medium dash for date ranges (em dash). A tilde (~) is not used for numerical or date ranges. The tilde is used in Spanish words, or in formal mathematical logic as a negative symbol (e.g., p→ ~q). Thus, we write the following with dashes:

  • A-Z, 1-8, 27-29 March, or March 27-29; March 29--April 2.
Angled brackets < >

These are not used for titles, headings, or section headers or subheaders. Angled brackets mainly are used for special notation systems, e.g., in math, science, and linguistics fields.

Square brackets [ ]

These are not used for titles, headings, or section headers or subheaders. Regular parentheses (like this) are preferred for punctuation. Square brackets are not commonly used punctuation symbols, at least not within the normal text of a paper or essay. They are used in more special cases, e.g., for translated titles in the references / works cited section of a paper (as in the example below), or in special scientific and mathematical notation.

  • References
    1. Lee, K. (2019). 화성 언어학 [Martian Linguistics]. Seoul: Alien Press, Inc.
Chinese / East Asian quotation marks

The quotation symbols 『 』 or 「 」 are not used in Western languages.


7.2 Capitalization

The following nouns are usually capitalized in formal English.

  • the Internet

For more on English capitalization, see also: Capitalization


7.3 Document format & layout

Heading

College papers should have a proper heading that contains your name, course name / number / section, date, and such.

Paragraph form

In the body of the paper, paragraphs should be indented one tab space. Paragraphs should be of readable size and of suitable length to develop ideas sufficiently. Too many paragraphs that are too short leads to a choppy flow and less coherent development of ideas, while extremely long paragraphs are difficult to read.

Font

The text should be in a readable and professional looking font and font size, e.g., something that looks like 12-point font. Normal, readable line spacing should be used, such as 1.2×, 1.5×, or double line spacing.


7.4 Text decoration

This refers to text effects such as underlining,italics, boldface, colored text, highlighting, large text, or all-capital letters. These are generally not used in formal papers.

  • Paper titles can simply be centered, with 1-2 lines of spacing before the first paragraph.
  • Sections or subsections can be marked with section headers and subheaders in a normal font, or in italics (depending on the standard format used in a particular field of study).
  • Book titles, movie titles, and titles of TV shows are often in italics.
  • Italics and bold are not used to highlight key terms or new terms in a text; this is more like textbook style, not the style of formal papers.

8 See also


8.1 Notes

  1. The term 'faculty' can have other meanings as countable nouns: (1) a mental or personal ability, e.g., "weakening mental faculties" or (2) in European universities, 'faculty' refers to a department or division, e.g., 'the Faculty of Philosophy.'