The following constitutes a list of elements that are important for articles submitted to Constant Content. In general, much of what is included is also important for high-quality writing that presents information in a clear manner – the only type of writing that Constant Content is looking for. Included are links to references which help describe and demystify writing concepts and problems. Some information about the submission process, and what types of content Constant Content accepts, is also included.
The short-and-sweet version of our guidelines for submission can be found here: Submission Guidelines.
If you are looking for an excellent grammar and writing handbook, Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook is recommended.
Table of Contents
- Coherent/Cohesive Writing
- Introductory Paragraph
- Awkward Wording
- Pronouns and Antecedents
- Word Choice and Spelling
- Verb Tense Consistency
- Conditional Tense – Could/Would
- Verb/Noun Confusion
- Other Homophones/Homonyms
- Sentence Structure Resources
- Sentence Structure Variation
- Dangling Modifiers
- Parallelism/Parallel Construction
- Prejudiced Language/Stereotyping
- Rhetorical Fallacies/Alienation
- Paragraph Structure
- Brand Names
- British English/American English
Please seek to write in a cohesive, coherent manner. Cohesion and coherence make your writing readable. These concepts concern the flow of ideas and passage unity. If your article lacks cohesiveness and coherence, it will also lack the quality of readability.
Achieving coherence in writing: http://www.boisestate.edu/wcenter/ww97.htm
More about coherence, including information about using transition statements:http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/paragraphs.shtml
Conciseness, Cohesion, and Coherence PowerPoint presentation:http://uwp.duke.edu/wstudio/resources/ppt/StyleCCC.pdf
Articles, and paragraphs within articles, must be well organized.
The following may help clarify what organization is and what techniques you can use to organize your writing: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/organize/ andhttp://mendota.english.wisc.edu/~WAC/page.jsp?id=48&c_type=category&c_id=32
Please make sure your article is well focused and contains a clear main idea that is supported throughout the article. Exclude irrelevant information.
The following defines focus and offers some suggestions for creating well-focused pieces:http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/focus/index.cfm
Every article must begin with an introductory paragraph. Introductory paragraphs present the main idea of your article, orient your reader, and prepare him or her for what information the article will provide. Without an introductory paragraph, your reader will become lost or you will lose your reader.
There are many resources available that describe how to write an introductory paragraph. Most are geared towards students and essay writing, but the principles are the same and can be adapted for non-academic writing.
Consider the following resources: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/intros.htm andhttp://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/introductions.html
Please write with an intended audience in mind:http://facstaff.gpc.edu/~shale/humanities/composition/handouts/audience.html
Articles must be written in a concise manner. Please do not use more words than necessary to convey your message.
More information about reducing wordiness and writing in a concise manner:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/01/
Awkward wording can include awkward word order, unclear/wordy phrasing, and phrasing that does not sound natural to a native English speaker’s ear. Please try to make your point in a concise, grammatically correct manner.
Please make sure all pronouns clearly refer to their respective antecedents and agree with them in number.
The following gives examples of (and solutions to) this problem: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/595/01/
Please use comparative adjectives (cheaper, faster, bigger, brighter) only when things are being compared: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm
If you are unsure about the meaning of a word or how it is used, look it up in a reputable dictionary or choose another word. In addition, please use your spellchecker or look up words you do not know how to spell.
All basic grammar rules must be followed. The following list is not comprehensive and outlines only frequently seen grammar problems.
Be consistent with verb tense and avoid awkward/ungrammatical tense shift:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/601/08
Observe rules for use of the literary tense (http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/litpres.html) where necessary. Examples include book plot descriptions or movie synopses.
The conditional tense may only be used under certain circumstances. Incorrect use of the conditional tense can be awkward and confusing for your reader.
The following illustrates when the conditional tense should be used:http://www.englishpage.com/conditional/conditionalintro.html
Please avoid confusing the verb- and noun-forms of words like the following:
- breakout/break out
- breakdown/break down
- cleanup/clean up
- Setup/set up
- hangout/hang out
- Payoff/pay off
The words on the left are nouns. The words on the right are verbs.
The teens hang out at their hangout.
These words are not interchangeable. Please do not confuse them. If you aren’t sure when either word is appropriate, please see the following reference: http://esl.about.com/od/grammarintermediate/a/cm_its.htm
Articles with incorrect use of words like their/they’re/there, your/you’re, who’s/whose and other homophones will be rejected.
Please use the correct words to describe amount or number of something:http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/amount.html
Ex: Fewer books, not less books
Please properly punctuate sentences. Questions require question marks. Exclamation points should be used sparingly.
Semicolons, colons, apostrophes, commas, dashes, hyphens, and quotation marks must be used properly.
- Semicolons: http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/Semicolons.html
- Colons:http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/colons.asp andhttp://lilt.ilstu.edu/golson/punctuation/colon.html
- Apostrophes: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/
- Hyphens: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/576/1
- Dashes and m-dashes: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/dashes.asp
- Parentheses: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/parentheses.html
- Quotation marks : http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/01/ (scroll down for links to more rules)
- Ellipses: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ellipsis.aspx
Please observe rules for comma usage and apply these rules consistently.
- Comma Use: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/01/
- Commas and Subordinate Clauses: http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/subordinateclause.htm
- PowerPoint Presentation for Comma Use: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/692/1
Use it or remove it. Either is acceptable, but please be consistent.
A space should not appear before a period, question mark, exclamation mark, or comma. Please observe standard spacing rules for punctuation.
We do not accept content with run-on sentences or unnecessary/confusing use of sentence fragments.
- Run-on sentences: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/run-on-sentences.aspx
- Rules for fixing comma splices and fused sentences: http://www.chompchomp.com/rules/csfsrules.htm
- Rules for fixing sentence fragments: http://www.chompchomp.com/rules/fragrules.htm
We cannot consider articles that contain no variation in sentence structure. Please vary your sentence structure to give your writing rhythm and to avoid sounding monotonous:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/573/01/
Make sure your articles contain no dangling modifiers. A dangling modifier describes a word or phrase not clearly stated in the sentence.
The following describes dangling modifiers in greater detail:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/597/01/
Parallelism helps to convey ideas in a concise and clear manner using similar grammatical forms. Parallel construction also enables the creation of grammatically correct sentences.
Please seek to create parallel sentence structures in your writing:http://writingcenter.unlv.edu/writing/parallel.html and http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/623/01/
Please keep the following in mind when you are composing your short summaries:
- Short summaries must be free of the first-person POV and all autobiographical information. This section of the submission form must describe only the article being submitted. Please use your author profile, not the short summary, to share information about yourself.
- Short summaries must be free of errors and follow all writing rules and standards. Please proofread your short summaries for punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar before you submit your article.
- Short summaries must be free of promotional language. In addition, do not include information about how your article is “original,” or “unique.” Our checks determine if an article is original. If your article isn’t original, then we don’t want it.
- Short summaries must describe the article being submitted in a manner that is useful to the potential customer and must be at least 30 words in length. This is the first thing after your title that the customer sees. Make it count.
Titles must be properly capitalized and punctuated, and they must be free of spelling and grammar errors. Do not include your byline in the title. We cannot accept submissions with titles in all caps. Consider the following examples:
TITLES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
Titles; the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Titles the Good the Bad the Ugly
Titles: the good, the bad, the ugly
Titles: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly!!
Titles: T/the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Titles – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Articles submitted to Constant Content must always contain information that is useful to the reader and present that information in a useful way.
We do not accept opinion-based or editorial-style pieces.
We do not accept these for various reasons. Please avoid use of the first-person POV and do not submit personal narratives/accounts. You can read more about why we do not accept these here:http://www.constant-content.com/blog/?p=90
Please note that we do not accept content that uses the first-person plural when it refers to the author.
Using the second person, or “you,” to address the reader is acceptable. Using “we” when it refers to the reader and writer, or humanity in general, is acceptable.
Using the pronoun “one” throughout a piece is not acceptable. Why? A discussion about how using the pronoun “one” sounds to the reader can be found here: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/one-versus-you.aspx
We do not accept fiction (including novels, novel chapters, or short stories), poetry of any kind, or memoirs.
If you wish to create a list of tips, steps, or items, each list item must be accompanied by an explanation. We cannot accept submissions that are simply lists.
Articles must be able to stand alone and may not reference other articles, published or unpublished, by the author. We cannot accept series of articles.
Articles that contain unprofessional use of language, punctuation, or font will be rejected. We do not accept content with smileys.
Please exhibit tactfulness in your writing. Treat your subjects and your readers with respect.
Use inclusive language and avoid the use of prejudiced language and pejoratives. We will not accept content that includes racist, sexist, homophobic, or other prejudiced language. The use of class-based references and stereotyping will also result in rejection, as will language that is denigrating to any religious or ethnic group.
Using rhetorical fallacies or alienating a set of readers will result in article rejection. Avoid judging a set of readers or taking a negative stance against them.
Ex: Parents who allow their children to watch TV on the weekends are lazy.
Do not include language anywhere on your submission form or in your article about licensing or rights. Our licensing structure, which you were asked to review upon registration, determines how customers may use your article. Scroll to the end of the following page to view a graphical interpretation of our licensing system:http://www.constant-content.com/about/writer-tutorial.htm
Articles must be organized and formatted into properly structured paragraphs. Articles submitted in a single paragraph, or articles that are made up of mostly single-sentence paragraphs, will be rejected. Strong paragraphs help create strong articles. If your paragraph-creating skills need polishing, please review the following reference: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/
Please observe all capitalization rules, avoiding erroneous use of capitalization, and using proper capitalization where necessary. Not sure if a word is capitalized? Look it up! The following resources may be of help: http://www.libraryonline.com/default.asp?pID=48 andhttp://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/592/01/
Please properly spell and capitalize names of brands, or use the generic term for the product. If you are unsure how a product name should be spelled or capitalized, please refer to the company’s website for clarification.
We accept either, but please be consistent throughout the piece.
We do not accept content with links or website addresses. However, if you want to reference websites, you may do so by dropping the http://www. prefix from the address and removing hyperlinks.
You may use your preferred style for referencing print sources.
Please professionally format your articles in 12 pt. Times New Roman or Arial font, black font color, with single spaced paragraphs and a double space between paragraphs. A full space between paragraphs helps the reader to determine where one paragraph ends and another begins. You should also observe this formatting rule for the content details section of the submission form.