Boilerplate comments for

Revising and Editing Essay, "Detrimental Effects of Cell Phones in College"

Engineers in hard hats


  1. Steel in the form of flat plates used in making steam boilers
  2. A copy made with the intention of making other copies from it
  3. In information technology, a boilerplate is a unit of writing that can be reused over and over without change.

Introductory comments: Revising means improving the content by changing it; editing means “correcting” or making your work conform to conventional academic and professional language usage. Revising: To “revise” means to re-visualize, same root word for both forms. Look at my instructions on the class page and the grading rubric, my suggestions and my margin notes on your paper to make improvements (revisions) to the content. Editing: use the designated handbook sections to ascertain the patterns of error and then correct those errors on the final draft of the essay.

First, a note on formatting: TNR, 12 point font; TRUE double-spacing throughout; ½-inch indents on the first line of each new paragraph (use the danged tab key, folks); and HANGING INDENTS in the w.c. section!

BP#1: Signal phrase attribution must not only name the author but say who the author is if the author is likely to be unknown to your reader. Use signal phrase attribution to establish the credibility of the author. Why would you name this person in the text of the essay rather than in a parenthetical citation? Only one reason: to establish that this is a credible source. “In an article in Blah Blah, Mr. Blank wrote that  . . .” is very different from saying, “Emeritus college professor and long-time academic journal editor Dian Schaffhauser shows research that  . . .”

BP#2: Editing. I am not weighting editing as heavily in the first essay as I will in the subsequent papers, after you have done the errors analysis project.

BP#3: I HATE you! View the video link that I call “Why I hate YOU,” and purge inappropriate second person point of view and pronouns from your paper, for the reasons stated in that video. Just don’t do it. ‘Nuff said.

BP#4: The topic of this essay is NOT cell phone addiction. Only Gardiner wrote about cell phones as an addiction. You are misrepresenting what the other writers have said, and you are under-cutting your credibility by making the claim that this essay is about cell phone addiction. That's not the topic that was assigned. The topic that was assigned was to research about the negative impact of cell phones in the classroom and during study. If you claim that the essay is about cell phone addiction, that is misleading the reader, and it is overstating what all of the other writers, aside from Gardiner, have said about cell phone use. Only Gardiner compared his students’ use of cell phones to an addiction. Take out a pen and write across the top of your paper: This essay is NOT about  addiction.

BP#5:  Gardiner and Freed write about the use of cellphones in high school; the other articles are about cell phone use in college classes. The purpose of this problem/solution essay is to ultimately build to the point of establishing your own personal cell phone use policy that will help you to be successful by avoiding the distractions of cell phone in the classroom and during study. Your essay needs to make clear where you are referring to use of cellphones in high school or by college students. College students, legally, are adults and so they have the rights that any adult would have. It's not possible to impose the same restrictions on adults that it is to impose on minors. Please be clear about these distinctions in your essay. The ultimate purpose of this essay is for you to outline your own personal cell phone policy use.

BP#6 Pronoun agreement (S-6a). How are the following sentences different and how are they the same?

BP #7 Get off your soap box, please, reverend, and stop preaching to the world! You can’t change the world, no matter how passionately you may feel about ANY topic; however, you have complete control over what YOU do in life, so that is the realistic focus of this essay. It is about what you, yourself, will do to solve the problem of cell phone distraction which, evidence shows, is undoubtedly hurting your learning outcomes. Please get the bossy, preachy, “society-must-do-as-I-say” tone out of your paper because you are under-cutting ANY credibility you may have established with your researched evidence by railing at or preaching to “society” to “do something.” Forget about shaping up society. Ain’t  gonna happen, folks. However, some readers may be convinced to follow your wise path of self-determining your own outcomes by establishing your own policy for cell phone use which does not interfere with your desired learning outcomes or your desired grades in classes.

BP#8 Absolutes are ALWAYS wrong. (Ha ha!) Examples include: 24/7, 100%, “everyone knows . . .” “everyone is addicted to their cell phones . . .” “everyone has a cell phone . . .” Etc., etc., etc. Tone it down some, and thereby reinforce your credibility rather than ruining it with exaggerations and overstatements.

BP#9 Use ALL Assistive Technologies: MS Grammar and Spell checkers, Grammarly, Paper Rater, M.S. “Speak,” Safe Assign and Smart Thinking. Folks, give yourselves the opportunity to earn the best grades you can get by using the technological and human help available to you. Some folks who got C or C- level grades on previous work, clearly submitted their essays to Smart Thinking because they are now at B+ or A- level. Why would anybody NOT use assistive technologies and available human help?!    

BP#10 Introduction Do's and Don'ts: From the GGW. Good advice!

BP#11 George Orwell's advice to writers, instructions on how to K.I.S.S! Short and sweet advice. A bit of explanation.

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