PDF | On Nov 17, , Vlad Krotov and others published Basic Principles of Effective Written Principle 1: Write coherent sentences. Edith Cowan University. Effective writing. Academic Tip Sheet. CRICOS IPC B. 01/ This academic tip sheet: • examines the factors that affect the style. Guide to Effective Writing Strategies. An Online Resource Created by the. Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium terney.info Authored by.
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Effective Writing. Effective Learning Service. 1. Bad English can lead to poor results. This is true of both the business and academic worlds. This site is rich in tips, tools and examples for effective writing. Its intention is to on-line, in MS-Word and PDF format at terney.info and on CD-ROM. Why am I writing? (Purpose). • I am writing this (Document Type) so that who. (My Audience) can do what (Purpose)?. • Where will the (Document Type) be.
Checking for poor writing and spelling mistakes should be seen as a courtesy to your readers since it can take them much longer to understand the messages in your writing if they have to think and re-read text to decipher these. All written communications should therefore be re-read before sending to print, or hitting the send button in the case of emails, as it is likely that there will be errors. If at all possible, take a break before re-reading and checking your writing, as you are more likely to notice problems when you read it fresh.
Even if you know spelling and grammar rules, you should still double-check your work or, even better, have it proof-read by somebody else. Our brains work faster than our fingers can type and accidental typographical errors typos inevitably creep in.
Improving Your Writing Skills The good news is that writing is a skill which can be learned like any other.
One trick for checking and improving your work is to read it aloud. Reading text forces you to slow down and you may pick up problems with the flow that your eye would otherwise skip over. Reading Another way to improve your writing skills is to read - as you read you pick up new vocabulary and engage with different writing styles.
See our pages: Effective Reading and Writing Styles for more information. There are a number of areas to bear in mind as you write. Always write with your audience in mind, and it can also help to bear in mind the medium in which you plan to publish.
This knowledge will help you to decide whether you need to write in a formal style or a more informal one , and will also help you to decide on a suitable structure.
Finally, have a look at our page on Common Mistakes in Writing and Gender Neutral Language to help you avoid falling into some easy traps.
They exist because they explain exactly what we want to say in easy-to-understand terms. This list includes 10 principles of effective writing. Clarity It is bad manners to give [readers] needless trouble. Therefore clarity…. And how is clarity to be achieved? Mainly by taking trouble and by writing to serve people rather than to impress them.
Communication The social purpose of language is communication—to inform, misinform, or otherwise influence our fellows…. Communication [is] more difficult than we may think. We are all serving life sentences of solitary confinement within our bodies; like prisoners, we have, as it were, to tap in awkward code to our fellow men in their neighbouring cells…. In narrative writing, this means providing enough descriptive details for the reader to construct a picture of the story in their mind.
In expository writing, this means not only finding enough information to support your purpose, whether it is to inform or persuade your audience, but also finding information that is credible and accurate. Sufficiency, however, is not enough. The power of your information is determined less by the quantity of details than by their quality.
Relatedness refers to the quality of the details and their relevance to the topic. Good writers select only the details that will support their focus, deleting irrelevant information. In narrative writing, details should be included only if they are concrete, specific details that contribute to, rather than detract from, the picture provided by the narrative.
Teaching support and elaboration The first step in developing a story or essay is learning to add sufficient information. But randomly adding details without relating them to the overall purpose of the writing rarely improves quality. Why do students have so much trouble developing and elaborating on their topics? Many of the problems students have with elaboration stem from their inability to take the perspective of their readers. When students make the transition from oral to written language, they need to learn to provide those conversational prompts for more information on their own.
Conferencing is at the heart of helping students develop support and elaboration in their writing. Students can learn to revise by asking questions about their writing and the writing of others during conferences with the teacher and with peers. Once students have learned to ask questions and add information, they can learn to delete irrelevant details that weaken the writing and to make details more specific and concrete.
Poets are especially adept at using precise details to focus on specific, concrete, observable things or experiences. Students often have difficulty elaborating on action in their narratives. Many beginning writers rush through the action in a story, condensing it into a few short sentences.
Just as slow-motion replay helps television viewers understand the action in a sporting event, good writers can slow down a moment, breaking down an event into a moment-by-moment replay of the action.
Students can learn to use slow motion replays to slow down a moment and to use action chains to elaborate on the actions in a sentence. Good writers use sensory details to provide their readers with concrete images that help them construct a picture of what is happening in the story. Good writers use sensory details to show readers what things in their story look like, sound like, smell like, taste like, and feel like. Similes and metaphors can also help readers construct a picture by comparing the object being described to something they know.
Students can learn to construct images with words by identifying the imagery in poetry and using guided imagery to construct their own word pictures. Thoughtshots and journals can also be used to help students learn to take different perspectives by getting inside the minds of people from different times, places, cultures, and backgrounds.
Finding the right information: While writers of narratives can often rely solely on their own observations and inner resources to develop their writing, writers of expository genres have to look outside themselves for the information they need to develop their writing. As a result, in expository writing, the ability to find relevant information is just as important as the ability to effectively use that information to develop a topic.
Knowing how to use facts, statistics, examples, and anecdotes to develop a topic is not enough; students also need to learn the research, evaluation, and notetaking skills that will help them find that information. Finding sufficient information. In the Information Age, students have no trouble finding lots and lots of information on any subject they can type into an Internet search engine.
Many students never bother to consider the source of their information, though, giving equal weight to information they find in the equivalents of the New York Times and the National Enquirer. The real challenge, then, is not finding sufficient information, but teaching students to separate the wheat from the chaff.
As a result, teaching students research and evaluation skills is critical to the development of support and elaboration in expository writing. Students need to be taught how to a locate multiple sources of information in books, on the internet, and from people in their communities, b critically evaluate the credibility, accuracy, and relevance of that information, c separate fact from opinion, and d cite their sources so their readers can make their own judgments about the credibility of their information.
In addition, teaching notetaking and summarization skills cuts down on plagiarism by helping students learn to translate ideas into their own words.
Finding relevant information. Knowing who the audience of a piece of writing will be is critical to developing relevant support. When children target their writing to a specific audience, they quickly learn to select only the information that is relevant to that audience. Information that is convincing or useful for one audience may have no effect on a different audience. Students can learn rhetorical techniques to tailor their support to their audience, asking whether their audience would respond better to using facts, statistics, or personal anecdotes to support their argument.
Students can also learn strategies for selecting the information that is strongest and most relevant to their audience, to delete weak, irrelevant information, and to arrange their information from strongest to weakest.
Summarizing the same information for different audiences also helps students learn to identify the facts that are relevant to a specific audience.
Can you show me an example where your reader can see or feel what is happening? Lessons that Change Writers. Portsmouth, NH: Lane, Barry After the End.
Shoreham, VT: Discover Writing Press. Non-Fiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and Research in Grades Portland, ME: Stead, Tony Is That a Fact? Teaching Non-Fiction Writing K This guide to grammar and writing includes sections on developing an argument and rhetorical devices. Style is the way writing is dressed up or down to fit the specific context, purpose, or audience. How a writer chooses words and structures sentences to achieve a certain effect is also an element of style. Style is usually considered to be the province of literary writers.
Novelists such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner and poets such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are well known for their distinctive literary styles. But journalists, scientists, historians, and mathematicians also have distinctive styles, and they need to know how to vary their styles to fit different audiences. For example, the first-person narrative style of a popular magazine like National Geographic is quite different from the objective, third-person expository style of a research journal like Scientific American, even though both are written for informational purposes.
Not just right and wrong Style is not a matter of right and wrong but of what is appropriate for a particular setting and audience. Consider the following two passages, which were written by the same author on the same topic with the same main idea, yet have very different styles: These egg mimics are an unambiguous example of a plant trait evolved in response to a host-restricted group of insect herbivores. In defense the vines seem to have evolved fake eggs that make it look to the butterflies as if eggs have already been laid on them.
Writing biology: Texts in the social construction of scientific knowledge. University of Wisconsin Press.
What changed was the audience. The first passage was written for a professional journal read by other biologists, so the style is authoritative and impersonal, using technical terminology suited to a professional audience.
Each style is appropriate for the particular audience. Precise words — active verbs, concrete nouns, specific adjectives — help the reader visualize the sentence. Good writers use adjectives sparingly and adverbs rarely, letting their nouns and verbs do the work. Good writers also choose words that contribute to the flow of a sentence. Polysyllabic words, alliteration, and consonance can be used to create sentences that roll off the tongue.
Onomatopoeia and short, staccato words can be used to break up the rhythm of a sentence. Good writers use a variety of sentences with different lengths and rhythms to achieve different effects. They use parallel structures within sentences and paragraphs to reflect parallel ideas, but also know how to avoid monotony by varying their sentence structures.
Good writers also arrange their ideas within a sentence for greatest effect. They avoid loose sentences, deleting extraneous words and rearranging their ideas for effect. Many students initially write with a looser oral style, adding words on to the end of a sentence in the order they come to mind. There is nothing wrong with a word dump as a starting point: Tighter, more readable style results when writers choose their words carefully, delete redundancies, make vague words more specific, and use subordinate clauses and phrases to rearrange their ideas for the greatest effect.
VOICE Because voice is difficult to measure reliably, it is often left out of scoring formulas for writing tests. Listening to good writing read aloud will help students develop an ear for different styles.
The best writers have a distinctive style that readers can most appreciate when they hear it aloud rather than reading it silently. As students develop their ear for different styles, they can compare the styles of different authors in the same genre, examine how writers change their styles for different audiences, and consider which styles are most effective for different audiences, genres, and contexts.
Read-alouds of picturebooks, poetry, and plays help students develop an ear for language that they can transfer to their writing. When you read aloud in class, have students think of the reading as a performance. Many an ear for language has been deadened by that dreaded classroom affliction — round-robin reading.
The worst way to teach students about style is to have them read aloud with no rehearsal. Reading aloud for an audience also helps students become aware of the effect of word choice, sentence structure, and voice on that audience. Teaching students oratorical and storytelling techniques can help them think about how words and sentence structures are used for dramatic effect.
Even memorizing a joke helps students think about style. Younger students can practice assuming different voices: What words would they use? What would the words sound like? Would their sentences be long or short? Older students often have difficulty moving away from a chatty, conversational voice to the more authoritative voice of expository writing genres; practice with an emphasis on voice will help. Have them make word collections of strong verbs, concrete nouns, and precise adjectives and adverbs.
Ask them to identify vague, generic words in their own writing and brainstorm livelier alternatives. Older students can learn to envision themselves in the setting they are describing and brainstorm words that concisely convey vital elements of that setting. Think of an oncoming train, the waves of the sea, wheels on a cobblestone street. In sentence combining activities, students combine short sentences into fluid passages. Sentence combining helps students move away from the short, choppy simple sentences of beginning writers toward longer, more complex sentences.
These activities can also help students learn to tighten up their sentences and to rearrange them to achieve different effects. Strong uses sentence-combining activities to study the stylistic choices that professional writers make. References Ray, Katie Wood. Strong, William.
Coaching Writing: The Power of Guided Practice. Portsmouth, N. Strunk, William, and White, E. The Elements of Style 4th Edition. Allyn and Bacon. Zinsser, William. On Writing Well: On the Web Lesson plans with style http: William Faulkner on the Web http: In fact, the most unequivocal conclusion reached by George Hillocks in his meta-analysis of twenty-five years of writing research was that traditional grammar instruction was the most ineffective method of improving writing.
Many teachers, though, worry that throwing out all instruction in grammar and conventions will produce a generation of students who are unable to write an intelligible sentence.
Rather than eliminating instruction in conventions, the Features of Effective Writing model puts conventions in their proper place in the writing process — at the end, where they can be considered only after students have revised their writing for the other four features, as they prepare to publish their work.
What are conventions? Conventions are the surface features of writing — mechanics, usage, and sentence formation. Conventions are a courtesy to the reader, making writing easier to read by putting it in a form that the reader expects and is comfortable with.
Because they do not exist in oral language, students have to consciously learn how mechanics function in written language. For example, while speakers do not have to be conscious of the spellings of words, writers not only have to use standard spelling for each word but may even have to use different spellings for words that sound the same but have different meanings. USAGE Usage refers to conventions of both written and spoken language that include word order, verb tense, and subject-verb agreement.
Usage may be easier than mechanics to teach because children enter school with a basic knowledge of how to use language to communicate. As children are learning to use oral language, they experiment with usage and learn by practice what is expected and appropriate.
In addition, children who speak a language other than English at home may use different grammatical rules, word order, and verb conjugations. In oral language, words and sentences cannot be changed once they have been spoken. But the physical nature of writing allows writers to craft their sentences, combining and rearranging related ideas into a single, more compact sentence.
As students become more adept at expressing their ideas in written language, their sentences become longer and more complex. Conventions in the writing process: Even daily oral language activities are a waste of time for students without procedural knowledge of how and when to use conventions in writing.
Consequently, the most effective way to teach conventions is to integrate instruction directly into the writing process.
Writers need the ability to automatically juggle the many physical and cognitive aspects of writing — letter formation, spelling, word order, grammar, vocabulary, and ideas — without consciously thinking about them. The only way to develop this automaticity in writing is to practice, practice, practice.
For many students, however, most daily writing is limited to filling in the blanks on worksheets. The first step to improving automaticity, then, is to provide daily opportunities to write for extended periods of time. Initially, this writing should be single-draft writing only, using phonic spelling, with no physical editing of their writing by either the teacher or the student.
Only when students grow more automatic in their writing should teachers introduce conventions into the writing process. Many students have little self-confidence when they write because teachers and parents have been too quick to point out their errors instead of praising their ideas first. This problem can be solved by having students share first drafts in a positive, conversational atmosphere that focuses only on the content of their writing, with no correction of errors Cunningham, Hall, and Cunningham, The proper place for teaching conventions, then, is at the end of the writing process, during the editing phase, when students are preparing their writing for publication.
When students know that their work will be published for a specific audience, they are more motivated to learn the conventions that will make their writing readable and to edit for those conventions.
Conventions in the primary grades K-2 Because primary students should be concentrating first on developing fluency in written language, their first draft writing should not be corrected for usage, spelling, or punctuation. Instead, primary students should begin to develop an ear for their writing by publishing their writing orally.
Once students have learned to produce fluent single draft writing, usually by the middle of second grade, they can begin to add very simple editing rules. Daily practice with oral language can also help. MECHANICS Because spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, are easier for young children to physically see and correct in their writing, those are the first conventions students should learn to edit in their writing.
For beginning writers, correct spelling is less important than having opportunities to apply their emerging knowledge of the alphabetic principle to their own writing.