Rock Valley College

Writing Center Helpful Handouts

Getting Started 

Brainstorming: Clustering and Listing  Brainstorming is a technique used to inspire creative thinking and develop ideas. In composition: brainstorming means to write down ideas freely.

Brainstorming: Freewriting  Freewriting is nonstop writing. Write whatever comes to mind without pausing to check meaning, spelling, or anything.

Essay Writing

MLA: Supporting a Thesis & Organizing Evidence   MLA style is a system of documenting citations. MLA stands for Modern Language Association.

Sentence Style

Diction   Diction refers to word choice. The words you choose should suit your purpose and audience.

Avoiding Cliches   A cliché is an old, overused expression. It adds nothing fresh or creative to one’s writing.

Sentence Style: Parallelism (Parallel Structure)  Parallelism: when two (or more) similar phrases (or words) link together to make one sentence.


Run-on Sentences   A run-on sentence is a common sentence error in which two or more independent clauses are combined without the use of appropriate punctuation.

Run-on Sentences Exercises

Sentence Fragments  A sentence fragment is a common sentence error that occurs when a dependent clause is incorrectly punctuated as though it is a complete sentence.

Sentence Fragment Exercises