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English Detective #44, On Writing Well and Teaching Writing : October 7,,2014
October 07, 2014

English Detective #44, On Writing Well and Teaching Writing : October 7,,2014


The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

What’s the key to good writing? Have something worth saying, and say it simply and clearly.

A little more guidance can be helpful (!), especially for students and beginning writers. Here are several useful resource links, with descriptions following the list:


The “Politically incorrect” suggestions for teaching writing include eliminating length requirements and encouraging students to write so that even a less-intelligent reader could understand. (She doesn’t put it so tamely.) She uses Stephen King, Mark Twain, and “the priest filter” to illustrate her points. I found the article hilarious as well as useful, but see for yourself...

The best posts’ link above lists a number of articles you might find interesting (though some of the older ones include non-functional links). I found the last link mentioned the most useful for teaching ELLs.

It’s a short pdf (3 pages including research references), recommending six “high leverage practices.” (I couldn’t find a direct link to it. STARlight offers some other useful articles for teaching ELLs, but their website, http://en.elresearch.org/issues only gives issues through #10 in 2013, and this is #11, Sept. 2014.)

Purdue’s online proofreading checklist is written for college students, but it’s fairly simple to understand if students have a basic understanding of clauses and a few other grammar points. There are other valuable resources in the navigation links on the left of the page.

I’ve also included a reproducible revision and proofreading checklist for English learners that I designed to use with my writing worksheets. It has an optional third page (not in checklist format) explaining clauses and a little about avoiding fragments and run-on sentences.

Incidentally, EnglishHints just added a new page on grammar worksheets here. For now, most are verb tense exercises (especially practice with irregular past tense verbs), but i hope to add subject-verb agreement practice soon.

A note if you get gmail: Have you missed any issues of English Detective? if you find English Detective in your Promotions box, you can move it to your Primary box (if you want) by clicking on it and dragging it there, then clicking Yes when asked if you want to always get it in the Primary box.

Coming in the next issue: Educating Kids for the Needs of the Future

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with all 570 words from the Academic Word List. You can check them out with the link to the back issues page below (or find what words were practiced each issue here.

P.S. If youare not already getting English Detective, you can subscribe by completing the form here. (It's free!) Also, you can reach me by mail at 1752 Driftwood Drive, El Centro, CA 92243, USA.
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