Category Archives: Writing Tips

The pervasive footprints of English graduates

You may assume that a degree in English is simply aimed at budding writers, authors and English teachers. However, of those who invest in English courses, many go onto successfully working in a vast range of jobs as well-rounded individuals.

From university professors to journalists, event managers to television presenters, and accountants to television producers – a degree in English offers an enormous range of skills that are applicable to many career choices.

Far from spending three years with your head glued to the inside of a boring book, students learn many valuable lessons, such as: how to read between the lines, analyse text, empathise with others, argue a point succinctly, think independently, and self-express effectively.

Probably one of the most valuable lessons that an English degree can teach you is the ability to successfully communicate through speech and writing, whilst being articulate and tolerant of ambiguity – perfect for any job.

The learning curve of an English course lies not only with what you explicitly learn through reading, absorbing and remembering, but with learning different and new ways of questioning and perceiving the world around you. You will be able to project the approaches learnt towards analysing literature onto many other aspects of your life and work.

Throughout history literature has shaped culture, influenced discourse and given insight into otherwise unfamiliar times and historical events. To hold a depth of knowledge about the influence of literature and how it has shaped the world we live in today is a very valuable asset to both yourself and future employers.

Reading a book is a rich experience that offers the reader the opportunity to empathise with characters far-removed from every day life. It’s a unique opportunity to become fully immersed in another way of thinking, perceiving and understanding. Therefore, you can only imagine what is waiting to be gained from spending three years reading, analysing and interpreting various texts, voices and accounts.

6 essential tips for effective writing

The power of the written word should not be underestimated. Clear, effective writing requires both practice and attention to detail. Here are some tips writers use to make sure they meet the needs of their readers.

1. Read before writing

Any writer would do well to bear in mind the words of Esko Valtaoja: “You are what you read”. Before putting pen to paper, it is important to be comfortable with various styles and writing conventions. This may be obvious for fiction writers, but extends to all writing tasks. Whether composing a short and snappy memo, a formal business letter, or a copy of your favourite recipe, you should first become familiar with the recurring features of similar texts. Identify which style works best for your purposes and use elements of this style in your own writing.

2. Sentence structure

There are three main sentence varieties: simple, compound and complex. Simple sentences contain one independent clause – they contain a subject and a verb and express a complete thought. For example:

[I speak English].

Compound sentences combine two independent clauses with a co-ordinator. For example:

[I speak English] and [my parents speak German].

Complex sentences are composed of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses (clauses that do not form complete grammatical sentences). For example:

[When talking with friends], [I speak English].

3. Vary your tone

For most writing tasks the most effective writing style makes use of simple, compound and complex sentences. Varying sentence length makes the text more interesting for the reader. Always write with the audience in mind. Younger readers, for example, generally respond better to simpler vocabulary and shorter sentences. Persuasive texts often require short, simple sentences. These grab the attention of the audience, before longer sentence structures elaborate on the subject matter.

4. Get to the point

Shorter sentences work best at the start of a text. These inform the reader of the tone and subject matter. In fields such as journalism the reader is unlikely to read the entire text and instead often merely skims the introductory paragraph. In such cases writing must be concise. Avoid obscure vocabulary and lengthy sentences, favouring plain English instead.

5. Proofread and edit

After writing the text, read over it numerous times to check for grammatical errors. Reading aloud will allow you to gauge the fluency of the text. If a word, phrase or sentence does not add to the information or impact of the writing, remove it.

6. Learn to love language

Effective writing requires a critical approach and a genuine interest in language. Of course, writing is a broad term used to cover many contexts, each needing distinctive knowledge and skill. London is the ideal place to improve your knowledge through learning and hone your skills through practice. Specific courses in business or academic English, for example, are available at language schools such as St Georges International. In addition, for both German and French lessons London is home to a thriving community of language schools. Writers are often drawn to foreign tongues, and learning another language encourages a critical approach to language structure, style and vocabulary. Linguistic awareness, alongside a willingness to improve, is important in becoming an effective writer.

Some Rules for Effective Writing By George Orwell

The usage of effective language should be our major concern if we want to be heard. However, this is not so in politics. Some would tend to use vague or imprecise language so as not to offend various demographics. Fortunately, this is a condition that is discussed in the essay written by George Orwell in 1946.

According to the essay written by George Orwell, we could clearly communicate our perception and ideas if we will never use a figurative speech or a metaphor like “toe in the line”, “an axe to grind” or”play into the hands of”.  George Orwell, implied that such phrases create no impact so we should formulate fresh, powerful images.

It is also better if we will avoid the use of long words because using long, complicated words may make you sound pretentious and arrogant. More so, it is also less likely to be understood. So, give preference to shorter words.  And if it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. As per Ezra Pound “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”. Less is always better.

Likewise, do not use a foreign phrase, a scientific or technical word, or a jargon when they are not necessary. Remember that the goal in writing is to communicate effectively. Leave those technical or foreign words unless they do not have equivalent words in English. Lastly, to make your writing more encouraging to read, use active verbs instead of passive verbs.

More Tips For Effective Note Taking During Lectures

Note taking  is a common activity to many students but doing it effectively is a skill that must be learned. To make effective note taking a student must do multi-tasking because during lectures they are required to listen attentively to understand what the lecturer is discussing. At the same time, they have to write note to recall what has been discussed.

Remember that in taking notes one must write more for a better recall and to ensure that highlights of the discussion were included on the notes. Write as much as you can and make sure to note the lecturer’s ideas. This will help you to capture and to put in good use the note that has been taken down. Using highlighter is recommended to mark the key points.

Most of the lecturers give important message or tips at the first and last part of the lecture. Listen and focus on these stages. Make sure to adjust your attention and write the ideas laid down on each topic.
Observe and identify the phrases used by the lecturers like “take note that….or the key point is…” these are clear indications that such details are important and can give value on the topic.

How To Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing skills  can be improved significantly by continuously practicing the skills doing some writing exercises. Enjoying the process of writing is also important because there is a need to invest time to write up things without rushing. Set a timeframe on how each deadline should be met.

Loving your writing as a craft will make you more determine to write better than the previous one. Getting familiar with certain style and determining your own style will give you an edge.

Improving writing skills also include defining the task of what you should write. Identify the reason why the assigned topic should be written. Plan on how the topic should be done. Consider the number of references that must be utilized to make the work impressive.

Preparing an outline is a basic that any writer should have before start writing the piece to organize the idea. Read through what has been written to see if all information that matters has been included on the piece.

Grammar, spelling and punctuation must be thoroughly checked on every work. This will make any write up article smart and notable.

Here’s How To Repair Your Corrupted Office Documents

Have you ever experienced opening your MS Word, MS Excel or MS PowerPoint files and can not access them anymore? Well, I know how frustrating it is especially if the file contains important data about your existing school project or research work.

These circumstances really happen once in a while and the reasons vary from one user to another user. And if you transfer and saving files to and from floppy drives, file corruption is more likely happen (in my own experience).

I have a fair share of these experiences when I was in college and I tell you, I used to skip sleep at night times just to retype / rewrite those corrupted documents. And it is just now that I discovered that there are actually ways to recover those files that are written and saved as Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

I read from here that there are several methods that you can try to recover files that can not be opened anymore or to repair those files with texts that had been replaced with garbage/unrecognizable symbols. The first method is through the use of built-in Recovery and Repair tool that you can do by clicking the “Detect and Repair” icon under the Help tool bar.

The other method is to find the temporary file of the original file which is commonly stored but hidden n the folder of original the original document. You can these hidden temporary files if you will set your setting in “View all Files”.

If the above basic methods can not retrieve your lost or corrupted files, the your best bet is to use a third party software that is specially designed to repair and retrieve lost Microsoft Office documents. This option, however, may cost you some dollars. But most recovery software makers like this one and this provide free trial/demo version so you can use them for a limited period of time without paying a dime.

If you are familiar with podcast, you might also listen to this audio tutorial podcast that explains how to recover corrupt documents in Office 2007 in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Cool Aid For Your Typing Needs

Do you sometime need to type an entire book to create a new document that is in MS Word format but constrained in time to type all those pages? If you have a scanner, you can convert them into text document at a fraction of time by using the OCR or Optical Character Recognition software.

Don’t worry, not all OCR software is expensive. In fact, there are several OCR softwares that are offered for free. One good and reliable example of free OCR software is the SimpleOCR. This is free software that is being used by many computer users around the world.

For students, SimpleOCR can surely help you a lot since this free software can recognize and convert many types of documents with standard fonts and good quality images such as those that are found in books and magazines.

So what are you waiting for? Download the free SimpleOCR freeware here.  You can also sign-up for free to gain access to demo downloads of the commercial OCR applications. This can give you extra privilege if you will need more comprehensive OCR software for your complicated texts once in a while.

Online Tool For Writing Papers

As I am browsing around, I found another online studying tool that students can use when they are researching and writing papers. The website is CiteULike, a free online tool to help you save and organize references that you will be suing on your research paper.

By just several clicks, you can easily compile all the readings that you will use on your work. The best thing about CiteULike  is that it can automatically extract the citation details, hence, there’s no need for you to manually type them. And since the tool is web-based, you can access your references or update your references wherever you are.

CiteULike is also great of you are having group project research work because the tool allows you to share your library (compilation) with other people. So check this out because this can be a good online tool for your paperwork projects.

Tips For Students Who Hate Writing

Writing a term paper, thesis or even an ordinary essay is probably the most hated work by many students. In fact, many of them say that they have this writer’s block. Why? Because they can not start writing a paragraph as they believe that they are not capable of writing a decent write-up. But based on one from one article by Scott Berkun, there is no such thing as writer’s block because it is not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s its fear of not writing well

This is so true, if you always think that you can not write well, the chances are you can not really start writing even the opening paragraph for your essay. You need to get over of this thinking. You need to believe in yourself. Writing is just like conversing your feeling or insight about the particular subject. Write about what you believe or what you know in the topic.

You can also hasten your sentence construction if you will create an outline of the topic that you are going to write. Just check your grammar and spellings after you have written the entire essay.

Read the entire article by Scoot Berkun here (http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/54-writing-hacks-part-1-starting/) and I am sure that you will get a lot of inspiration after reading it.

Free Online Resource For APA, MLA And Chicago Citations

Writing a thesis, a term paper or a research paper is not really an easy job for students. It entails hard work, patience and an eye for details especially when you are doing the final draft of your paper. Writing the final draft is probably the part that is hated by many students because of various considerations in formatting and citations.

But did you know that there are lots of online tools or services that are available nowadays to help you create a perfectly written paper? However, many of them are not free but I found one nice online tool that you can use for free: the Citation Machine.

Citation Machine is a free online service that generates APA, MLA and Chicago citations. The interface of the website is not that good but the result is great! Whether you are high school or a college student, you can surely appreciate using Citation Machine.

You just need to choose the citation format that you need for your paper on the left side of the site and then simply fill-up the required information and click “Submit” to generate the bibliographic and in-text citations for your paper.

Citation Machine will surely cut the time you need to devote in figuring out the proper format of your bibliographic and in-text citations!