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English Writing Tips

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English ( ESL ) Writing Tips

  • Writing tips in general
  • Essay writing tips
  • Narrative writing tips
  • Research paper writing tips
  • Memo writing tips
  • Letter writing tips
  • Resume writing tips
  • Ad writing tips

  • Writing tips in general

    1. Write in positive language. Write "what is, not what is not."
    2. Use transitions between paragraphs.
    A transition can be a word, like furthermore, additionally, or moreover; a phrase like After dinner...; or an entire sentence. For example, if you are writing about Topic A and now want to move to Topic B, you can begin the new paragraph with a transition such as "Like (or unlike) Topic A, Topic B..."
    3. Use different sentence structures, that is, mix simple, complex, and compound sentences.
    4. Use the correct words to convey your message. Do not use words that try to impress your readers.
    5. Use synonyms instead of using the same word repeatedly.
    6. Be concise.
    7. Make each sentence and every word should state something new.
    8. Avoid qualifiers such as rather, quite, somewhat, probably, possibly, etc. These words reveal a lack of confidence.
    9. Use the active voice.
    10. Check grammar and punctuation carefully.
    11. Keep sentences and paragraphs short (average 11 to 15 words per sentence).
    12. use simple, common words.
    13. Explain abbreviations and acronyms, and avoid jargon.
    14. Write directly to your reader (if writing for users, say 'you', not 'the singer').
    15. Remove unnecessary words.
    16. Use concrete words instead of abstractions. For example, provides a description of = describes.
    17. Arrange the words for coherence and emphasis, that is, listed in the order in which they happen; grouped by area or person doing the work; or ranked in importance.
    18. Use drawings or diagrams to show relationships.

    Essay writing tips

    1. Plan your essay in advance.
    2. Understanding the subject. Analyze the subject.
    3. Collect & organize the information which you require for the essay.
    4. Gather the main points to make a draft.
    5. Study other essays to help you understand how to organize and present the information.
    6. Do not copy other people's work. This is cheating, illegal, & immoral.
    7. If you use someone else's ideas you must take the permission.
    8. Use simple words & language. Be clear. Watch for spelling errors.
    9. Ensure the conclusion of the essay touches on the main concepts of your essay.
    10. Re-read & review your essay.

    Narrative writing tips

    A basic narrative (or story) must contain a beginning, middle and end. The narrative format is based on telling a story in a logical order. A story needs to be told with passion and a clear progression from beginning to end. Dialogue and details add to the quality of the story as do descriptions of the scene. Remember the following as you write your narrative:

    1. Keep to the story you are telling. Do not tell a story within a story.
    2. Make sure that the events in your story happen in a chronological order. Do not jump from one event to another or suddenly change scene.
    3. Use dialogue or other creative writing strategies somewhere in your story.
    4. Use similes and strong verbs to enhance descriptions.
    5. Have enough detail to make your story interesting to the reader.

    The beginning of a Narrative

    1. Begin with a "grabber" to hook your reader.
    2. Describe scene.
    3. Introduce characters.

    The middle of a Narrative

    1. Develop story with at least one specific incident or happening.
    2. Keep your happenings in the correct order for time.
    3. Include descriptions.
    4. Here is where your action takes place.
    5. A conversation might work well here.
    6. This is a good place for a simile or two or even a bit of humor.

    The end Beginning of a Narrative

    1. Bring story to a close, referring to events in the story for continuity.
    2. Wrap it up with a satisfying ending, a zinger, or a humorous comment to leave your reader with a feeling of completion.

    Memo writing tips

    1. Make your sentences short and direct. Policy makers are busy people--don't make them wade through endless clauses and qualifying statements. Make your sentences active, clear, and concise. This is not an academic paper and there is no extra credit for flowery phrases or complex clauses. It's your job to make the paper readable and easy to understand.

    2. Headings and short sections give direction to reader. Bold or underlined headings allow the reader to skim and will emphasize important points. By creating short sections you will keep the reader interested and keep your analysis on track.

    3. Put important points first. Don't hide the information your client needs by prefacing it with details. This is not a mystery--you don't have to build your argument for 3 paragraphs before presenting it. Also, extended quotations and repeated citations and references are unnecessary. Put sources in footnotes or appendices, unless important to client.

    4. Don't forget your audience. Only provide information the client needs. Interesting facts don't belong in the analysis unless they will be useful to the client. Don't forget who your client is and what info they need.

    5. Use appendices for tangential or extended materials and information. Your analysis should be lean--just the facts. Use appendices for information you think client could skip, but may want or need. That way, the flow of your narrative is not disturbed and the client can choose to read appendices now, later, or not at all.

    6. Appearance counts. Make your paper look good by using sections, headings, a readable font, and useful graphics. And, don't forget to spell-check. It may seem trivial, but misspelled words won't engender confidence in your analytic abilities.

    7. Writing takes practice. Don't expect your writing to be perfect on the first draft. It takes time to make words serve your purpose. Good rewriting is the key. So, make sure you leave plenty of time after your first draft to create a second and even a third draft.

    Ad writing tips

    1. Make your ad stand out
    Classified ads that use art, layout and/or type in a distinctive way usually attract more eyes than run-of-the-mill ads. Just check the paper - every day there are listings that stand out from the others.

    2. Use a prominent benefit headline
    Choose the main benefit of your merchandise and feature it in a compelling headline. Amplify this message in your subheads and copy. Avoid generalized quality claims.

    3. Make your copy complete
    This means two things: know what is important to people browsing in your classified category, and make sure you touch on those points; and use complete sentences - they're easier to read than a series of phrases and random words.

    4. State a price or a range
    Quote a price, even if it's high or low. If you're high, explain why it's worth it, and if you're low-balling it, support it with facts that make it believable (for example: moving, quick sale, special purchase).

    5. Specify brand names
    If you are selling name brand merchandise, be sure to name the brand (and model if pertinent) in the ad - the more specific the better.

    6. Include related items
    Make two sales instead of one by offering related items along with a featured one. For example, list golf bag with clubs, end tables with couches, frames with mattresses.

    7. Use a simple layout
    Classified listings should not be crossword puzzles. A good ad layout is planned logically and intuitively - it carries the reader's eye through headline, art, copy, price, advertiser's name and phone number.

    8. Use a dominant element
    A large visual or headline means your ad will be noticed. Photographs or realistic drawings attract people, but nothing draws the eye like pictures of "real people."

    9. Let white space work for you
    This is an important layout element in classified advertising because the average classified page is heavy with small type. The more "empty" space in your ad, the more it will naturally be noticed. Boxing an ad (adding a simple border around it) automatically creates white space around it, which in turn automatically draws the eye.

    10. Urge the reader to act now
    By ending your ad with a call to action such as "12 hour sale," "this week only," or "call now, won't last long"," you add extra incentive for the interested buyer to call you first.

    Checklist - Every classified should include:

    ?Type of sale
    ?Sale date or days and hours
    ?Make and model
    ?Size and color
    ?New, used or reconditioned
    ?Service or warranty
    ?Delivery details
    ?Name, phone number
    ?Address or directions to location

    Research paper writing tips

    1. Choose a topic that Interests you and provides you an opportunity to do original thinking and make judgments.

    2. Avoid topics that are too new or specialized to have information available, that are extremely controversial, or that are overworked - many other students are or have written about the topic.

    3. Narrow your topic

    a. Do some reading on the broad subject area before narrowing - this may seem like extra work, but it will be MUCH easier to write your paper when you have intelligently narrowed your topic! Use encyclopedias, journal articles, Electric Library, Newsfile, web pages.
    b. Do some preliminary research - What kinds of information are available? Choose a topic you can easily research!
    c. Write a thesis statement to define the main idea of your paper. What will you describe or prove? Your thesis statement is your compass; it will keep your paper going in the right direction.

    4. Research your topic

    a. Make a list of keywords to use. List synonyms - you never know what will bring up a 'hit' in a database.
    b. Asl for research help - Librarians are trained to find information and are knowledgeable in specialized and obscure sources.

    5. Organize your notes

    a. Find a way to organize your materials - chronologically, or by point or subtopic.
    b. Consider writing your bibliography FIRST - you will be less likely to overlook material and more likely to see 'the forest ' instead of 'the trees'.

    6. Write the paper

    a. Don't forget to write an OUTLINE.
    b. Rewrite your first draft!

    7. Details that matter:

    a. Correct spelling and grammar - PROOFREAD
    b. Correct citation format - be consistent

    8. Follow the instructor's specified format. Doublespaced? Name on each page? Footnotes or endnotes?

    Resume writing tips

    1. Determine who is your reader
    The reader, maybe a manager, knows the type of person they're looking for. If you don't write what they're looking for, your resume will be tossed out. So write exactly what the Manager wants to see.
    2. Write what the reader wants to hear.
    Focus on the part of your background that is relevant to what the Manager is looking for.
    3. Make your resume easy to read.
    Writing your resume in a bulleted format will enable the Manager to scan your resume
    4. Use titles or headings that match the jobs you want.
    5. Use Design That Grabs Attention.
    6. Create content that sells yourself.
    7. Quantify and use power words (verbs that match the level of position you want.)
    8. Analyze job descriptions to find out the key words.
    9. Identify and solve employer's hidden needs.
    10. Create an image that matches the salary you want.
    11. Prioritize the content of your resume
    12. Tweak and target your Resumes (modify your resume to suit the needs of different employers).

    Letter writing tips

    1. Keep it short and to the point.
    2. Make it clear, concise, and logical.
    3. Focus on the recipient's needs.
    4. Use simple and appropriate language.
    5. Use simple and short sentences and paragraphs.
    6. Review and revise it.
    7. Check spelling and grammar.
    8. Use pyramid style (put the most important thing on top).

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