Rules for Better English Writing

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Introduction. Teachers find that about one-half of the errors observed in writing by Chinese students could be corrected without any real improvement in English SkillsIf you are willing to follow 12 simple rules, you can write much better nowNo study timeNo new wordsNo phrases to memorizeNo pra

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Rules for Better English Writing

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1. Rules for Better English Writing Without Having to Learn Better English

2. Introduction Teachers find that about one-half of the errors observed in writing by Chinese students could be corrected without any real improvement in English Skills If you are willing to follow 12 simple rules, you can write much better now No study time No new words No phrases to memorize No practice

3. Rule 1?Use Computer with Text Checking for All Writing No one, Chinese or not, should ignore this rule Word can check: Punctuation Spelling Tense Plural/Singular Sentence length Common errors More sophisticated programs are available

4. Rule 2?Use Simple Words Are you trying to express ideas or show people you are a great scholar The more obscure the word, the greater the chance of using it wrong Mochou Lake Park sign used the word “Pulchritude” Most native English speaker don’t know what it means Try beautiful KISS Keep it simple stupid

5. Rule 3?Use Simple Sentence Structure Few errors are made with simple, subject - verb – object, sentences Writing may not be as interesting but it will most likely be correct and understandable “While Jane was with Paul she was seen by Dick.” “Dick saw Jane with Paul.”

6. Rule 4?Get Rid of Fluff & Fill Words If the meaning or the thought flow is not altered by removing a word or phrase, take it out It is fluff or fill When in doubt take it out “In my opinion, it looks as though A is bigger then B.”

7. Rule 4?Get Rid of Fluff & Fill Words (cont) Of Course As a matter of fact Needless to say In fact Generally speaking In other words As we all know Actually It is said that In my opinion

8. Rule 5?Don’t Right-Justify Text (Seldom Hyphenate) Right justification makes it hard to find spacing and punctuation errors Don’t break words (hyphenate) improperly Never leave a single letter of a word on either line Seldom leave two letter on either line Break words only at syllables

9. Rule 6?Proofread All Your Writing & Make Corrections Difficult to proof your own work Proofread one sentence at a time ? Ask the questions: Is this really what I intended to say? Are the modifiers close to what they modify? Should the prepositional phrases at end be moved? Does the order of sentences present the message in the best way Are there misspelled words missed by spell checker, two words should be one?

10. Rule 6?Proofread all your writing & Make Corrections (cont) It is often better to delay proofreading so you can take a fresh look Read out of order End sentence first then move sentence by sentence to first sentence Have a good, critical friend proofread

11. Rule 7?Don’t be Obsequious in Your Writing Most native English speakers dislike both fawning (flattering) behavior and writing “Dear most esteemed honored professor Jones. I would like to work at your world famous University in your prestigious biochemistry department.” This is a cultural problem Such letter will likely be trashed Do not kiss my feet; I will step on you Stand and look me in the eye; I will respect you.

12. Rule 8?Do Not Personify Verbs into Nouns Requires a lot of insight Run to runners Bake to bakers Disease to diseaser A sign in China “Drunkards and diseasers are not allowed”

13. Rule 9?Remove Repetition of Words Check for repeated words and phrases “My grandpa went to town. My grandpa bought some eggs. Then my grandpa came home.” “The house was very big. It was very beautiful. I am very glad to have a house. We are very very lucky to have so much room.” Very is a very lazy word; try to fnd a word that says what you want without needing “very”

14. Rule 10?Eliminate Redundancy of Ideas Do not repeat the same thoughts in multiple sentences or within the same sentence. Once is enough Examples: “My grandmother was an intelligent woman. She was very smart” “The English language is difficult to learn. I have to work hard to learn English.” I will take and interdisciplinary and cross-subject approach to my academic studies.”

15. Rule 11?Remove “ing” Words Identify all (ing) words Passive Make writing more complex, difficult and less direct Change them to active voice and you will make fewer mistakes

16. Rule 12?Do Not Use Fancy or Unusual Fonts No explanation is needed Any questions?

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