Common Writing Rules Worksheet
The Writing Craft
Anyone can write but not everyone can write well, with engaging content other people want to read. Great stories and ideas will fail to engage the reader if written poorly, with bad grammar. Competent writing takes practice and a lot of hard work. It is necessary that writers keep on top of their craft. Content is important but just as crucial is the way language is used. Writers who excel at their craft work beyond knowing the grammar conventions and following a particular style guide. They also:
- make smart word choices,
- have smooth flowing sentences,
- write in a straightforward, simple manner.
Writing For The On-Line Reader
The medium used in writing also makes a difference in how a writer approaches his/her craft. Reading on-line is very different from reading printed material. Reading from a computer screen can be a source of concentration problems:
- text can be more difficult to focus on,
- flashing ads, bright images can distract the reader from the content of an on-line article,
- because anyone can publish on the internet, there is a large amount of material which contains an abundance of spelling and grammar errors which is extremely distracting for the reader.
Therefore, on-line writing must use a much more simplified, straightforward approach in order to keep readings engaged and focused.
Common Grammar Errors To Avoid
Commas: strong writing has neither too few, nor too many.
Keep your verb tense consistent throughout your piece of writing.
Check your homophones, like their, they’re and there, because they will not be caught by your spell checker.
Watch your pronoun usage. Make sure you use a noun or name first to which your pronoun refers.
Make sure only proper nouns are capitalized.
Spell out the numbers zero through nine.
Do not use abbreviations.
Do not use double negatives.
Avoid sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
Proofread your writing to ensure correct spelling and grammar.
Elements Of Style To Watch For In Your Writing
- Avoid weak words such as very, really, and the verbs to be, to have, and to do by using more specific words.
- Write at a third to fifth grade level which will capture the widest audience possible.
- Always use a short word rather than a long one.
- Avoid using unnecessary words. Use only the words necessary to convey your intended meaning.
- Use the active voice not the passive voice. For example, use “The boy caught the football.” rather than, “The football was caught by the boy.”
- Avoid internet speak such as lol, bff.
- Avoid generalizations such as every, always, everyone.
- Keep your writing voice consistent— sarcastic, formal, or humorous—your followers will be looking for it.
- Do not use too conversational of a tone—”You know what I’m saying.”
Writing Rules To Follow For Better Web Content
- Keep paragraphs short and break the content into smaller chunks with descriptive headlines.
- Left justify paragraphs and leave one space in between paragraphs.
- Avoid using clichés, they are a distraction.
- Avoid using metaphors, similes or figures of speech.
- Avoid foreign phrases, scientific words and jargon words whenever possible.
- Avoid empty content by writing interesting, informative, articles your audience is likely to seek out.
- Include hyperlinks so your reader may research your topic further.
- Understand audience preferences. Science readers usually prefer formal writing while “How to” articles may be more informal.
- Format headlines properly by using a consistent format and capitalizing all words except conjunctions.
The quality of your writing is what will turn a one time visitor into a loyal reader. Pay close attention to your word usage and style. Always remember to carefully edit your writing, paying close attention to the checklists above. But remember, sometimes rules are made to be broken. There are instances when for reasons of style or flair, it is appropriate. Your best judgement is required at all times. Eventually, dedication to the writing process will pay off with a solid readership!