I was surpised and pleased to discover that this blog is nominated for a Top Writing Blog Award from eCollegeFinder - no idea how that happened!
Anyway, it made me decide to offer a few basic suggestions on how students, and anyone else, might improve their writing acumen, whether in academic or creative writing.
- Read published work, as a reader first then to absorb how it was written: sentence structure, paragraph length, punctuation and grammar.
- Allow time to go through and check exam answers in case of silly mistakes (thanks Lynette).
- Take time to read and understand the questions in forms or exams.
- Learn the basic rule about the apostrophe in it's: the only time this word needs an apostrophe is to denote 'it is'. If you are showing possession, (the book lost its cover; the car needs its lights fixed) it should always be 'its' - no apostrophe.
- Be careful of the apostrophe in plurals: it should be the girl's coat if talking about one girl, but should be the girls' coats if talking about more. In plurals, the apostrophe goes after the s.
- Another one is the difference between your and you're (thanks Paula). The apostrophe is only used to denote a missing letter (a) - so it's: You're looking great (meaning you are...), and Don't forget your books (no apostrophe for possession).
- Study the kind of magazine in which you want to be published, or the kind of books you want to write.
- Write something every day, even if it's only a diary entry.
- Read widely - that's how to discover different styles of writing.
- Write in your own voice - you are unique.
- Never give up your dreams - every piece of writing is a step closer to your goals.
"Do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still."