Dear Answers Community,

Many of our Grammarly Answers users would like tips on how to improve their overall writing, especially as it relates to grammar.  In response, we have created this featured question where users are encouraged to discuss their favorite writing tips and tricks!


So, we want to know:

-- What are some of your good writing habits?  

-- How do you improve your writing?

-- What are special tips for ESL writers?

If you are interested in posting, feel free to post your idea or question as an 'Answer', and the community can provide feedback via the comments linked to each 'Answer'. Sincerely, Kimberly Joki GA Moderator and Administrator

asked Sep 12 '11 at 11:33 Kimberly Expert

this is a very good venue for scholarly critiquing bernarda villarojoSep 29 '11 at 06:34

how does it would be to create a small setence of requesting to send items upon my frquesting Mullah HidayathullahDec 03 '11 at 05:50

Habits - I try to write in some way every single day. I usually take one or two hours before bed to plug out a few pages, or to read something for inspiration in some way. I also observe EVERYTHING throughout the day. Be creative, if you see something interesting, maybe use it in a story, or form a story around it. You'd be surprised the things you can imagine when you try.

Improve Writing - The best perfection comes from time...and not even that's enough. Luckily we have GOOD, BETTER, and EVEN BETTER, so don't be discouraged if you don't think your writing is up to par...just keep writing. Notice patterns and trends in your writing, go back and read it and see what doesn't flow. Are there better words? Simpler structure? Just keep writing and it will improve with effort.

Lastly (not answering the last part) writing has to be a passion. If you don't enjoy it, it's not for you. It requires you to sit and think and, of course, write. Enjoy it and reap the rewards (people who find out you're an author/writer will adore you and think very highly of you, this has happened to me a lot). Just don't get bigheaded. Be modest enough, and write about whatever you want.

Scott MartinMar 14 '12 at 15:45

These explanation really help and inspire me . Im started loving to do writing for anything. thanxayesha

ayeshaMar 16 '12 at 10:13

I try to read a lot recreationally. The New Yorker is great content and excellent, well-edited writing. Teachers consistently say that the students who write best are readers. Another great habit is to let what one has written sit at least overnight--and to try to evaluate with "new eyes." Being one's own devil's advocate is really important for nonfiction. Try to poke holes in your own prose. Reading your own writing out loud provides a great way to analyze what and how you have written.best,Pam Rider

Pam RiderMay 29 '12 at 19:17

It is very good question. Thank you very much for your questions. I did'nt think about that you say. I really clearly don't know that what are some of my good writing habits. I write the letter when I need to write correspondence with my customer. To imporve my writing, I have nothing special to do that. I just only practice when I write correspondence with my customer.

ZarchiJul 06 '12 at 05:17

add comment

47 answers


-- What are some of your good writing habits? 

Good writing is all about editing. After you write something, let it sit for a while and then return to make it perfect.


-- How do you improve your writing?

I love editing. See above. It also helps to have a second pair of eyes to catch things you may have missed. You can learn a great deal from this. No one is perfect!


-- What are special tips for ESL writers?

Read a variety of English writing-- news articles, fiction and non-fiction books, blogs, etc.

Also, read the writing of other ESL students, and edit their grammar and word choices.

link answered Sep 17 '11 at 15:25 Shelley Stout Contributor

I have used a cool website to read, listen and then you can check the meaning of words as you hear them. The best part is that you can control the speed of the speaking so you can use the text for dictation. You can see the structures being used, you can stop and pause and then think about the construction of the language. Not sure if I can drop the link in this post but it is called: 'Yabla' - you can google it! http://english.yabla.com/ maria perssonOct 12 '11 at 07:10

add comment

My three tips for writing:


1. Read good stuff. Can't emphasize this enough: choose your "writing hero" and read everything they've written. Then, use websites like these to find similar books. 

2. Write in public, even if badly. Good writing will evolve sooner or later - through exposure and criticism. That's how you learned to speak, right? (Seth Godin's article on this)

3. Get rid of distractions. Go offline, shut down your computer, turn off your mobile phone. Focus on this one thing: your piece of paper and pen. Fight the need to look up a word, or check spelling - you can do that later. Write when unplugged; edit when wired.


Sounds hardcore? Hey, who said writing was easy? :)

link edited Sep 27 '11 at 14:35 Wiktor Contributor

i love these tips. they are truly useful to us critics. bernarda villarojoSep 29 '11 at 06:37

A helpul instructions! qirat aliOct 01 '11 at 14:48

I agree too. You totally need to unplug sometimes. KateFeb 20 '12 at 23:15

#1 and #2 tips are really useful.

Srinivasan NarayananOct 30 '12 at 11:27

add comment

Develop your vocabulary. Children develop their vocabulary before they learn, or understand grammar. Read. Keep track of those words and idioms you don’t understand. Invest in a good, hardcover dictionary – preferably a good British English or American English dictionary as these are likely to be more extensive and inclusive than others. Often, dictionaries for other English dialects are intended to supplement, not replace, a BritE or AmE dictionary.



Don’t try to “show off” your vocabulary. We all want to appear smart, successful, and educated. This facet of human nature, coupled with the legacy of British colonial schools, leads many to make inappropriate word choices. Fortunately, most readers are not fooled, and the writer is seen as pretentious. When selecting a word from among several synonyms, chose the simplest. View words taken from Greek or Latin with suspicion when a Anglo-Saxon word is available.


“Use” not “utilize”.
“Learn” not “ascertain”.
“Start” not “initiate”.



In longer works, use your expanded vocabulary to provide “spice” and variety so the reader does not tire from repetition. But remember, a little spice goes a long way.


Avoid nominalizations, uncover hidden verbs. A “nominalization”, or hidden verb, is a verb converted into a noun. It often needs an extra verb to make sense. Hidden verbs often go hand in hand with passive verbs and combine to give an officious and longwinded style. Some hidden verbs have endings such as: -ment, -tion, -sion, and -ance and often link with verbs such as: achieve, effect, give, have, make, reach, and take.



“Please make an application for a personal loan ….”
“Please apply for a personal loan ....”

“To trace the missing payment, we need to carry out a review of the Agency's accounts so we can gain an understanding of the reason the error occurred."

"To trace the missing payment, we must review the Agency's accounts so we understand why the error occurred."



Hidden verbs also occur when we turn verbs into nouns by adding endings such as -ing, -tion, -ment, or -sion and placing the longer word between the words “the” and “of”.

“This means we must undertake the calculation of new figures for the congressional hearing.”
“This means calculating new figures for the congressional hearing.”



Reduce Prepositional Sprawl. ESL writers and native-speaking students who wish to appear “educated” often use too many prepositional phrases. At times, it seems that their writing is nothing but one prepositional phrase strung after another. More than one or two prepositional phrases per sentence begins to wear on your readers because they're forced to put more and more material "on hold" as they try to figure out what the phrases modify. As a rule of thumb, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that prepositions make up only 7 to 10 percent of the total words in a text. This represents no more than two prepositions, on average, per 20 word sentence. Compare the first sentence with ten prepositions to the second sentence with just two.


“It is a matter of the gravest possible importance to the health of anyone with a history of a problem with disease of the heart that he or she should avoid the sort of foods with a high percentage of saturated fats.”
“Anyone with a history of heart disease should avoid saturated fats.”



Where possible, use adjectives that precede the noun rather than prepositional adjective phrases that follow the noun.


“The corral toward the east is enclosed by a white fence.”
“The eastern corral is enclosed by a white fence."



Using active verbs, instead of “to be” verbs, helps reduce unneeded prepositional phrases.


“The eastern corral is enclosed by a white fence."
“A white fence encloses the eastern corral.”



Learn to use possessives. Many prepositional phrases can be replaced with a possessive.


“The note from Beverly confessed that she had eaten the leftover pizza.”
Beverly’s note confessed that she had eaten the leftover pizza.”



One of her friends was in a car accident.”
Her friend was in a car accident.”


“The aim of the government was to impose law and order.
“The government’s aim was to impose law and order.



Don’t try to show off. More is not better, especially when it comes to linking multiple thoughts (independent clauses) into a single sentence. Keep each sentence to one thought, or two if you create a compound sentence.  


By Mr. Jeff Pribyl-an Expert

link edited Jun 16 '12 at 04:47 sanjay Expert

These suggestions are really useful! It helps me a lot on my writing and improves my scrods!Thank you!

Chihying LeeJun 04 '13 at 04:25

Your scrods! I don't want to know.

Brother DaveJun 11 '13 at 19:34

Very helpful!

kingsley aniJul 31 '15 at 15:24

add comment

It can be hard to ask the right question if you don't know what part of the writing you're struggling with. Here's a checklist of things to consider.

  • Vocabulary - this can be helped by reading, reading, reading. Anything and everything. Make a list of words you don't understand and use a good dictionary to check the meaning. You could use a small address book to note down such words for future reference.
  • Spelling - If your spell-checker identifies a word which it believes is wrong, find out why - don't automatically change it to the suggested alternative. Sometimes, you're right and it's wrong! Also, find out about...
  • Homophones, homographs, homonyms - these are pairs or trios of words which sound and/or spell the same, yet have different meanings. Typical examples are there/their/they're or accept/except. Incidentally, these are the basis of many puns, which can be a lot of fun.
  • Roots, suffixes, prefixes - a root word is the basic part of a word, such as help. A suffix sitcks to the end of the root word (helpful) whereas a prefix goes before (unhelpful). Common suffixes are -ing, -ed, -ful, -est, -er, -ment; common prefixes are un-, re-, pre-, de-, mis-, in-. There are some very helpful materials out there to help you learn the spelling rules associated with these.
  • Parts of speech - knowing what a noun, verb, adverb, etc is can be helpful when trying to identify which homonym/-graph/-phone to use. Also, familiarise yourself with the abbreviations you'll find in dictionaries (n. for noun, adj. for adjective and so on). An example is passed (verb) versus past (preposition). Also useful are words or terms like clause.
  • Punctuation - these are the symbols we use to break sentences up into smaller, more readable chunks. Full stops (US: periods), commas, question marks, semi-colons, colons and hyphens are common examples. Find out what they do and why we need them. Remember, punctuation is to help written words become speech, not the other way around.
  • Verb/tense agreement - we say 'I have' not 'I has', for instance. Verbs in English are far more regular than people think; for instance, the third person singular (he, she or it) in the present tense always ends in -s, with only one tiny exception: can.

I'm also a huge proponent of draft-wait-edit-wait-re-edit, as mentioned above. There's nothing like having a bit of breathing space before resuming your work.


Lastly, step lightly through the morass of this language. You can have a lot of fun with it!

link answered Feb 05 '12 at 14:36 Elvis Trundle Contributor

perfect and very clear instructions of grammar

asmasattarJan 28 '13 at 18:14

add comment

One expression- not very grammatical but it gives the message succinctly - is GET IT WROTE THEN GET IT RIGHT 

link answered Nov 17 '11 at 22:37 Angela Rigley New member

Absolutely! The best way of learning a thing is by doing it!

Srinivasan NarayananOct 30 '12 at 11:29


Will SuttonJan 06 '13 at 04:24

add comment

Quotation Marks and other Punctuation - Inside or Outside


Because this question has been raised several times in the past week (5 April 2012), I’ve become curious. After I finished at Bancroft Library this morning, I headed to the Main Stacks to check the various style manuals for myself. I was surprised by what I found:

  • •The American and British styles are very different.
  • •Each of the major American manuals says there is wide disagreement on what constitutes the American style.
  • •With one exception (ACS), the major style manuals all agree on the American style's basics!

APA Style -- Although the APA Publication Manual contains many examples illustrating different, specific conditions, its guidance can be summarized as: “Commas and periods that finish quotes are always placed inside quotation marks. Other marks of punctuation are placed outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.”

     Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010 p.98

Last year (11 August 2011), the APA posted a blog concerning this issue at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/08/punctuating-around-quotation-marks.html. The posts contains a useful table describing the differences between the “American Style” and “British Style” as well as a large table illustrating the APA style for quotation marks and punctuation.

ACS Style -- “Location of quotation marks is a style point in which ACS differs from other authorities. In 1978, ACS questioned the practice and recommended a deviation from it: logical placement. Thus, if the punctuation is part of the quotation, then it should be within the quotation marks; if the punctuation is not part of the quotation, the writer should not mislead the reader by inferring that it is. Place quotation marks before all punctuation that is not part of the original quotation. Place them after all punctuation that is part of the quotation.”

     The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 2006  pp. 18-19

AMA Style -- “Put closing quotation marks outside commas and periods, but inside colons and semicolons. Put question marks, dashes, and exclamation points inside quotation marks when they are part of the quote.”

     American Medical Association. AMA Manual of Style: a Guide for Authors and Editors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 Section 2.1.1

The AMA says its style guide is similar to the “Vancouver Style” used by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

ASA Style -- The ASA does not directly address the question. However, the manual does say that it follows the Chicago Manual of Style in most respects.

     The ASA Style Guide. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association, 2007

MLA Style – First, the MLA Manual provides the blanket restriction: “a sentence can end with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point” (p.98) which seems to put it in the British Style camp. But it immediately provides (p. 100) an exception. “Place a question mark inside a closing question mark if a question mark occurs there in the quoted passage. But if the quotation ends a sentence that is a question, place a question mark outside the quotation.”

Later (p.. 134), the MLA seems to reverse course on sentence endings by saying “By convention, commas and periods that directly follow quotations go inside the closing quotation marks,”

     MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 3rd ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2008 (The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers provides similar guidance.)

Chicago Style – The Chicago Manual describes both the “traditional” (American style) and the “alternative” British style. Chicago prefers the American style but says the British style may be appropriate for “some works of textual criticism.”

For the traditional style, Chicago says “Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single” (p. 309). “Colons and semicolons – unlike periods and commas – follow closing quotation marks; question marks and exclamation points following closing quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted matter” (p. 310).

     Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010

AP Style – “The period and the comma always go within the question marks. The dash, semicolon, the question mark and the exclamation point go within the quotation when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence” (p. 362).

     The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law,  New York: Associated Press, 2009 

link comment answered Apr 05 '12 at 22:01 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

One suggestion I have for ESL writers is read, read, read! The more familiar you become with the way the language is constructed, the more you will internalize it. Also, I would suggest to start out with simple sentences. Don't try to make them long until you have a solid understanding of how the words work together.


How do I improve my writing?

I use vivid language as much as I possibly can. Sometimes, I even use words in unconventional ways. For example, instead of saying, "I worked out for an hour," I would say, "I ellipticalled for an hour." Simple tweaks can make your writing so much better and much more interesting.

link answered Jan 09 '13 at 23:07 Michelle Webb New member

Hi, Michelle! your example reminds me of Kevin Spacey, who's the male lead in the movie called 'Pay it forward'. Thank you for the tips! :-)

Jack JinFeb 02 '13 at 05:14

add comment

For aspects of English usage that puzzle you, refer to a handbook such as The Brief Penguin Handbook, which is currently used in Marquette’s First-Year English program.  For more information, click her

link comment answered Sep 16 '11 at 21:35 ramandeep kaur New member

I agree that good writing is about editing, but even more important is planning.  The more planning you do, the less editing you will need to do later.


When planning, always ask yourself these questions:


  • Why am I writing?
  • Who is going to read what I write?  And are they going to do something with it?
  • What does my reader already know?
  • What will my reader want to know?
  • What do I want my reader to know?

Then, brainstorm! Write down your ideas - that is, answers to these questions.


Then order your ideas logically. Use these questions to organise your ideas:


  • What is my text about?
  • What are the main ideas? (put these in order of importance)
  • What are the supporting ideas? (list these under each of the main ideas)
  • What do I want my reader to remember most?
  • Do I want my reader to do anything?

All of this may take you 10 minutes - but now you are ready to write.


Follow your plan of ideas.  Don't worry about spelling or grammar too much. You can come back and focus on that later. The most important thing is to get your ideas down first.


When you have finished your first DRAFT, leave it for a few hours or a day or two.

Come back and re-read it.  Does it make sense?


Make changes to the structure, grammar and spelling.


Then, finally, if you can, get another person to read it. And listen to what they say!


Every text type has a different structure (like letters, reports, instructions, essays) and there may be some extra questions you need to consider and answer.


But, whatever you are writing, planning first will save you a lot of time.

link edited Oct 27 '11 at 08:11 Agreeonpurpose Contributor


TashiMar 13 '12 at 17:46

add comment

I usually write something and leave it there for some time and check it and recorrect it later. I really find it useful because some different and new ideas will come to me when I got some time to think about it and then come back.


another way I usually do is to read what I have written to some of my friends and ask them to give  me some feedback and suggestions which make my writing more smooth and it really helps me a lot. 

link answered Dec 20 '11 at 02:24 pikezhang New member

A trick I learned at university is to have someone read my writing to me. Often we spend so much time with the topic of our paper that what we actually wrote is a little different from what we think we wrote. In this process, I am often able to make my own corrections as well as get suggestions from my reader-friend. That sentence which I thought was so witty and clever may have left my reader confused.

NeznayouJul 19 '13 at 10:32

add comment

-- What are some of your good writing habits? 

The best writing habit I have is to focus on prewriting.  Often, if I just sit down to write out my thoughts, my writing mirrors my thinking process.  And my thinking process is often a jumbled mess.  When I focus my mind on what, exactly, I want to write about, what the purpose is, what tone I want to use, I can produce a lot of great brainstorming.  As I brainstorm ideas, I just let my brain go crazy and come up with all sorts of thoughts.  Writing them down allows me to keep thinking so I don't have to remember every detail as I go.  This really allows me to get creative with my ideas.  I often brainstorm a word bank to use later when I'm drafting.  That way, whenever I get stumped during the drafting phase, I can look at my word bank and draw inspiration from that.  After I've spewed a ton of ideas out in the brainstorm, when my brain is exhausted from expelling all these great ideas, then I focus on organizing those thoughts into the structure I want to write.  As I decide which ideas to use and which ones to leave out, I'm already shaping a better piece of writing than I would have had.  Also, as I organize my brainstorm into something more structured, I usually get more inspired thoughts because I'm thinking in a different way than I was when I brainstormed.  I add my new inspired thoughts to my brainstorm then keep on organizing.  After my organized layout is set, I can rearrange portions of my ideas to be sure that the draft is already well-structured, well-developed, and focused on one clear concept.  By the time all this prewriting is done, my draft usually flows exteremly well.  The important thing to remember in drafting is that I can't worry about mistakes.  I have to let my brain flow as I follow my outline.  I know that I'll go back and adjust my draft later in revision and editing stages.  That removes all the pressure of being perfect when I draft.  Using this process, my first draft is 100 times better than it would have been if I had just plopped down and started writing.  Of course, there's always a time for that, as well.  Usually I use that kind of a process when I'm writing more creative, less structured works.  I've taught this method to students for years, and they're always astonished at how much their writing improves simply by changing their process.  Many of them never realize how well they could write until they changed how they write.  Only once they realize their full potential as they are can I step in as a writing teacher and help them improve further.

-- How do you improve your writing?

I truly believe that the keys to improving my own writing are reading and working.  Reading improves my writing because, as I read more complex writing, I learn what complex writers do with language.  The more I read, the greater my vocabulary becomes, and the larger my vocabulary, the more tools I have in my writer's arsenal.  I love reading a variety of genres because each genre has its own mood, tone, and style of writing.  I'm not a huge sports fan, but I am a huge fan of sports writers because their writing is often lively and filled with personality.  Another way I improve my writing is by working at it.  I work at my own writing as I want my students to.  I use every resource available to me.  I ask people to read things I write, even if I'm embarrassed of them.  It's only through honest feedback from readers that I can truly understand what my writing means to someone else.  And everything I write is always for someone else, otherwise, why would I write it down?

-- What are special tips for ESL writers?

ESL writers should definitely read and speak as much as they can.  Reading and speaking the English language will help them to develop a sense of how to write in English.  Often, as we learn a second language, we keep thinking in our first language and translate one word at a time.  The more we read and understand the language we are learning, the larger those translation "chunks" become.  We start thinking and translating phrases of language, then clauses.  Pretty soon, we're thinking in the new language and not translating at all.  That takes a lot of time to develop, but we can do it.  ESL writers should never be afraid or embarrassed to make a mistake.  They need to know that humans learn through their mistakes, so every mistake is an opportunity to learn a new twist in the language.  English is a complicated mish-mash of rules taken from other languages, so it will be quite a learning process.  Even native English speakers struggle with many of the nuances.  Learning any language is a journey to be relished because the journey is the destination.  We are always learning more about our language and how we can use it poetically.

link answered Mar 08 '12 at 16:43 Erik Czerwin Contributor

I do appreciate this comment. In fact, It's very embarrassing to be told that your writing is poor due to grammatical or spelling errors . But if we come across people that are wiling to help and also understand that theses mistake are often made by speaker of languages not purposely, I do think it would enhance their writing as constructive feedback would be given as opposed to destructive . Many thanks for that.

regineFeb 09 '13 at 01:19

add comment

Outlines and brainstorming charts are good to use when starting a new piece.  A simple outline can help you to see what connects together and where your supporting details are weak.  A "brainstorming wheel" is nice to, since you can focus on the ideas first, then worry about how they connect later.


Getting a few writing handbooks and style guides can help.


When you get a good working draft, you can use a number of online grammar tools to check them.  There will be some conflicts, since they don't all use the same rules or check the same things.  The more you use the tools, the better your writing will be over time.


Asking specific questions in forums such as these is always good.  I noticed one ESL speaker on Grammarly who sometimes comes across as annoying at times with the number and type of questions he asks.  However, his quality of questions and how he words them has improved a great deal recently.  If you have that sort of drive and eagerness, it helps.

link comment answered Apr 21 '12 at 19:36 Courtney Contributor

Like Stephen King said, the key ingredients to become a better writer is to write as much as you can. There are really no shortcuts to improve any particular skill, including writing. Practice, practice, and practice! 

link comment answered Oct 29 '12 at 06:40 Trung New member

I am an Indian. For us it ESL. Here are two things I did which helped me to improve my English writing skills. It is not perfect yet! 1. When I stumbled across a word I dont understand, while listening or reading, I referred to the dictionary - Concise Oxfor Dictionary.  2. I wrote five sentences using the new word in each of them. I and my friend exchanhed our work for peer review and correction.  

link answered Oct 30 '12 at 13:12 srinivasan n New member

Hello. This is the method I have used for many years. I am a native speaker but I'm always on the alert for new words and usage. Do you have access to BBC or NPR radio broadcasting? It has really helped me broaden my vocabulary and syntax. Best wishes.

noexpert jck4514@aol.comJan 31 at 16:21

add comment

Most of this may have been covered as I see this thread has received a lot of attention.

The best advice ever given me was by a well-known author with whom I was lucky enough to score a brief one-to-one chat: “Writers write.” That was it. If you want to consider yourself a writer, you must write… every day. The only difference between a writer and an author is publication. An author has been published.

I adhere to “The Ol’ 24-hour Rule.” If a text, letter, email or post is the least bit controversial, let it sit for at least a day or so, then read it again. I have many well-written emails in my “Drafts” folder. They will never be sent.

Check and double check (proof read). There is no excuse for a spelling or grammatical error in the age of search engines, spellcheck and – of course – web sites such as Grammarly.

Fresh eyes will find things you overlooked; almost every time. Have someone look over your work (just ensure they know what they’re doing). Don’t be afraid to ask, especially if a particular passage is troubling you.

Emoticons: hate ‘em. But I will sometimes, in casual writing, use one of my own making to ensure you know I’m pulling your leg ;<)

Read: everything you can get your hands on. I read at least one newspaper every day. I peruse magazines during the day when time permits and allow myself at least an hour a night for fun reads. In my case it's suspense and crime novels (by the usual subjects).

Less is more. If you can get it said in ten words, don’t use twelve (unless you have a very good reason).

I notice the response has waned as this thread has become longer. So I’ll quit with this: READ, WRITE, PROOF and, though I didn't devote a paragraph to it because it seems so obvious, be CONSISTENT.  

link comment edited Jun 11 '13 at 20:24 Brother Dave Contributor

Say it; explain it, and say it again.  In other words, have a beginning that introduces the topic, a middle with details and explanations, and an ending where you reiterate your original idea.  Also, the key to good writing is planning!  Decide what details you will use in each part of your essay before you ever start. Then, be sure to tinker with the sentences and words to get the perfect mix.  Grammar Gremlin

link comment answered Feb 05 '12 at 12:43 Grammar Gremlin New member

Starting a writing session is the hard part.

Once you start, GO. Throw words on the paper. 


If you hate the word you chose, just make a comment, in line with what you are writing i.e. (wrong word) and keep going.


If you can't think of the word define the word in a comment and keep going. Little things like this are what editing is for. 


If you notice you are off on a tangent; break off and get back on topic if you have ground to cover. If you are not hurting yourself by going on with the tangent, then keep going. 


Missing a fact? Drop the search term as a comment and just pick a dummy name or date. Kkeep writing and fix it later.


Do not be distracted by typographical errors or punctuation choices. If the word came out as gibberish just type the correct work and keep the flow going.


If you are writing fiction and need a name for a new character, pick the first name that comes to mind that starts with a different letter than the other characters in the scene. Figure out the name later. In the future name new characters before you start writing. 

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 06:55 Richard Hall New member

Always be sure to read your drafts aloud.  The ear begins to pick up words too frequently used, metaphors that do not work entirely, and tautologies.  Edit as you go along.  I, too, am a proponent of the "pre-writing, draft, break, re-draft, break, final edit" method.  One thing that always amazes my students is that I begin outlining a conclusion as soon as I have my argument down for the beginning of the exercise.  To wit, I am to some degree writing backwards from a conclusion.  Of course, the conclusion becomes amended many times during the draft phase, but, that way, the paper seems always to march right along to an organic conlusion. Avoid the "equational voice": seems appear, rather, perhaps.  Its net effect is that the writer is uncertain.  I always do a final prrofread with a friend.

link answered Jun 08 '13 at 12:00 Patricia Robinson-Linder New member

Furthermore, I advise my students to skip the introduction when they first begin writing. If they plan the topic of each section of the paper (paragraph, chapter or other section), then they will know what they need to include in the introduction.

Also, the introduction and the conclusion are like the top hamburger bun and the bottom hamburger bun. Both are made of the same ingredients, but they have slightly different appearances. They work together to hold the hamburger sandwich together. You could use two bottom buns or two top buns and you would still have a hamburger, but using a top and a bottom gives your hamburger a little variety. So it is with the introduction and the conclusion, they could be exactly identical, but then your paper would lack the variety that makes it really pop!

NeznayouJul 19 '13 at 10:42

add comment

I have written academic research papers, proposals, and fiction. My suggestion is to use some of the word processing capabilities. The one I always use  is the outliner.


It takes a while to get used to it; however, longer documents can be shrunk down to a page or two.


I use Grammarly to check each section individually. It always tells me something useful, and even if I do not quite understand the answer, I can rewrite s sentence or two to improve it.


Don't be afraid to rewrite.



link comment answered Sep 12 '11 at 13:58 Barry Jackson New member

I write letters to friends, post comments on some newspapers and write some teachings things to teach my childrend.  Most are one page in length. I understand that I could send the texts to you for advice and have my drafts back avery time after they were correted and rewritten. Is it right?

Please answer.


link answered Sep 19 '11 at 09:24 Prayoon Jivasantikarn New member

That is incorrect. At this time Grammarly.com and Grammarly Answers do not accept writing for professional editing. If you are looking for a helpful tool to help with revision, please consider trying our Grammarly Editor, which will check your writing for grammar and writing mistakes and then guide you through the correction process. See: http://www.grammarly.com. KimberlySep 27 '11 at 13:08

add comment

Recognize that you write the way you think and speak.  


Realistically, that is the way we tend to write our first drafts.  It is a default mode, perhaps even a lazy mode.  It is human nature to communicate in all aspects of life the way we are used to communicating.  You can see that happening with the invasion of text speak into mainstream society.  People are saying "OMG" and "WTF" because they are trained to think that way in texting on a phone.  That training bleeds into writing as poor writers shorten words improperly and spell terribly.  Also, as conversations become more and more casual, the conversations include a lot of meaningless phrases that poor writers desperately want to include in their writings.


Train yourself to think and speak properly.  If you can do that, your writing will get a million times easier.

link comment answered Mar 07 '12 at 17:49 Rik Kluessendorf Contributor

Habits - I try to write in some way every single day. I usually take one or two hours before bed to plug out a few pages, or to read something for inspiration in some way. I also observe EVERYTHING throughout the day. Be creative, if you see something interesting, maybe use it in a story, or form a story around it. You'd be surprised the things you can imagine when you try.


Improve Writing - The best perfection comes from time...and not even that's enough. Luckily we have GOOD, BETTER, and EVEN BETTER, so don't be discouraged if you don't think your writing is up to par...just keep writing. Notice patterns and trends in your writing, go back and read it and see what doesn't flow. Are there better words? Simpler structure? Just keep writing and it will improve with effort.


Lastly (not answering the last part) writing has to be a passion. If you don't enjoy it, it's not for you. It requires you to sit and think and, of course, write. Enjoy it and reap the rewards (people who find out you're an author/writer will adore you and think very highly of you, this has happened to me a lot). Just don't get bigheaded. Be modest enough, and write about whatever you want.

link comment answered Mar 17 '12 at 01:19 Scott Martin Contributor

Some websites offer great free online courses for various subjects, including writing. One of my favourite projects is Coursera, where I'm currently enrolled as a student in a class on academic writing, English Composition I: Achieving Expertise (by Duke University).


The fun part of the course is that you can interact with other students, be graded, and learn under the guidance of university professors, for free.


I am not affiliated with Coursera in any way except as a student.

link comment answered Apr 01 '13 at 18:04 David Simons New member

The Biggest and the Best tip is this. It's one sentence; and a blunt one at that..

'Do what works!'.

Does it not feel good even just saying it?!

All of the above are great tips, however will it work for you? Maybe, but not everyone because what works for one, doesn't work for all. On the other hand, if you follow my tip and ask the same question 'Will it work for you?', the answer is definitely 100%, 'YES'!

The tip is fool proof!

In other words, English may be an enigma (a fun one at that!), but humans are not. Nobody knows you like you know yourself. Soooo....

Cheers to common sense I say!

**My students love this rule because unlike EVERY other rule in English which has exceptions, this one does not! They think its fun and with fun comes learning. Easy! :)

link comment answered Jun 01 '13 at 14:50 Tia Duffy New member

I've worked with a lot of folks who have trouble not editing as they go. The best piece of advice I can give is not to self-edit as you're writing.


I use [ ] brackets as I'm writing, so I don't spend too much time searching for just the right word. I often put [something like x-y-z] in brackets to represent a thought I have, but don't quite yet know how to put into words. You can always go back and edit the words to flow nicely, but the important thing is to just get the thoughts down and worry about making it sound good later.


Most of my writing is marketing-based or persuasive-type writing. I use AP Stylebook and have learned quite a few of the principles so I don't always have to look them up. Whatever style you use, finding a consistent one that fits your industry and type of writing is vital to save time and keep you from the distraction of trying to figure out whether to write "10" or "ten." 

link comment answered Jun 08 '13 at 02:32 beth g sanders New member

I find that reading a lot of books really help with writing. I'm in high school right now, but I'm getting decent-high grades (25/30 with essays), just from the books I've read in 6th grade.

I'm an Asian that had virtually no contact with English (language) for over 4 years since the 3 years I've spent in america, but I'm doing fine in higher level English class, better than many other classmates.



Well, I did read a lot of books in middle school. Over 150 books, in fact.

link comment answered Jan 05 '14 at 16:29 wooil jung New member

Usually I writes letter to my higher authorities.Always I have been found some mistakes in my drafts.How to write an official letter shortly?

link answered Sep 13 '11 at 11:30 ehiya New member

I think one very helpful tip is to use simple sentences that you know you are using correctly. You'll make fewer mistakes. Similarly, try using introductory phrases that you are very familiar with and are easy to use without making mistakes, 'also' and 'in addition' (instead of 'and') and 'however' (instead of 'but'). KimberlySep 27 '11 at 13:05

Proof your writing, especially on a site such as this where the topic is grammar. It is so embarrassing to make a mistake here. That having been mentioned, do you see any areas for improvement in your answer?

Brother DaveJun 11 '13 at 19:41

add comment

Forming Possessives with Plural Nouns Ending in S


A few weeks back, there was a lengthy discussion of plural possessives – does one add apostrophe and ‘s’ to plurals ending in s, or just the apostrophe.  Thus is it Kansas’s or Kansas’. Or Arkansas’s or Arkansas’.

The consensus was: it depends upon the style guide you are using.

I decided to follow up with some more research, and the answer is even more convoluted than I thought.

The Associated Press (AP) and Modern Language Association (MLA) call for only the apostrophe when the noun ends in S – Kansas’, Arkansas’, boss’, and rowboats’. But Strunk & White and the current Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) prefer the apostrophe S for all uses – Kansas’s, Arkansas’s, boss’s, and rowboats’s. But at least these guides offer a blanket rule. Other guides provide more convoluted advice.

The New York Times and Boston Globe use apostrophe S when the final S is not sibilant – so Arkansas’s but Kansas’, boss’, and rowboats'.

Has it always been this confused?  Apparently, a century ago, the Chicago Manual called for apostrophe S with one-syllable words, but longer words received only the apostrophe – boss’s but Arkansas’. Later, CMS swung into the MLA camp, but its most recent edition changed course again.

Other academic guides – APA, AMA, and ACS – largely avoid the issue.

Frustrated by the confusion, the Legal Times turned to the United States Supreme Court in 2006. But as usual, they found the Court deeply divided.  In the case of Kansas vs. Marsh, the Legal Times found 7 justices preferred Kansas’ in their opinions, while 2 (Scalia and Souter) used Kansas’s.

In 2007, the Arkansas state legislature went so far as to debate a law that would make Arkansas’s the official state possessive.

What is a writer to do? If you are a student, ask your teacher.

We older writers are on our own. I recently asked a full-time professional writer (a monthly major magazine piece, several non-fiction best-sellers [two adapted for movies], and fellow softball parent) how he handles these style differences. He said he just picks one, is consistent in its use, and let the editors change it to suit the house style (his magazine prefers one method and his publisher another).

link answered Apr 11 '12 at 15:32 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Jeff, I think language is constantly evolving. In the US, even different regions have their language quirks. Your friend's advice is great for professionals, as to those of us on Grammarly who only aspire to become professionals, pick a style – then stick with it. Consistency is king.

Brother DaveJun 11 '13 at 19:48

add comment


"I love to write about the things all around me. Some times I love to write about the texts which are in my mother language mode. I like to be creative to write about every thing."


"I write to improve my writing. Some times by reading story books, essays, newspapers and other texts to improve my writing.

Special tips:

1) Listening to other news network channels.

2)Reading Newspapers and hard texts to know the new words.

3) Write & Write & Write about every thing!!!!!!!

4)For more writing tips visit Englishclub.com/writing

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!

link comment answered May 26 '12 at 07:38 hadi New member

Some excellent advice from writer Cory Doctorow that helps my students' writing a great deal:

"Here's a procedure that I almost always find useful for improving almost any kind of written composition -- a speech, an essay, an op-ed or a story. As a first pass, try cutting the first 10 percent (the 'throat clearing') then moving the last 30 percent (the payoff) to the beginning of the talk (don't bury your lede!). About 90 percent of the time when someone gives me a paper for review, I find that it can be improved through this algorithm." --Cory Doctorow, full post at http://boingboing.net/2004/02/09/random-advice-for-co.html

link comment answered Sep 29 '12 at 18:35 d.s.koelling New member

One area in which many people/writers struggle is compound possessives. When you're talking about an object that two or more people own, you've got to put apostrophes on both or all of the names. 


Example: I walked to Bill's and Mary's house. 


If you were to say "I walked to Bill and Mary's House," you're saying that you walked to Mary's house and to Bill. 

link answered Jun 06 '13 at 04:15 Raul New member

That's not correct, actually. If Bill and Mary share the house, it is Bill and Mary's house. If Bill and Mary each have their own house, it would be Bill's and Mary's houses.

Patty TMay 14 '14 at 20:53

Dear Patty T, if I say that I walked to bill, and to Mary's house, should I put a comma before 'and'?

DeepMay 23 '15 at 06:18

add comment
  1. Say as much as you can in as few of words as possible. Be concise.
  2. Avoid trying to sound intellectual. You aren't looking for a big word; you are looking for the right word.
  3. READ! The best way to develop good writing habits is to read good writers. Challenge yourself.
  4. Edit. The best writers rewrite the same work several times.
  5. Read "On Writing Well." It will give you better answers than I will. 
link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 06:32 TyJBrown13 New member

Try and keep it simple. You don't want to confuse your reader with to much content!

link comment answered Feb 01 at 19:29 David Liu Contributor

Get a copy of Garner's Modern American Usage (3rd Edition), and read as much of it as you can. I can say that many answers to writing and speaking questions, answers that are spread throughout many texts and sources, seem to be condensed into Garner's book. The author's essays and each entry help the reader understand the English language as it is used and accepted today. He also took care to write the material in a way to where a reader could 'read' it and continue to enjoy reading it. Don't let the word "American" in the title scare you away from reading this book; it goes through great lengths to show the reader the diference between what is preferable in American English vs. British English.


I provide this suggestion about Garner's book because it helped me not only improve my writing within a three-month time-period, but also because it helped me concisely answer all of my wife's ESL writing and speaking questions, which I struggled with for several years.

Most importantly, it helps me most when Grammarly fails to improve my writing or catch mistakes.

link comment answered Jun 07 '13 at 18:08 Erik Noble New member

A person should make a simple glossary for improving vocabulary. Choose a book that you like and just start. Read, when you find a word that you don't know, just write it on the list and beside it you put the translation on.



link comment answered Aug 05 '14 at 02:30 Walace New member

I improve my writing by knowing about adjectives and adverbs. 

I am good at this very often!

By knowing adjectives modify nouns and adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs,

it really helps, in my writing!

link comment answered Oct 18 '15 at 22:29 Ayub New member

Read your work out loud, and make sure there are commas and full stops (periods) where you want the pauses.

link comment answered Nov 10 '15 at 12:13 Mark New member

I have written academic research papers, proposals, and fiction. My suggestion is to use some of the word processing capabilities. The one I always use  is the outliner.   It takes a while to get used to it; however, longer documents can be shrunk down to a page or two.   I use Grammarly to check each section individually. It always tells me something useful, and even if I do not quite understand the answer, I can rewrite s sentence or two to improve it.   Don't be afraid to rewrite.

link comment answered Sep 16 '11 at 21:32 ramandeep kaur New member

1. Create a Title or Headline articles creative and interesting. The title or headline articles of interest will enable readers to feel curious about the overall content of the article. Do not just focus on keywords alone, keywords are important but in fact it will reduce the value of the article. Try also made as provocative as possible so that more leaves the impression to the readers curious.

2. Use paragraph, Justify (average right-left), bullet or other support so that the display looks neat article. If you need to use is also writing with Bolt format (bold), italic (italic) or Underline (bottom line) in sentences or words that is considered important. Do not forget to also give a distance between paragraphs so that writing articles does not seem crowded.

3. Make an article that it be able to make the reader feel impressed and as if he were experiencing. Use metaphors and descriptions are clear, do not overdo it. When in need to use images to describe making it easier for readers digest

4. Use terms and grammar that is easy to digest. Grammar convoluted usually will make readers feel bored because there straight to the point that they need. To use a new term or a less common form of additional explanation should be given an opening parenthesis and closing parenthesis so that the reader becomes better understood by what it meant.

5. Well the latter is an important point nich, Write articles that are the result of the creativity and ideas alone do not copy and paste results. Results paste copies usually hurts credibility in the eyes of our blog readers. Maybe it sounded like this "copy paste of cumin if I could also post like that". If you want to make sure do not copy a whole, but look for the points that you think are important just then write in your own style.

Of all the points above, do you Have I write well and correctly? Hehe. To be a Good Writer required continuous training and perseverance. Frequently read a book or other media. From there we can learn fatherly be a good writer. Only that, yes, hopefully this post can be useful for us all. Osfir insan Bersahaja

link comment answered Jul 22 '13 at 15:36 Firdaus Aulia New member

Why don’t we pick up fraud?
• Employees are honest;

• Employees will report suspected fraud;

• The auditors /risk managers will detect fraud;

• Fraud is easy to detect;

• Fraud is not costly ;

• Adequate controls are in place; and

• They don’t need help to manage fraud risk.

link comment answered Jul 31 '13 at 12:52 Lucas Mothibe New member

I want to become a public speaker.

link comment answered Feb 23 '15 at 07:30 Morray Abass New member

For writers who want to obtain a more colorful language, one tip that I learned from one of my seniors is to learn the names of everyday objects. Bargeboard, check throat, clerestory, and downspout are all the names of house parts you've probably seen every day in your entire life. Rather than just memorizing ridiculously long and complicated words from the dictionary and vocabulary lists, learning proper names was a fun exercise that really improved my writing and is an exercise that I still do today.

link comment answered May 28 '15 at 12:00 Sangdo Lee New member

I am a grad student in the Humanities and must read and write a lot. There are two simple tips I would like to proffer. First and most important, read top quality literature. Reading the masters of the language, and perhaps in different genres even, will give you a sense of good writing. Read people like Robert Lewis Wilken (Patristic theologian), Jane Austin ("Pride and Prejudice"), and Thomas Hobbes (British Philosopher)for a start. They all write extremely well, worthy of imitation, in fact. Pay attention to their sentence structures and paragraph formation; learn how they use punctuation; master their vocabulary. Then, take all that and pratice incorporating it into your writing and speaking. Second, learn your grammar along the way. One very good but time consumming way to do this--so it works if you have time on your hands--is to learn an acient language, like Attic Greek or Latin. Or, you can just get an old fashioned grammar aid and use it. But you need to learn grammar--It's how sentences function! (One good place to start would be Diana Hacker's book. It's a start.) 

link comment answered Jul 31 '15 at 21:01 Hunter Gallagher New member

Read out the above question.

link comment answered Sep 17 '14 at 14:53 Mobasshira Zaman New member

LEW05-002 is a DBA/prevailing wage job. This belong to the last pay period we own to those employes, becouse i didn't have the privailing wage fron Checryl.

link comment answered Nov 13 '12 at 15:38 Gloria Maldonado New member

i read above every persone experesnce , i will do

link comment answered Nov 22 '12 at 08:52 Acharya krishna New member

i read above every persone experesnce , i will do

link comment answered Nov 22 '12 at 08:55 Acharya krishna New member

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.