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Tips For Academic Writing

Writing skills   |   Punctuation, generally   |   Apostrophes   |   Commas, colons and semi-colons   |   Word confusion   |   Referencing your sources   |   Books on writing / academic writing   |   Referencing

Writing skills

A major part of university studies involves writing assignments. Universities have a low tolerance for spelling errors, poorly constructed sentences and incorrect use of punctuation. This series of short videos focuses on several different types of punctuation and how to avoid using the wrong word in your writing.

The importance of punctuation
 Duration 3m 04s

  • Punctuation is vital for understanding what has been written.

Apostrophes - the right place for them
 Duration 3m 10s

  • Apostrophes are used in two ways - to replace missing letters in some words and to indicate possession. Do you know the difference between its and it's?

Commas, colons and semi-colons
 Duration 3m 25s

  • Commas can change the meaning of a sentence; colons and semi-colons: what they're used for.

Word confusion
 Duration 2m 05s

  • Some words are very similar but mean different things, e.g. to / too / two. Variations like this can be confusing for some people, but once again there’s a simple solution - you need to be clear about meaning.

Books on writing and academic writing

Eats, shoots & leaves : the zero tolerance approach to punctuation

Writing that works: a guide for tertiary students

Effective legal writing : for law students and lawyers

The New Zealand legal system: structures and processes

  • Check the Contents page, under Appendices

Your joking: an easy guide to correct punctuation, including how to know the difference between your and you're

Introduction to the New Zealand legal system
  • See paragraphs 19.11 - 19.13

Surviving law school

  • Ch 11: assignments

Legal skills

  • Ch 10: legal writing

Nemes and Coss' effective legal research

  • Ch 2: citations and effective legal writing; includes a section on avoiding plagiarism at [2.65]

Legal research and writing in New Zealand

  • Includes chapters on academic writing, legal memoranda, legal opinions, English and grammar
Learning the law
  • Ch 9: answering essay questions; Ch 10: exam tips

Referencing your sources

Legal writing also includes providing references to sources used in your work. You’ll already be aware that there is a prescribed style for citation which is contained in the New Zealand Law Style Guide. For information on what's in the Style Guide, see the New Zealand Law Style Guide page in this wiki.