10 simple (but hard) rules for writing

I have recently been investigating how to advertise better.  One of the sites I am now following shared a great list of rules for “ad copy” writers. It will work equally well for developing your writing skills in English.

The link to get a better image is here: http://www.copyblogger.com/10-steps-to-better-writing/

 

PS I double dare you to click on the heart below.

teachers directory

Grade Your Writing – Free!

I just came across a little known site called “PaperRater”  http://www.paperrater.com/free_paper_grader It is a wonderful start-up that has almost zero readership.  I hope that this humble posting will improve his following. (Oops, I assumed it is a him, I am such a chauvinist ;-) )

Anyway, most of you know that I am a great Spoken English coach.  But I am less than average when it come to grammar and writing skills.  I was looking for sites that would give me some tools to help students in our upcoming writing workshop called “Eseel” linked HERE.  Truthfully, I was tempted to not share this site with you guys.  I am a bit embarrassed by my grammar skills and this would definitely make me, or any teacher, look impressive.  The reports are great, if a bit canned.  They are also machine generated so it is a very limited tool when it comes to creative writing.  For the ESL learner this limitation would be minimal.  The main functions and tests performed by the software is great for normal ESL students.

My test was simply to take a recent blog page written for an upcoming class and submit it for grading.  I probably would not have shared it if I had done badly. Fortunately I got a grade of “B”.  Here is the blog page I submitted:

http://myeslfriends.com/wordpress/edupunk-english/public-speaking/

I chose to have the paper graded as a college (undergraduate) level student.  I had trouble deciding on the paper category but went with business correspondence.  As I am not trying to find the limits of the program, I did not do several trials. I also chose to do the longer evaluation by checking the originality detection.  The following reports were generated in less than 1 second.  The last item is the full report.

As a student this tool would be great.  For teachers, this could take a lot of the pressure off by letting this program do the first iteration of evaluation.  I am sure that this start-up should be encouraged.  Please consider visiting his site and using the FEEDBACK button located on the right side of the page.

Or, here is a great idea…  GRADE YOUR TEACHER!  Get a sample of their writing (class description, homework assignment, example of narrative, etc.) submit it and then share your findings with him.  On second thought, better not.  This could be a boon to many at the perfect price, FREE.

This and all things Edupunk can be found on my blog here: www.myESLfriends.com

 

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ESL writing toolbox

To hell with SEO, this will help you write better English

Want to write short stories? Want to communicate clearly and consicely? Want to be succesful in 21st Century communications?  Want to be an “ad copy” pro for self marketing?  Are ya ready for the answer… start blogging!

Our friend Andre Klein of LEARNOUTLIVE recently wrote an SEO article on his blog HERE .  I do very well without jumping through the SEO hoops.  Mind you, it is good to know some basics and not hurt your SEO rating by being minimally aware of some basics. However, I am of the “organic” school of blogging for getting attention of the search engines and therefore my audience of English learners.  This entails being customer oriented and sincerely trying to write to people like I would want to be written to.  This natural approach is “the higher ground” and is sustainable over always trying to outwit the spiders and purer in that I do not feel like I am trying to manipulate readership.

His article covers some good basics.  I would only add one free tool I use which is an advanced spell checker with grammatical suggestions also.  It is a plugin called “After the Deadline” and is sweet if I can just remember to use it ;-)   You would do well to review the article (linked above) and follow Andrea for his very practical advice.

Now to the point of this posting.  If you are trying to write almost any type of composition this tool will improve your writing.  Whether a blogger, a technical doc or anything.  Almost everything we do now can be expected to show up online and we want to reach and be understood by a world audience.  I am not a writing coach (except the Eseel writer’s workshop) so will not try to argue my case in an academic sense. You can evaluate it for that.  I just want to show you a few captures of the output of the plugin after writing a post.

First the Readability Index

This lets you know how understandable your content is.  Do not underestimate the problems with using big words when your true purpose is to be understood.

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Second the Key Word count

This reminds you of what your intended focus was supposed to be and possibly more importantly, what you actually emphasized by word frequency.

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Finally complex words used in context

A quick and clear representation of how you actually might be confusing your audience ( and hence the search engines) by using geeky or obscure words.

You can continue to follow the false premise that bigger words impart better English.  Heck, I am prone to using three big and fancy words when one simple one will do all the time.  However, if you truly wish to communicate and maximise the chances of being understood, this tool can become an excellent conscience for your writing. The simple and poetic usage of English is the “road less traveled” but it is worthy of your careful consideration.

I am now going to run the program and highlight the complex words so you can see just how much of a hypocrite I am.  But I do now have a clear choice about how this posting can be simplified and possibly be better understood.

OOPS! I almost forgot to give you the link to it :0

http://www.copycompass.co.za/ or you can go to your plugin page on wordpress and search for “copy compass”.

PS I am serious! Follow my personal trainer for do-it-yourself online business, Andre here: http://learnoutlive.com/

PPS The orginal posting for this and all radical approaches to online learning can be found here: http://myeslfriends.com/wordpress/2012/01/14/esl-writing-toolbox/