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Free Writing Tips 2009

Free Writing Tips 2009

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Published by Asad Imran

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Published by: Asad Imran on Oct 11, 2012
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Tip sheet
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Know your reader  Think about what you wantto tell your reader and why Think about how manywords you’ve got and howmuch time you have Put your topic in the form of a question Read everything you canabout your question Take notes, highlightpassages, photocopypages, copy and pasteparagraphs, downloadpassages from the Internet,and collect ideas from other sources into a computer fileor hard-copy folders When you keep finding thesame references, stopreading and start groupingyour materials intocategories Identify gaps, trends,themes, and differences of opinion If needed, get more materialto fill the gaps or to clarifythe issues Brainstorm your answer; if ithelps, use a mind mapWrite some headings andsubheadings to frame your answer; use your categoriesto help you Phrase your headings likethey’re summaries of your arguments Paste or transcribe thematerial you’ve collectedunder the relevant headings Start writing, withoutstopping 
1
 
Preparation
 
GoldenRule
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www.write-better-english.com
Tip sheet
The introduction
15
Tell the reader the questionyou’re answering
16
Give your answer upfront
17
Briefly explain the reasonsfor your answer (‘I haveanswered this waybecause …’)
The body
18
Focus each paragraph onone idea that supports youranswer
19
Use the first sentence ineach paragraph to explainthe point of that paragraph
20
Use the rest of theparagraph to amplify yourpoint, support it withevidence, qualify it, or giveexamples
21
Link your paragraphs by—
 opening with words like‘But’, ‘Also,’ and‘Moreover’; or
 opening with words like‘This’, ‘That’, ‘These’,‘Those’; or
 echoing the last words ofthe preceding paragraph
The conclusion
22
Keep your conclusion short
23
Summarise your answer,but restate it freshly
24
End powerfully; consider:
 suggesting the next step
 ending with a good quote
 linking to the introduction
 listing the reasons youranswer is right
 leaving the reader with apowerful image
 mentioning theimplications of youranswer
 ending with a slightlydifferent angle on youranswer 
2
Structure
 
PowerTip
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Improve your writing. Onlinewriting course.
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Tip sheet
3
WordChoice
 
GoldenRule
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Write for your 
reader 
 Write as if you’re talkingwith your reader Use ‘I’ and ‘you’Use contractions unlessyour writing is formalSee if you can avoid ‘am’,‘be’, ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘been’,‘were’, and ‘being’Prefer small words to bigwordsPrefer simple words to hardwordsPrefer specific words togeneral wordsPrefer English words toforeign wordsPrefer non-technical wordsto technical wordsIf you must use a foreignword or a technical word,then define the wordKnow the differencebetween ‘that’ and ‘which’Prefer verbs to nouns (for example, use ‘apply’ rather than ‘make an application’)Prefer short sentences tolong sentences (aim for anaverage of 20 words)Prefer short paragraphs tolong paragraphs (aim for anaverage of under 100words)Use 50 to 70 characters alineDon’t write ‘he/she’ or ‘he or she’Don’t write ‘and/or’ Avoid clichés Avoid exclamation marksConnect modifying words tothe words they modify (for example, ‘I gave him
only$1
’, not ‘I
only gave
him$1’)Use the same word for thesame thingChange negative phrases topositive phrases (for example, write ‘he forgot’rather than ‘he did notremember’)Ignore the ‘rule’ that youcan’t start sentences with‘So’, ‘And’, and ‘But’Ignore the ‘rule’ that youcan’t end sentences withwords like ‘to’ and ‘of’Take care with pronouns—make sure your reader knows what ‘it’ refers toDon’t use ‘former’ or ‘latter’ Avoid filler phrases like ‘Itshould be noted that’Be consistent with matterslike ‘-ise’ and ‘-ize’ andcapitalizationUse 1 noun to name 1 thingDon’t use ‘&’ unless it’s in acompany name

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