Writing

1. Writing Types:

Types of Writing ….

2. Essay Planner:

How to plan your essay ….

3. Writing as a process:

The steps of Writing …

4. Friendly letter layout:

How to write a letter to a friend …

5. Formal letter layout:

How to write a letter to someone whom you don’t know….

6. Writing a summary:

Hints about how to summarize ….

7. More documents and worksheets:

New documents meant to be used as guidelines for the writing types/styles

8. Punctuation

Understand punctuation in order to write better essays

9. Writing an article

advice on how to best deal with writing an article

[intlink id=”596″ type=”post”]10. Spelling[/intlink]

Some rules about spelling

[intlink id=”599″ type=”post”]11. Writing Tips[/intlink]

Few pieces of advice of how to write better

12. English functions

Understand English functions to know how to express according to the topic

English functions

Disagreeing
Contrasting Ideas
Making Complaints
Asking for Information
Giving Advice
Guessing
Being Imprecise or Vague
Saying ‘No’ Nicely
Showing Preferences
Making Suggestions
Offering Help
Giving Warning
Demanding Explanations

Disagreeing

Here are a number of useful phrases used when disagreeing or expressing another opinion. Notice that a number of these expressions employ the first or second conditional.

  • I wouldn’t do that. I would…
  • But if we…
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you.
  • Don’t get me wrong, …
  • Even so, if…
  • Don’t forget that…
  • Very true, but…

Examples:

I wouldn’t do that. I’d speak to the teacher first and see what she says.
But if we don’t make those investments, we’ll risk loosing market share.
Don’t get me wrong, I just think we should look at some other options before making a decision.
Even so, if we change classes this late, we might not get a passing grade.
Don’t forget that we you still need to finish all your homework BEFORE you can do that.
Very true, but we still need to get the garden in shape before building a new deck.

Contrasting Ideas

There are a number of formulas used when contrasting ideas in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • We’d love to stay for dinner, but we have got to get going.
  • They decided to stay in the area, in spite of their problems with the local residents.
  • Despite the difficulties of a long journey, Peter decided to visit India.
  • Getting a good job is hard work, however, most people eventually find one with patience.
  • There were a number of people who came, although the hotels were not equipped to handle them all.
Example Explanation
I’d really like to come to the film, but I have to study tonight. Use a comma or semi colon (;) with ‘but’. ‘But’ is the most common way to show contrasting ideas. 
They continued on their journey, in spite of the pouring rain. Use ‘in spite of’ plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund 
They continued on their journey, despite the pouring rain. Use ‘despite’ plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund
We wanted to buy a sports car, although we knew that fast cars can be dangerous. Use ‘although’ with a subject and a verb

 

 Making Complaints

There are a number of formulas used when complaining in English. It’s important to remember that a direct complaint or criticism in English can sound rude or aggressive. It’s best to mention a problem in an indirect manner. Here are some of the most common:

  • I’m sorry to have to say this but…
  • I’m sorry to bother you, but…
  • Maybe you forgot to…
  • I think you might have forgotten to…
  • Excuse me if I’m out of line, but…
  • There may have been a misunderstanding about…
  • Don’t get me wrong, but I think we should…
Formula Example Finish
I’m sorry to have to say this but I think we need to take another approach.
I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you need to refine this layout.
Maybe you forgot to include his name and number.
I think you might have forgotten to finish the report on time.
Excuse me if I’m out of line, but your work has not been adequate lately.
There may have been a misunderstanding about what I expected from you.
Don’t get me wrong, but I think we should concentrate on the Smith account for the moment.

Asking for Information

There are a number of formulas used when asking for information in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • Could you tell me…?
  • Do you know…?
  • Do you happen to know…?
  • I’d like to know…
  • Could you find out…?
  • I’m interested in…
  • I’m looking for..

These two forms are used for asking for information on the telephone:

  • I’m calling to find out…
  • I’m calling about…

Giving Advice

There are a number of formulas used when Giving Advice in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • I don’t think you should work so hard.
  • You ought to work less.
  • You ought not to work so hard.
  • If I were you, I’d work less.
  • If I were in your position, I’d work less.
  • If I were in your shoes, I’d work less.
  • You had better work less.
  • You shouldn’t work so hard.
  • Whatever you do, don’t work so hard.

Guessing

There are a number of ways to guess in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • I’d say he’s about ready to quite his job.
  • It might need some oil.
  • He could be in the garden.
  • It looks like a miniature motor.
  • Perhaps he needs some time off work.
  • Maybe they want to come and visit this summer.
  • It’s difficult to say, but I’d guess that it’s used for cleaning house.
  • I’m not really sure, but I think they enjoy hiking in the mountains.

Using Vague Expressions – Being Imprecise

There are a number of ways to give imprecise information in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • There are about 600 people working in this company.
  • There are approximately 600 people working in this company.
  • There are a large number of students interested in taking his course.
  • Management predicts up to 50% growth for the coming year.
  • It’s kind of a bottle opener which can also be used to peel vegetables.
  • It’s the type of place you can go to relax for a week or so.
  • They’re the sort of people that like going bowling on Saturday evenings.
  • It’s difficult to say, but I’d guess that it’s used for cleaning house.
  • I’m not really sure, but I think they enjoy hiking in the mountains.

Saying ‘No’ Nicely

Sometimes you need to say no when someone makes a suggestion, offers something or asks you to do something for them. Of course, saying just ‘no’ can be rather rude. Here are some of the most common ways to say ‘no’ nicely – or at least not rudely.

  • Would you like to see a film tonight?
    I’m afraid I can’t go out tonight. I’ve got a test tomorrow.
  • Why don’t we have some Chinese food?
    Sorry, but I don’t particularly like Chinese food.
  • How about taking a nice walk?
    I’d really rather not take a walk this afternoon.
  • Would you like to come to the museum with us?
    Thank you, but it’s not my idea of a fun afternoon out.
  • Let’s go for a drive
    Sorry, I’m not really fond of driving for the fun of it.
  • Why don’t you stay the night?
    That’s very kind of you, but I really have to get back to the city.

NOTE: Notice how we often say ‘thank you’ in some way before refusing the offer. When someone makes an offer it is polite to first thank that person and then say no, often offering an excuse for not wanting or being able to do something. Just saying ‘no’ is considered very rude behavior indeed!

Stating a Preference

Sometimes you need to state a preference when someone makes a suggestion, offers something or asks your opinion about what to do. Often people are asking for your opinion and you can state your preference freely, other times, people have made an offer and you need to state a preference politely if you do not want to do what has been suggested, or would rather do something else.

  • Would you like to see a film tonight?
    I’d rather go dancing. How does that sound?
  • Why don’t we have some chinese food?
    Well, I’d prefer eating Italian. What do you think?
  • What do you think we should do?
    If it were up to me, I’d go out for dinner.
  • What are we going to do today? The weather is awful!
    I think we should go to a museum.Why don’t we go to a museum.Let’s go to a museum.How about going to a museum.
Formula Verb Form
I’d rather… Use the base form the verb without ‘to’ with ‘rather’
I’d prefer… Use the ‘-ing’ form following the verb ‘prefer’
If it were up to me, I’d… Use the second conditional form followed by the base form of the verb without ‘to’
I think we should… Use the base form the verb without ‘to’ following the modal form ‘should’
Why don’t we…? Use the base form of the verb in a question
 
Let’s go … Use the base form of the verb with ‘let’s’
How about…? Use the ‘-ing’ form of the verb after a preposition – here ‘about’

Making Suggestions

There are a number of formulas used when making suggestions in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • Why don’t you / we go to the movies tonight?
  • You / we could visit New York while you’re / we’re there.
  • Let’s go to the travel agent’s this afternoon to book our ticket.
  • What about asking your brother for help?
  • How about going to Hawaii for your vacation?
  • I suggest you / we take all the factors into consideration before we decide.

Offering Help

There are a number of formulas used when offering help in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • May I help you?
  • Can I help you?
  • Are you looking for something?
  • Would you like some help?
  • Do you need some help?
  • What can I do for you today?

Giving Warnings

There are a number of formulas used when Giving Warnings in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • Don’t push so hard on that toy, or you might / will break it!
  • Watch out! Be careful!
  • Work hard otherwise you’ll fail your exam.

Demanding Explanations

Sometimes, things happen that we would like explained and we must demand explanations. For example, if you have just bought a new computer and there is a problem, but the shop assistant says that the guaranty does not cover the problem. There are a number of formulas used when demanding explanations in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • Can you tell me why…
  • I don’t understand why…
  • Can you explain why..
  • Why is it that…
  • How come…
  • Does this mean…
  • Do you really expect me to believe…

writing tips

Before writ­ing, we need to remem­ber a fun­da­men­tal fact that essay writ­ing is also a skill that should be devel­oped like the skills of type­writ­ing, draw­ing, swim­ming etc. Hence it is a time-bounded activ­ity. Any stu­dent who expects him­self or her­self to become good at this skill in a short period of time should real­ize that he or she is unrea­son­ably ambitious.

Here are some good sug­ges­tions to be under­taken to become god at writ­ing skills. A dili­gent effort to prac­tice these on a reg­u­lar basis is strongly recommended.

Increase your knowledge:

It is very nec­es­sary that you equip with knowl­edge about the cur­rent affairs and cur­rent trends in the fields of social, eco­nomic, socio-economic and polit­i­cal sce­nario around you and in other areas. This can be devel­oped by read­ing news­pa­per daily and read­ing other mag­a­zine reg­u­larly. There are some mag­a­zines that are ded­i­cated to a par­tic­u­lar generic like “Busi­ness Today” which gives all infor­ma­tion about busi­ness. In the sim­i­lar way if you read more mag­a­zines you will get so much of knowl­edge. This infor­ma­tion that you gather also improves not only in writ­ing knowl­edge based essays but also non-knowledge based essays.

DOs and DONTs to improve clar­ity of ideas and make a bet­ter presentation:

• Iden­tify the key words in the topic and gen­er­ate ideas with their help. Let us see some examples:

“Anger is the best weapon to attain peace in the world”. The key words in this topic are ‘anger’, ‘weapon’ and ‘peace’.

• Make a frame­work of what you would like to write.

• Spend two to three min­utes think­ing about the given topic and note-down the points that you strike.

• Pri­or­i­tize the points and decide how you would orga­nize your essay.

• A good intro­duc­tion, a coher­ent mid­dle and a ratio­nal end­ing are a must and add so much value to the essay.

• Avoid the use of any sta­tis­ti­cal data, if you are not sure of its correctness.

• Do not use quo­ta­tions unless you are sure of the name of the author because the authors name should be men­tioned, if you quote his words. How­ever, there can be an excep­tion when quot­ing proverbs and axioms.

• In the case of essays on knowledge-based top­ics, use exam­ples as much as pos­si­ble and use from the cur­rent affairs, busi­ness exam­ples and other eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions or any­thing that is related to your topic so that it adds much clar­ity to the topic and makes your idea much clear. This also proves the eval­u­a­tor about your read­ing habits and apti­tude for that position.

• See to it that you are not car­ried away, when you ana­lyze the given topic.

• Be very prac­ti­cal and have bal­anced approach to the issue pre­sented in the essay topic. Being too crit­i­cal or too sup­port­ing is taken to be nar­row mind­ed­ness or uninformative.

Improve cor­rect­ness of the language:

Write at least one essay a day and once you are thor­ough with writ­ing essay, read the essay, prefer­ably with the mind of eval­u­a­tor. If may be your own essay but you will find some errors. Even if you are not able to find the error on your own then ask some­one to read your essay and their opin­ions on that essay. It will be very sym­bi­otic if your friend is also try­ing to improve essays writ­ing. After you real­ize the mis­takes, note down them and try to avoid those mis­takes. This makes you very con­fi­dent of your­self and makes you a

Spelling

Capital Letters

Use Capital (T, S, B, etc.) letters for the following types of words:

  • Days, Months and Public Holidays

Monday, January, Christmas

  • Proper names of People and Places

Jack, Maria, New York, Germany

  • Titles for People

Ms, Dr, General

  • Nationalities and Regions (both nouns and adjectives)

Dutch, Swedish, Basque

  • Titles of Works of Art (content words only)

The Last Day of Summmer, American Journal of Medicine

When to Double Final Consonants

The final consonant of a word is often doubled when adding -ed, -ing, -er, -est in the following cases:

  • Double final “b, d, g, l, m, n, p, r and t” at the end of words:

rob – robbing
sad – sadder
big – bigger
travel – traveller
skim – skimming
win – winner
pop – popping
prefer – preferred
hit – hitting

  • Double these final letters there is the following pattern “consonant – vowel – consonant” at the end of a word. For example: travel – ‘vel’ v – consonant – e – vowel l – consonant.
  • Words of more than one syllable have their consonants doubled only when the final syllable is stressed.

begin – beginn ing BUT open – opening
defer – deferr ing BUT offer – offering

  • When words have more than one syllable and end in ‘l’ British English always doubles the ‘l’, even in the case of unstressed syllables. American English, on the other hand, the ‘l’ is not doubled when the syllable is unstressed.

British English – travelled
American English – traveled

Final -E

Leave off the final ‘e’ in the following cases:

  • When the word ends in ‘e’ adding a suffix that begins with a vowel (this is usually the case, although there are exceptions such as ‘outrageous’).

make – making
note – notable

  • Do not leave out the final ‘e’ when a word ends in ‘ee’.

agree – agreeable

  • Words ending in ‘ge’ and ‘ce’ do NOT drop the final ‘e’

encourage – encouragement
embrace – embraceable

‘IE’ and ‘EI’

This is a common spelling problem, even for native English speakers. Probably the best thing to do is remember this rhyme:

I before E except after C

relief
thief
believe

BUT

perceive
receipt
ceiling

‘Y’ and ‘I’

When adding an ending to a word that finishes in ‘y’, the ‘y’ usually changes to ‘i’:

  • Most nouns and verbs that end in ‘y’ have plural or third person singular conjugations that change to ‘i’.

party – parties
hurry – She hurries to work.

  • When changing the word form (for example from adjective to adverb)

happy – happily
lazy – lazily
easy – easier

  • Do NOT change the final ‘y’ to ‘i’ when ‘y’ is preceded by a vowel

stay – stays
enjoy – enjoyed

EXCEPTIONS:

say, lay, pay – said, laid, paid

  • Do NOT change the final ‘y’ to ‘i’ when followed by ‘-ing’, ‘-ism’, ‘-ish’.

boy – boyish
try – trying

‘IE’ to ‘Y’

When a word ends in ‘ie’ change to ‘y’ before adding ‘-ing’

die – dying
lie – lying

Writing an article

You’re sure to be asked to write an article at some time during your course or for your exams. It might be a piece of writing that needs to persuade, argue and inform, for example. Above all, though, being an article, it will need to be interesting and lively.

Here are some typical questions:

Write an informative / persuasive article for…
…your local newspaper / a teenage magazine / your school magazine / a travel guide

on the topic of…
…adventure holidays / the benefits of exercise / keeping a pet / eating healthily / cycling to school.

WHAT IS THE EXAMINER LOOKING FOR?

In an article written for the exam, technical accuracy is often worth many marks so spelling and grammar are important. Marks are also awarded according to the how well your writing shows that you have considered the following key aspects:

AUDIENCE
This is far more important to the marks you will receive than most students realise. The examiner will be looking closely for evidence that you have considered your audience in your writing.

· What style of language will suit the type of reader you are writing for?

· Would a formal style be best? Or a more informal – even chatty style?

· You will certainly need to capture and hold your reader’s attention and this means being lively and interesting – most especially when you begin writing (a flat sounding… y-a-w-n …opening to any article is a sure mark loser!).

The chances are you will need to adopt a rather formal style but many modern newspaper and magazine articles often intersperse chatty, informal features to soften the formality and create a rather conversational tone; in magazines, it’s sometimes almost as if the article were one half of a conversation between a friend and his or her slightly older, rather wiser friend.

PURPOSE
What style of writing will achieve the aims of your article? Are you writing to persuade, inform or explain? The Englishbiz pages on these kinds of writing should help.

GENRE
What style and form (i.e. format) of writing would satisfy the genre conventions you need to follow?

* Think what you would expect to see and read in such an article: catchy or witty headlines – maybe a pun (i.e. a witty play on words), subheadings to aid clarity and reading, use of bullet points, lists, images, tables, etc.

* Would the writing need to be very lively, even chatty or perhaps much more formal – perhaps a mixture of the two styles (which is an increasingly common aspect of the style of articles these days)?

CONTEXT

* Where and in what situation is the article likely to be read and understood?

* What language choices will help here?

* What tone of voice needs be adopted to suit such a context?

Often an article is not read ‘in depth’ and at a time when full concentration is possible, so… a catchy lively style which does not demand too much of your reader and which follows a clear and logical structure is almost certain to be a good choice for many articles.