Preparing Yourself for Effective Writing
To write effectively, you must prepare yourself.
Getting Some Basic Tools
Effective writing requires lifelong learning and finding answers to all your questions about writing. Accordingly, you need to get some basic tools for your effective writing:
Use a dictionary to find out what words mean and to make sure that words mean what you think they mean.
Use a dictionary to see a word in context so that you have better understanding of how that word should be used in your own writing.
Use a dictionary to find out the preferred spelling of a word because the same word can be spelled differently.
Use a dictionary to determine the usage of a word, such as the preposition that normally goes with it
A thesaurus may help you find the right word to use. Sometimes you cannot recall a certain word that you may wish to use; in that case, a dictionary may not be able to help you. A thesaurus provides words and phrases that are close in meaning.
Understanding the Purpose of Writing
You write not just for your teachers or your readers, but, more importantly, for yourself. There are several reasons why you should write:
Writing may be a part of your job description. Writing letters, memos, reports, minutes of meetings, and sending e-mails may be your daily tasks at your workplace.
Writing affords you an opportunity to explore yourself—your thoughts and feelings. Writing is often a journey of self-discovery: you begin to find out more about who you are, and what your values are. Writing is more than an expression of self: it creates the self. To that end, you can write a diary or journal for self-expression. Regular journal writing not only improves your writing skill but also expands your thinking.
Writing helps you organize your thinking. Effective writing requires you to put your random thoughts into a coherent pattern. Through writing, you learn to mentally articulate your ideas in a more logical and systematic way. Writing regularly improves your logic and sharpens your power of reasoning.
Writing enhances your ability to use language for specific purposes. You begin to realize how some writers use manipulative language to persuade others. Accordingly, you learn to “read between the lines” as well as to recognize the truths from the myths.
Writing is an effective means of communication with others. Even when you write an e-mail to your friends, you have to make yourself intelligible by writing what you mean and meaning what you write.
Writing is an important communication skill. Reap all the benefits of writing by learning how to write. Make a virtue out of your necessity.
What separates EFFECTIVE WRITING Made Simple from other books on how to improve your writing skill?
First, this book is presented in a simple and easy-to-follow format: it is easy to read and understand. Second, this book is comprehensive: it covers every aspect of good writing—from basic grammar, correct sentences, effective use of words, paragraph development, to style and usage. With many examples and illustrations, this book is like a handy manual at your fingertips for easy reference. Effective writing is an essential communication skill in inter-personal relationships and in almost every profession.
In English, sometimes words and phrases are slanted to the right--the use of italics. Effective writing requires the use of italics appropriately. The following shows how to use italics effectively:
(1) Use italics for titles.
e.g. The film The Interview has caused much controversy.
e.g. Have you read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace?
(2) Use italics for foreign words. The English language has acquired many foreign words, such as chef from
France, and spaghetti from , that have become part of the English language and they do not require to be put in italics. However, many foreign words still require to be out in italics. Italy
e.g. Gato is a Spanish word for cat.
e.g. Balance is expressed in the concept of yin and yang.
(3) Use italics for names of aircraft, ships, and trains.
e.g. Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage.
(4) Use italics for emphasis, but avoid its overuse:
e.g. It is easy to find out how you can avoid credit card debt, but it is difficult to actually do it.
(5) Use italics for words, phrases, letters, and numbers used as words.
e.g. The alphabet b and d are easily confused by young children.
e.g. Do you know the difference between allude and delude?
e.g. Many people consider 13 an unlucky number.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau