Why writing concisely is really, really, really important (really!)

Posted by David Br. on 8/6/20 9:39 AM

“Omit needless words.” William Strunk, Jr. wrote this succinct mantra in The Elements of Style, the classic writing manual that was later amended to and published by E.B. White (it’s now commonly referred to as “Strunk and White”). He then wrote, “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” In other words, the thing needs to work.

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Tags: expository writing

6 Ways to Brainstorm More Effectively

Posted by Lauren D. on 7/31/20 10:31 AM

At its core, writing is about discovering and exploring relationships between words and ideas. Your brainstorming process can and should reflect that central goal from the very beginning of the writing process. Here are a series of investigative approaches to help you expose and explore these relationships:

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Tags: expository writing

Editing for parallelism: one writing lesson from the shortest literary form

Posted by Lucina S. on 7/30/20 6:35 PM

When I teach my students to become their own editors, I often tell them to be on the lookout for opportunities to use parallelism. Parallelism is the repetition of the same grammatical structure in successive parts of a sentence. (Grammatical structure is just a fancy way of saying some combination of nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech.)

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing

How to Copy-Edit Your Own Admissions Essay or Cover Letter (or Really, Anything)

Posted by Mariam R. on 7/24/20 11:00 AM

So, you’ve slaved over twelve or fifteen copies of your admissions essay or cover letter: it tells your story, and it sounds good, to boot. Big sigh of relief, crack your knuckles, a job well done. Right?

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Tags: expository writing, college admssions

Embracing the Messiness of Writing This Summer

Posted by Emily K. on 7/21/20 10:13 AM

The dawn of inspiration is such a lovely, romantic concept. Someone says something or a bird chirps in a funny way; you freeze in your tracks; you slowly intone, “…say that again.” You run to the nearest laptop, and you write down your masterpiece in the matter of hours to the sound of a swelling rock anthem.

Alas: if I only wrote my doctoral dissertation when I felt truly inspired to do so, I would probably have about five unrelated pages by now. Writers cannot rely on inspiration to drop in; instead, we have to find it in the messy process that is drafting. Luckily, the summer allows for even more time for writers to get our hands dirty.

Whether you’re working on a personal statement or academic essay, if you care about the end result, it’ll probably take multiple drafts to get it right. The upside of that is that the more drafts you write, the lower the stakes will be for any individual draft. The trick to making the summer work for you is to be diligent about making time for writing but relaxed and experimental with your process. You’ve got time to play around, so use it! It’s less about what you put on the page on any given day and more about keeping your goals in mind.

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Tags: expository writing

8 Steps Toward Writing an Effective Research Paper in Any Discipline

Posted by Kristen S. on 7/6/20 9:18 AM

You have just been assigned a paper, and you don’t know what you want to write about or where to start. We’ve all been there.

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Tags: expository writing

Tone and mood

Posted by Vidya R. on 4/8/20 11:00 AM

When attempting an analysis of a text for the IBDP English course, some of the advanced features that students have to understand concern tone and mood. It is customary to associate tone with dialogue and speech, and mood with the setting of novels. However, tone and mood are not just features of fiction and can also be found in non-fictional texts such as media texts, popular scientific articles and so on. They are inherent attributes of language.

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Tags: creative writing, English, expository writing

How to Craft a Successful Curriculum Vitae

Posted by Olivia F. on 3/2/20 10:11 AM

Like a firm handshake or a greeting, a CV can oftentimes serve as a first impression – a way for prospective employer to get a sense of you at a glance. CVs oftentimes are gatekeepers for an interview, and as such, are extremely important. It is worth it to take some time to think critically about your CV’s structure and content. Read the following simple and actionable steps to craft one of your own!

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing

Two common grammatical mistakes to avoid in polished writing

Posted by Becca R. on 2/3/20 11:00 AM

There are no hard and fast rules in writing. But even if an experimental poet or an avant-garde novelist has dispensed with capitalization or written an entire novel without the letter E (yes, a novel like this really exists!), this does not mean that you should follow suit. Your personal statement is not the place to defy the conventions of grammar. Instead, it is the place to display your knowledge of even the most obscure rules—the rules that others often break. If you can keep from making these two common errors, your writing will stand out.

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing

Writing: Knowing Your Audience

Posted by Jon Kenneth W. on 1/31/20 11:00 AM

“Where do I even begin?” is probably the most common question students ask me about writing—and understandably so! Many writing projects can seem almost impossible to visualize, much less to get started on. So what to do when facing that blank screen?

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing