General Writing Tips

Writing can be said to be a craft, an art, a science, or simply a form of communication. “Good writing” can be subjective, particularly in creative writing such as poetry. The stylistic choices of a writer can sometimes outweigh technical principles. These instances, though, are rare in the field of academics and often in a literary sense as well.

Though writing can be scrutinized by many different standards in universities, colleges, and technical institutions, a well-written composition usually follows a specific process:

brainstorming and/or research, outlining, first draft, second draft, and final draft.

Brainstorming and/or research is the act of gathering data and formulating concepts that can be used in your papers. It is an essential task that is done to build the substance of your content. Without it, you will be writing your assignment without any ideas to base your composition on.

Outlining is the process of putting your thoughts and data into its correct order so that your paper can follow a set path. Making an outline is integral to the organization of your assignment. If you do not create an outline, your writing will be a collection of scattered thoughts.

First drafts are what you initially compose in accordance to the organization that was detailed in your outline. They are written to unload your ideas that you have formed from your brainstorming and have organized in your outline. Being a one-draft writer will not ensure success—at least three drafts are required for noteworthy writing.

Second drafts are copies of your original draft that is made more exact in description and structure. They are made to refine your organization, to increase detail, to change sentence structure and to find better choices for words to explain exactly what you want to express. Without a second draft, the ideas that you put down in your first draft will not be expressed in the way that you envisioned.

Final drafts are the end-products of your writing assignments. They are completed to clear all doubts that you have in your writing. Before handing in your assignment, you have to be certain that you have met all the requirements of your instructor or the company that has requested you to write.

If we as writers follow this process, we will have a much greater chance of achieving our goals as students. 95% of our success in writing relies on adhering to the principles of the composition process. The extra 5% can be found in our passion for what we write about, as it will translate directly onto the page as engaging and inspired articulation.

Word Order in Time Expressions

English expressions of time (those that indicate a specific time period during which certain events occur) generally follow the main rules of syntax, which you…

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Relevant Sources

What is Relevance? The relevance of a bibliographic source is its connection with commonly acknowledged requirements, following which allows people to assess a source as…

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Present Perfect Continuous Tense

What is It? The present perfect continuous tense shows that an action that started in the past is still going on. When to Use? Cases…

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Prepositions

What is a Preposition? We can think of prepositions (on, at, in…) as small verbs that help describe something. But without a word following it…

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Past Perfect Subjunctive Tense

What is It? Using had + past verb (past particle) to express actions or events that could of happened or someone had wished had happened.…

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Past Perfect Continuous Tense

What is It? The past perfect continuous is had been + a verb in passive voice (past particle). When to Use? Cases Examples *Show that…

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Past Habitual Tense

What is It? It deals with the verbs used to or would, or the simple past tense of a verb (I saw, you called). When…

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Past Intensive Tense

What is It? It lets readers know that an event happened for sure by confirmation. When to Use? Case Examples * To make clear that…

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Avoiding Inconsistencies

What is Inconsistent Writing? Imagine that you have written three chapters of your novel, describing the main character as a nice person with pleasant manners…

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Frequently Misused Words

What is Incorrect Word Usage? Along with words that are usually misspelled (such as “there” and “their,” for example) there is also a group of…

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Typos (Typographic Errors)

What is a Typo? Any skilled writer is familiar with such a typical but pesky flaw as typos. A typo is often an entirely mechanical…

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Possessives

What is a Possessive? We can guarantee you that you cannot speak the English language without using possessives (or possessive determiners, speaking in smart language).…

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Syntax

What is Syntax? Syntax is a crucial part of English grammar. In general, syntax is a system of principles used to organize words in sentences.…

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Parallel Structure

What is It? A pattern or list of words with each word having the same importance or having the same form. -ing Phrases Examples: David…

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Present Simple Tense

What is It? The present simple tense is needed to show long-term and permanent actions. When to Use? Cases and Examples * To indicate actions…

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Present Continuous Tense

What is It? The present continuous tense shows that an action or event is happening now and will be happening in the future as well.…

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Past Continuous Tense

What is It? It shows unfinished actions in the past―such that have begun before now, and are still in process at the moment of speaking.…

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Future Simple Tense

What is It? Future tense is needed to show that certain events are just about to happen. When to Use? Cases: * When a future…

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Future in the Past Tense

What is It? It is used to show that in the past a speaker thought about something that would happen in future. It does not…

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Future Perfect Tense

What is It? Uses will have + a verb in the past tense (part particle) or am/is/are + going to have + a verb in…

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Articles

What is It? An article is a type of adjective which is always used together with a noun and carries some information about it. Articles…

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Supporting Evidence

Supporting evidence is one of the most crucial components of academic writing. Evidence is what makes your claims credible; it is important to support each…

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Colons

What is a Colon Needed For? A colon (:) is a punctuation mark used to start any kind of enumeration or lists. It is also…

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Past Simple Tense

What is It? Future tense is needed to show that certain events are just about to happen. When to Use? Cases Examples * When a…

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Past Perfect Tense

What is It? The past perfect is basically had + a verb in passive voice (past particle). When to Use? Cases Examples *Show that something…

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Future Perfect Continuous Tense

What is It? Uses will have been + a verb in the present tense (present particle) or am/is/are + going to have been + a…

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Future Continuous Tense

What is It? Using will/won’t + be + verb (present particle) when you want to say that an action with be in progress in the…

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Semicolons

The general rule with semicolons: before and after a semicolon, there needs to be independent clauses, or phrases that could be complete sentences. When to…

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Comma Rules

The general rule for commas is that we use them to make reading more understandable by separating the parts of a sentence, so that readers…

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Dashes

There are two types of dashes: the en dash ( – ) and em dash ( — ). When to Use the En Dash: 1.…

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