NOVA Annandale | Geology | Bentley | Proper formatting
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names.”
-Chinese proverb

As noted in the assignment description, your report should be in standard Times New Roman font, 12-point in size, and double-spaced. Figures, if included, should not be included in this page count – the page limits are for text only. Figures can certainly be included (frequently, they are far better than words at expressing geologic relationships), but they are not required. Any figures you haven't drawn yourself or personally photographed will need to be cited as sources.

Check the rubric I'll be using to score your paper.

Note: There is a Writing Center on the Annandale campus that is available to help you craft your paper. This is a free service for you as a registered student. Use it! It can do nothing but improve your paper!

Here are some specific pointers to help you avoid the mistakes that a lot of my past students have made:

1) Scientific names are properly written in italics, with the genus name capitalized, and the species name not capitalized.

Examples: Homo sapiens
Canis familiaris
Astrodon johnstoni

2) General names for groups of animals do not need to be capitalized.

Examples: carnivores

3) In general, rock and mineral names are not capitalized. For example, greywacke is properly written in all lower-case. Capital letters are used for named geologic formations. For example, the Kensington Tonalite is a geologic formation named for Kensington, Maryland. It is unique and distinguishable from other tonalites elsewhere. This is essentially the same distinction as the one made between common and proper names (e.g. “professor” vs. “Professor Bentley”).

Examples: sandstone
Examples: Sykesville Formation
Catoctin Formation
Georgetown Intrusive Suite
Old Rag Granite

4) Similarly, the terms “igneous,” “metamorphic,” and “sedimentary” are merely descriptive adjectives, not proper names. They should not be capitalized.

Examples: igneous rocks
intrusive igneous rocks
regional metamorphic rocks
clastic sedimentary rocks

5) The names of physiographic provinces are proper names. Therefore, they should be capitalized, too.

Examples: Coastal Plain province
Piedmont province
Blue Ridge province

6) When submitting an assignment by e-mail, it is wise to shrink your digital photos down to a smaller size. (This makes it easier to e-mail, and less likely to get bounced back to from my e-mail account. Here's the procedure for compressing photos: follow along in the screenshots below. Once you have inserted digital images into your paper, right click on the picture and select "Format Picture" (1). A new window will open up, titled "Format Picture" (2). Then click the button in the lower left marked "Compress" (2). Another window will open up, titled "Compress pictures" (3). Under "Apply to," select "All pictures in document." Under "Change resolution," select "Web/Screen." Finally, Click "OK." Click "OK" again on the next window.

Congratulations: your pictures have now been compressed! Save your changes, and then you're all set to e-mail the paper to me.

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