Autobiography Checklist

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About 70% of your autobiography should address your adult and career years.

Make links between your experiences and your learning.

Margins should be one inch all the way around each page.

One space is needed after sentence ending punctuation marks.

Use the proper punctuation marks (coma, semi-colon, colon, dash, hyphen, slash, quotation marks, etc.) within each sentence. Consult a grammar handbook for help.

Avoid the use of contractions in formal writing and watch for the use of "its" (possessive) and "it's" (it is).

Spell out all numbers less than 10: exceptions are addresses, dates, and numbers greater than 10 unless at the beginning of a sentence.

Include a blank line between all paragraphs.

Avoid run-on sentences. Divide long sentences of three or more lines into two sentences.

Keep paragraphs to about three to eight sentences. Avoid one or two sentence paragraphs and those that are excessively long.

Use your word processor's spelling and grammar checkers and consult a thesaurus to enhance your writing style. Make use of the DBU University Writing Center if you feel you need some help.

Watch your capitalization. Incorrect--"My Mother went to the store." Correct--"My mother went to the store." Correct: "I told Mother that she was a gem." Correct: "I also told Doctor Jones that she was a gem." The same is true for manager, department, etc.

Avoid starting too many sentences with the same word (especially, "I") or the same pattern of words. This will make your paper more interesting to read.

You can be somewhat creative in your writing style. Avoid using a repetitive list of years and activities such as "In 1967 I...," "Then in 1972 I."

Proofread your work. Reading it aloud can help your ears detect errors you might miss otherwise. Having a friend or family member proof your work can also be helpful.

Watch the ordering of phrases in your sentences and the use of prepositions. Incorrect: "I was pleased with the situation I found myself in." Correct: "I was pleased with the situation in which I found myself."

Be sure the final printing of your autobiography and all your portfolio documents are clear and clean.

There may be some aspects of your life which are sensitive and personal. You may be more comfortable leaving these out of your autobiography.

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