Ray LeCara Jr.​

WRITING RESOURCES

ENGLISH GRAMMAR 101


An amazing site because of its breadth and scope.  Whether you're reinforcing skills that have long become rusty or learning such skills anew, this site is worth checking out.  Twelve sections broken up as follows to address the various grammatical areas to help you become a stronger writer and reader.
 
  • Nouns
  • Pronouns                                                                
  • Verbs                                                              
  • Sentence Parts                                                           
  • Modifiers: Adjectives/Adverbs                                                            
  • Prepositions                                                              
  • Conjunctions/Interjections                                                            
  • Verbals/Phrases                                                          
  • Clauses                                                          
  • Capitalization                                                              
  • Punctuation                                                              
  • Troublesome Words (i.e. homophones)          

ARTICULATE YOUR MESSAGE:
idioms | euphemisms | colloquialisms


According to George Orwell, author of  1984 and "Politics of the English Language," too many writers, through their use of "stale" and overused words and phrases, are not exerting much effort in articulating their overall message.  Such writing, he opined, is  lazy and presents meanings that are, at best, vague and ambiguous.
 
Be mindful of the following in your writing.  Click on the terms below to visit sites that offer lists and explanations of each.
 
IDIOMS: with thousands of these phrases in the English language, it is difficult to avoid them in speech and writing.  Understanding that they have a figurative meaning that is far removed from their literal meaning is important when it comes to formal writing.  
 
EUPHEMISMS: words and expressions used in place of otherwise offensive or unpalatable words, actions, or events.  Orwell points out a problem with this, however. Considering euphemisms can connote an entirely different meaning, the ability to communicate an effective message is thus muddled by the use of euphemisms.  Worse yet, such terms can be used to desensitize, generalize, or marginalize topics best not sanitiazed.
 
COLLOQUIALISMS: Why should formal writers be concerned with colloquialisms? Because such words are more associative with dialect, or the use of informal language from a specific geographical location used predomonitaly in speech, their meaning can be misconstrued.  Academic writing must conform to a more rigid, formalized style of prose that is distinct from verbal communication.
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FREE SPELL CHECKER


There exists many sites to check your grammar and spelling, some free, some fee-based. SPELLCHECKPLUS.COM is one source writers can use to check their work, though its free version limits users to checking essays one paragraph at a time. 

Grammarly, another grammar and spelling proofing tool, can now be installed to work within your browser... for FREE! 

THESIS CREATOR


Still having trouble writing a thesis statement?   Look no further!

ACADEMIC PHRASEBANK


Tired of your teachers or professors ripping apart your essays because of overused or repetitive words and phrases?  Are you frustrated because you're unsure how to phrase statements in your introduction, conclusion, or body paragraphs?  The Holy Grail of phrases is now available online.

Check it out here .

Oh, and you're welcome!  :-)  

OXFORD GRAMMAR PRACTICE


Available through Oxford University Press, this site is incredible!  Here's why: it offers exercises to help you catch errors in writing through a series of Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced reading/writing exercises.  There's a series of exercies on inserting the proper words into sentences and and even one set dealing with irregular verbs.  

Ever wonder about your listening and speaking skills?  The ability to effectively communicate in today's society is an invaluable skill.  Such communication is not just valued in writing, but in speaking as well.  The Oxford University Press includes a set of exercises that addresses just that. That's right!  You can improve your speaking skills by listening, reading, and then repeating what you hear and see.

ONLINE CITATION GUIDES


Check out this site for a comprehensive explanation of MLA Style Citation Guidelines.

Trying to differentiate between various citation styles can be difficult.  For info on APA Style Citation Guidelines, give this site a lookover.

Whether you're using MLA or APA style citations, you can automatically assemble your citations using this powerful tool .  Additional features include in-text citation assitance.