Category: Style

Varying Sentence Length

Help understanding how (& why!) to mix up the length of your sentences, keeping your reader a little more engaged and interested than otherwise.

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Varying Sentence Structure

Varying your sentences structure is an easy and fun skill to develop. You’ll help keep your reader involved (i.e. ‘awake’) and avoid monotony.

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Sentence Structure: Tag Questions

Tag questions are statements with questions attached at the end of them. Tag questions can be either real questions or confirmations of known information. These questions are used more frequently in spoken English, but they can be effective in writing as well.

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Started

You can start an engine, you can start a diet, and you can start a race, but try to avoid using words like “started,” “began,” or “almost” when describing simple activities. It can be confusing to the reader because it might not...

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Proceeded

An overreliance on the adverb “then” or on adverb phrases like “then proceeded” makes your writing sound less like skilled academic or creative writing and more like a police report. Police officers are notorious for writing in...

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Sentence Structure: For and Since

Use “for” and “since” with perfect tenses to talk about the duration of events which began in the past and continue until the reference point. Be careful to use the correct one for what you want to focus on: the length of time or the beginning.

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Numbers

Different style manuals have different rules that explain when to write out numbers and when to use numerals. If your instructor has designated a particular style guide (MLA, APA, or CMS) for the assignment, then follow the...

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Word Choice: Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency describe how often things occur, or how often we do things. These can be used as part of a hedging strategy, to describe frequency without having to use exact numbers. Learning to use indefinite adverbs appropriately is something that can be developed through extensive reading and listening.

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Clichés

You should try to avoid clichés in your writing like the plague. If your writing is thick as thieves with clichés that are as old as the hills, it will sound unoriginal and mark you as an inexperienced writer. But if you happen...

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Choosing the Right Words

Choosing the right word is often more complicated than translating, which often leads to issues of appropriacy. Translating without a clear understanding of vocabulary can lead to the use of words that are rare, obsolete, or belong to an inappropriate genre or register.

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Repetitive Writing

Repetition in writing can be useful, poignant, or poetic, but sometimes repeating something too many times can bore readers or make it seem like you ran out of things to write about. Here is an example of a good use of...

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How Can I Make My Sentences Clearer?

Sometimes sentences are unclear because they are ambiguous, and other times because they have too many words. Usually sentences will be clearer if they have fewer words. So as you edit and reread your work, try to take words out to make your writing clearer.

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Diction

In math, there can be more than one way to correctly solve an equation. Some might be easier or more difficult, but the most important thing is that you get the correct answer. For example, 2+2 and 1+1+1+1 and 2×2 and 22...

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