Online College Writing and Training Guide

Writing is one of the ways people are able to express themselves. Through writing, people can convey their inner thoughts, explore new ideas, or create entire fictional worlds. A well-written piece isn’t simply a page of words. Instead, it can have the power to persuade people and change opinions. Just as good writing can be powerful, poor writing also reflects tremendously on the writer. Ignoring grammar, punctuation, or style detracts from the writing and makes it difficult to read. It is natural for people to become a little rusty over time when it comes to writing. A great way to get around this issue is by reading through a refresher on the elements of writing. Try a few quizzes and tests online, or write some practice pieces. Read on through the resources below to learn more about how to improve in each of these key areas.

Grammar

Grammar is the entire structure of the language, in the form of a set of rules. It forms the foundations of any language. Although many people might consider grammar boring, without it our writing would not make any sense. We can approach grammar by breaking it down into several small blocks. For example, there are nouns, adjectives, verbs, conjunctions, prepositions, tenses, and much more. People who need a refresher can start by taking a grammar test to gauge their weak areas. There are plenty of full grammar guides and handbooks online with all the parts of speech sorted into separate chapters. Look through some of these explanations, and then try a few more quizzes or exercises for some extra practice.

Punctuation

Punctuation is the set of small marks and symbols that are periodically inserted into sentences. Some examples include periods, commas, exclamation marks, colons, and quotation marks. Punctuation is important because it helps the reader to distinguish the tone of a sentence. The best way to learn about punctuation is by reading a piece of text aloud. Without punctuation, it would simply sound like a long run-on sentence. However, with punctuation added in, the reader would know how to phrase sentences, when to stop, and where to place stress. One of the most common mistakes that people make in writing is to use too little or too much punctuation. After reading through some punctuation guidelines, try a few practice drills to polish these skills.

Style

Think about a famous singer or artist. What is it that distinguishes them from other singers and artists? The style that a person develops is one of the most important aspects when it comes to any form of art, including writing. Writing style is not something that we can force, but it certainly can be developed over time with practice. Style helps to define a writer, and it can also make the writing more appealing to readers. It is the way in which writers communicate their own ideas to the reader. For example, Charles Dickens wrote prose in a poetic manner, incorporating plenty of humor and satire. F. Scott Fitzgerald delighted in highly descriptive text, while William Shakespeare often coined new words to produce unusual meanings that did not exist in his time. Keep in mind that it is quite normal for a writer’s style to evolve as they progress. A good foundation for developing a style is to have a good working knowledge of grammar and punctuation. These are tools that can help to strengthen a piece of writing. As with all rules, they can also be broken occasionally for artistic effect. Focus on writing clearly and without wordiness. This helps to avoid irrelevant, banal sections of text. Descriptions, metaphors, and dialogue can be added to embellish the text and bring it alive.

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