Keys Tutorial: Practice Runs

The better you know Keys for Writers, the more easily you will find the answers that will improve your own writing. The following exercises let you practice using the handbook in situations when you are writing or revising and come up against a problem and in situations when you are responding to the comments of your instructor or a peer.


Imagine you are writing a paper on women in the armed forces.

You write:

The army has itís unwritten rules.

Then you wonder whether or not you need an apostrophe in itís. Try getting an answer using the Key to the Book, the Table of Contents, the Index, and the Glossary of Usage. Which search is fastest and easiest? What is the answer?


You have just written this sentence:

After interviewing many women, Rogan comes to the conclusion that "the more integrated the Army became, the more trouble there was."

You have quoted from p. 159 of a book called Mixed Company by Helen Rogan. It was published by G.P. Putnamís Sons in New York. The copyright date is 1981.

  • What do you need to include in your sentence?
  • How do you need to change your sentence to include the correct source information, using
    MLA documentation style?
  • How do you cite the work in your list or works cited, using MLA style?
  • Which is the best route for finding the information you need?


You get a paper back from your instructor with the following comments:

"You need to focus your topic more and not just write generally about women in the armed forces. "


You write:

In World War II, women demanded to be sent overseas. Which let to the formation of the Womenís Army Corps.

Your instructor writes frag in the margin. How do you find out what frag means? How do you fix the problem?

Answers to Practice Runs