Writing to Suit Your Purpose

Making your writing work for your purpose is a large part of being a good written communicator. The language which you use is incredibly important – for example, you wouldn’t write a post-it note to a friend using the same tone as you’d use for an academic thesis. Here is some advice on the types of language you should use in various situations:

  1. Writing for a website. Use shorter sentences and ensure that the text is clear and concise. If you are selling a product ensure that your copy is direct and to the point.
  2. Writing to a potential employer. Write in a formal style, but don’t be afraid to let you personality come through. This will make your application memorable.
  3. Writing a blog. This will largely depend on what the blog post is about. If it is an entertaining lifestyle blog, you can make your tone informal and conversational. However, if you’re blogging for a serious website this tone of voice may not be appropriate.
  4. Writing a short story. Story writing is a highly creative process and you can use any kind of language you like. Just make sure that your meaning is clear to your readers.
  5. Writing an article. This kind of writing is usually used to inform people. Whatever the topic might be, ensure that you are descriptive whilst making the content interesting and drawing out any relevant or interesting points.

Writing to suit your purpose is largely about knowing your audience and making a judgement about what is appropriate. If you ever get stuck, imagine that you are talking to them directly and this will help you to craft an appropriate piece of writing for them.

Providing Good Written Feedback

If you work in an academic or business setting, it’s likely that you will have to give written feedback to students, employees and colleagues. There are certain ways of providing this feedback which will gain you better results, which will be discussed in this article.

Be concise. The more you write, the less likely people are to absorb it all. Consider using bullet points to break your comments down into easily-digestible chunks.

Don’t be over-critical. If you want to get the best out of people, adopt a positive tone and provide constructive criticism which offers a clear pathway to improvement.

Ensure that your writing is of a high quality. You need to ensure that pupils or employees have respect for you and in order to do this, you must establish yourself as a figure of authority. Being intelligent and eloquent is a big part of this, and it’s something which you can establish through your writing.

Finally, use your writing to make those around you better writers. If you identify grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, point them out and provide solutions going forward. Students and staff who are good communicators will be able to achieve more highly across the board.

The Importance of Using Correct Spelling

If words are spelt incorrectly, your writing isn’t going to flow. It will look messy, and in the worst case scenario, you might not be able to make yourself understood. It is therefore very important that you can spell properly, and if it isn’t your strong point, you should make an effort to improve. Here are some tips:

1.    Learn the different between words which sound the same, such as their, there and they’re. Identify the situations in which each one would be used – if you know the rules, you can make the right selection.
2.    Memorise simple spelling rules which can help you if you’re unsure. English can be a very inconsistent language, but there are some guidelines, such as ‘I before E, except after C’.
3.    Correctly write out some of the words which you struggle to spell, and put them in a prominent place such as on your desk at work or on your bedroom wall. If you see them regularly, they’ll subconsciously begin to stick in your mind.
4.    Make full use of spellcheckers, but if you’re ever unsure, double check in a dictionary. Spellcheckers are very valuable tools but they have their flaws.
5.    Make sure to use English spellings, not American ones. Many American words will be spelt with a z instead of an s and this can be a common trap to fall into. If you’re ever unsure, look in an English dictionary.

Creative Writing: Thinking Imaginatively

Creative writing can be great fun, and it’s a brilliant way to improve your general written English. If it’s something which you’re good at, you might even be able to make some money from it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s too late and that you should have started practising your creative writing years ago – anybody can enjoy this pastime and it can easily be worked around other commitments and hobbies.

There are numerous different types of creative writing which you could try your hand at. Maybe you’ve always enjoyed the language of poetry, or perhaps you love telling stories. Have a go at producing your own written versions – you might find that your pleasure in a subject has given you a good knowledge base and you take to it naturally.

Read as much as you can. The more time you spend around language, the better you will become at producing your own words. You’ll become familiar with constructions which work and will expand your vocabulary so that you’re able to write more fluently.

It’s not unusual to struggle at first, and don’t be disappointed if you do. Keep trying, and write whenever the mood takes you. Forcing yourself into it will only prove frustrating and the last thing you want to do is ruin your enjoyment of the creative process. You will get better over time and creative writing can develop into a rewarding craft for you.

Some Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing

Writing is of vital importance in everyday life and it plays a central role in our communication with others. Being able to express yourself well on paper/ via electronic means can serve you well in various situations. Some examples might include sending emails, contacting companies, applying for a job, keeping a blog, completing a course for work or further education, and many more. Here are some ways in which you can hone your skills in written English to improve your communication skills:

  1. Practice. It’s true that practice makes perfect, and by writing on a regular basis, you’re going to get better naturally.
  2. Pay close attention to spelling. Errors will stand out, so check any words you’re unsure of in a dictionary and proofread you work when you’re finished.
  3. Ask others to check your writing. They will be able to spot things which you might have missed yourself.
  4. Change your tone of voice depending on the situation. Writing to a friend will require a very different tone to writing to a manager.
  5. If you’re writing by hand, ensure that your letters are neat and legible. Don’t smudge the ink and don’t rush.
  6. Make use of spellcheck software if writing electronically. It will help you to pick out errors and will offer suggestions to correct them.

Structuring a Dissertation

A dissertation is likely to be one of the longest academic texts you will ever produce, and it will require extensive planning to ensure that your writing is structured, well-balanced and meaningful. If you allow yourself to get carried away and write too much without a solid plan in place, your work will come across as disorganised and important considerations may be left forgotten.

A dissertation is often around 10,000-15,000 words long and will be split up into several chapters. The number of chapters you choose to include will depend entirely on what you are writing about – your tutor will be able to help you when it comes to deciding upon an overall structure. You may also wish to include subchapters and appendices where appropriate to further categorise your writing.

Whilst you don’t necessarily need to have decided upon every single point which you’re going to cover, it is important to have an overall idea of the information which each chapter will include. Think up your chapter titles and write down some bullet points to outline the content of each one. You can play around with these as you go along, but this method will ensure that you don’t miss out any vital information.

Ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time for editing once you have completed the writing process. It might also be useful to ask someone else to proofread your work, as they will be able to spot things which are easy to miss when you’ve been working on a project for a long time. Knowing that you have enough editing time is important in keeping your stress levels down to a minimum, and it will allow you to produce the highest quality of work you possibly can.

Learning How to be a Better Writer

Being a good written communicator is very important for people from all walks of life. It can be beneficial in many different ways, helping you in your everyday life as well as at work. Here are some different ways to go about becoming a better writer:

  • Practice as much as you can. As with anything, your writing will improve the more you do it. You’ll start to be able to write more naturally, use more diverse vocabulary and work at a higher speed. People who are good at writing tend to have done a lot of it.
  • Learn the rules of grammar. Sometimes we know how grammar and punctuation should appear, but we’re not able to explain why. Learn the rules, and if you’re ever unsure about a grammatical construction in future, you’ll be able to work it out for yourself.
  • Consider your purpose and write content to fit it. You want your writing to convey your message well and get your point across. Establish an appropriate tone of voice and maintain it throughout.
  • Take a course. There are various different options available depending on your previous knowledge and qualifications, what you want to learn, how much you want to spend and how much time you have. Online options are becoming increasingly popular – you can even gain qualifications up to degree level through online learning.

Does the Use of Technology Hinder Children’s Language Skills?

The integration of multiple technological devices into everyday life poses a difficult problem for teachers. Many of these devices allow people to communicate across various platforms, meaning that children are frequently writing in non-formal situations which allow for colloquialisms and non-standard sentence constructions. How will this affect their ability to write accurately?

Using social media and messaging apps to correspond is an extremely informal mode of communication and the danger is that many people won’t be concerned with their spelling or grammar in these situations. It’s even possible to send images and emojis to convey meaning, giving the written content less function. This could be incredibly damaging for education.

On the other hand, it gives children the opportunity to practise their writing on a regular basis. It gears young people up for a world in which methods of communication are becoming far less formal, with workplaces regularly using email and instant messaging. Of course, this is slightly different to communication between friends as it’s more important for messages in the workplace to be written clearly and precisely.

The problem comes when children aren’t able to differentiate between formal and non-formal written English. It’s even more important than ever for young people to be given a good understanding of grammar so that they’re able to use it in the classroom and in their future careers. Smart phones and other devices can widen children’s learning opportunities in some instances, but if they play too central a role in the process of learning about writing, the ability to communicate in a variety of different situations will be filtered out.

Why is Writing Important for Career Development?

Having a good grasp of language as an essential life skill, and you should ensure that you can write effectively if you want to thrive in your career. Good written English will always come in useful and it will serve you well throughout your time in the workplace.

You are far less likely to secure a job in the first place if you aren’t able to write fluently. Initial applications tend to be in a written format such as a curriculum vitae and/ or covering letter, and you will need to pass this first stage before being invited to an interview. There will usually be lots of competition, so an eloquently written application will ensure that you stand out.

There are very few jobs where no writing will be required at all. Companies often communicate via email, so you’ll need to be confident in writing messages and making your meaning understood. If you’re in a client-facing role, there will also be written communication between yourself and your customers.

Writing skills in the workplace come in useful across a variety of areas. As well as letters and emails, you may also be required to write speeches or presentations, calling for diverse writing experience. Those who are able to adapt and produce versatile written work across the board will have plenty of opportunities to showcase this, and they’ll be able to sell themselves well in order to achieve promotions and career progression.

Writing an Email

It can sometimes be difficult to know how to write a good email message. It’s a much more informal method of communicating than writing a letter, but the situation may still call for a more formal tone of voice. Where do you draw the line?

As a general rule, it tends to be acceptable to being an email with ‘hi’, or ‘hello’ for a slightly more formal situation. For example, if you’re writing to someone to enquire about a job or to discuss a business matter and you aren’t sure of their title, this makes for a much less clumsy beginning than the traditional ‘dear sir/ madam’. It can be a far better way to begin building a relationship with someone as it makes you seem approachable. However, you may feel more comfortable using a traditional form of address in some circumstances, such as addressing a legal matter. Keep your tone consistent throughout the email and you won’t go far wrong. It might slightly incongruous to the receiver if you begin an email with ‘dear sir’ but end it with ‘cheers’.

The language which you use will convey a certain message about you, so make sure you choose to write in a way which you feel reflects you and is suitable for the situation. Using common sense is the best way to work out how to construct your emails appropriately. If you’re really unsure, search the internet to see if there are any conventions which you should be following or double check with a colleague.