In our digital world, we all need good writing skills to communicate effectively the ideas, information, opinions, dreams and facts we want to convey in our private and professional lives.
Good writing skills help build stronger relationships and provide the pathway to achieving greater academic or professional success.
The activities on this page will help you improve your writing skills so that whatever your aim may be – informing, explaining, describing, persuading – you can communicate more clearly and more effectively achieve the desired impact on your reader.
One way of ensuring your writing is clear and precise is to quickly proofread your text before you make it available to others. A quick check of the following should ensure that your writing sounds professional and that you communicate your message effectively:
- spelling – Did you run a spell check?
- grammar – Is the language correct?
- word choice – Have you checked the meaning of the vocabulary?
- syntax – Are your sentences correct and clear?
- paragraphing – Are your paragraphs cohesively constructed?
- clarity – Is your text easy to follow?
- punctuation – Have you used commas (,), full stops (.), etc. correctly?
- register – have you used the right level of formality?
Use this quiz to practise identifying and correcting some common errors.
Click on Explanations to learn more about these writing errors.
These explanations should help you avoid making similar mistakes.
- Original: I will give details of the processes, including, for example, how are they reduce our personell costs.
Correction: I will give details of the processes, including, for example, how they reduce our personnel costs.
Explanation: Spelling mistakes like this can be avoided by using a spell checker. Applications such as Grammarly can be very useful.
- Original: In the beginning I would like to describe the company's latest project.
Correction: First, I would like to describe the company's latest project.
Explanation: The phrase 'in the beginning' isn't used for sequencing. Rather, when indicating the order in which things happen, 'first' or 'firstly' are used to begin the sequence.
- Original: My company expands cyber insurance.
Correction: My company is expanding its range of cyber insurance cover.
Explanation: The present progressive verb tense (is expanding) is better here because the company is doing this at the moment. Notice too, the addition of 'its range' and 'cover' to make the sentence more explicit and easier to follow.
- Original: I shortly want to describe the company structure of Magontec Ltd.
Correction: I would like to briefly describe the company structure of Magontec Ltd.
Explanation: The choice of 'shortly' is incorrect because it means 'soon' and not 'using few words', which is what the writer wants to say.
- Original: I work for a company who repairs old presses and machines.
Correction: I work for a company that repairs old presses and machines.
Explanation: The choice of relative pronoun is incorrect: ’who’ is for people, ‘which’ or ‘that’ are for things, while ’that’ can also be used for people.
- Original: Next, I would like to explain which demands the bank has towards her customers.
Correction: Next, I would like to explain what the bank requires from its customers.
Explanation: Firstly, the choice of the verb 'demand' is not suitable as it used to describe very firm requests, whereas ‘require’ expresses the idea of what is necessary. Secondly, the pronoun 'its' is needed because banks are 'things' and so have no gender.
- Original: The process of lending a credit is quite simple.
Correction: The process of granting a loan is quite simple.
Explanation: The noun 'credit' in English is uncountable and the verb 'grant' collocates' with 'loan'.
- Original: I am working in the metal department of a company, which produces car components.
Correction: I work in the metal department of a company which produces car components.
Explanation: The present simple verb tense (work) is better here because the person is referring to their permanent position in the company. Notice too, that the comma needs to be removed because the relative clause 'which produces car components' is defining the company.
- Original: Producing monthly accounts is one of the main tasks of my everyday work.
Correction: Producing monthly accounts is one of the main tasks in my daily work.
Explanation: Prepositions can be tricky, and here 'in' fits better with 'my work'. There's not a big difference between 'everyday' and 'daily' but if the idea is that something happens every day, then 'daily' is the better choice.
- Original: The team members are responsible to analyse the current working processes and consider ways of improving them.
Correction: The team members are responsible for analysing the current working processes and for considering ways of improving them.
Explanation: The verb is 'to be responsible for something'. So the verb after 'for' needs to be in the -ing form (analysing). Notice too, the repetition of 'for' in 'and for considering'.
You can find more on proofreading here: Common academic writing errors.
Cause and effect
In this activity, you can practise using phrases to link cause and effect.
Choose the correct option to complete each sentence.
Choose one of these cause and effect linking devices to complete each sentence. Check that your choice is grammatically correct.
- due to
- result from
- as a consequence of
- result in
- lead to
- mean that
- with the result that
- give rise to
Click on Explanations to make a note of these useful phrases for linking cause and effect.
Make a note of the phrases used to link cause and effect:
|To introduce causes||To introduce effects|
Remember that the sentence structure is different depending on which linking phrase you use.
|Linking phrases||Example sentences|
|due to||Our staff can concentrate better due to the quiet work areas we have provided.|
|result from||Our staff concentrating better results from the quiet work areas we have provided.|
|as a consequence of||As a consequence of the quiet work areas we have provided, our staff can concentrate better.|
give rise to
|A better work-life balance can result in / lead to / give rise to more job satisfaction for employees.|
|mean that||Having less office space means that the company has lower costs.|
|with the result that||There is less office space, with the result that the company has lower costs.|
Hook & Eye writing technique
In this activity, you can reconstruct a paragraph that has been written using the Hook & Eye writing technique.
More activities to follow.