7 Ways To Write “And” In Short Form
Learning how to write in short form is a skill. It takes time, but it’s certainly doable. This article will look at some good choices for writing “and” in short form. It’s a common word, so the more options we can provide to avoid repeating it, the better!
How Can I Write “And” In Short Form?
There are a few great examples of “and” in the short form. Some of them, you might even be familiar with. Why not check out some of the best ones here:
- Whatever you want
The preferred version is “&” (ampersand). It works well because everyone recognizes the ampersand symbol and knows how to interpret it. Therefore, it’s a really easy one to remember to use correctly when writing in short form, and anyone will understand what you mean.
“&” is the most universally recognized symbol for “and.” It works well when we want to write in the short form because everyone will be able to make sense of it. If you are planning on sharing your notes with others, this is your best bet to help them understand it.
It’s not always common for short-form notes to be shared. Usually, we are the only people who read them after we’ve taken the notes. However, if you are likely to share your notes, we recommend the ampersand because everyone knows that it means “and.”
Also, it’s a fairly quick symbol to create with a pen. While it might look a little wavy and difficult to create at first, it’s really simple to create it with one brush stroke.
You should test it by first doodling an ampersand and then writing “and” on a piece of paper. You will notice that the ampersand is a lot quicker to complete than “and,” which is what also makes it such a powerful choice for writing in the short form.
- Jack & Joseph will be arriving at 6 later tonight or tomorrow, depending on event finish time.
- Boss & supervisor want meeting at 3. Will attend office ready for that time.
- Friday & Saturday have booked time off. Will enjoy that time away from work.
“N” is a one-letter option we can use to replace “and.” We use “N” because it closely resembles the sound that you make when saying “and” (since the “N” is an important letter when pronouncing it).
Using one letter instead of three is a great way to shorten your writing. Since “N” and “and” are so similar, many short-form writers like to stick to this letter usage whenever they’re showing that multiple things should be put into the same group.
Remember, the whole point of the short form is to save you time when taking notes. It’s also to help you look back on your notes and remember what you were writing at the time.
Since “N” is already recognized as an “and” form, we can always rely on remembering what we meant. It’s a great short-form choice for this reason.
Also, it’s entirely up to the writer whether they want to capitalize the letter or not. Some people like to capitalize it to make it stand out, while others like to write it in the lower case because it’s quicker to write.
- Michelle N Rodrigo are up to no good again.
- Tom N Jenkins need to go to the store later tonight
- Cat n dog both out of food, so should get some later.
“‘N'” is an extension of the one we explained previously. You might notice that the letter “N” is still used here. However, we’ve also included apostrophes on either side to really highlight that “N” is different from the rest of the sentence.
For some people, this inclusion of extra apostrophes is unnecessary. After all, the whole point of writing in the short form is that it should be quicker and easier to write.
‘N’ and “and” have the same amount of characters (three), so there isn’t anything that shows that ‘N’ will be quicker. However, it’s a stylistic choice. If you like to include the apostrophes to get it to stand out, there should be no reason why you can’t.
- Rock ‘n’ roll date underway.
- Friday ‘n’ Tuesday booked in for spa day.
- Football ‘n’ hockey nights have been set to record.
“+” is one of the most popular short-form choices for replacing “and.” Many people use the plus sign whenever they can because it’s one of the more obvious ways to show that two or more things should be grouped together.
The symbol originates from mathematical equations. You are probably already familiar with using plus signs to add things up. Well, the same idea applies when you write plus signs in the short form.
However, this time, instead of adding numbers together, you’re adding words, people, or things. The plus sign helps to group those things up into values that matter and allows you to refer back to your short-form when needed.
The best part about writing in the short form is that you are typically the only person who needs to read it. As we’ve already stated, as long as you know what you’re using the symbols for, there’s no reason why you can’t choose whatever one you want.
- Company director + chair want meeting with big boss on Friday.
- Friday + Monday need to be in office to make sure ready for the presentation.
- Interview + date on same day, so can recycle the clothes you wear for both occasions.
Next, we want to go over the slash. It’s not one of the most common options, but we think it’s still beneficial. Some short-form writers swear by the slash, which is why we included it.
“/” allows us to break up two different objects in a sentence. While some people might think the “/” means “or,” others like to use it as both “and” and “or,” depending on the context.
If you’re writing short form that you know other people will be reading, perhaps it’s best to avoid using the forward-slash symbol. However, if you are the only person reading your short form and you know what the slash is for, you can use it to replace “and.”
Since many people only write in the short form for their own sakes (i.e. to help them take notes of a class or presentation), they are the only people who need to understand what they’ve written. That’s why slashes work well, so long as you’re the audience.
If you ever show your short-form notes to other people, you might cause a bit of confusion.
- Steve / Marcus wanted to have a holiday in the Spring.
- Pythag / Newton both have designed something I’m supposed to know about in school today.
- Teachers / students want to gather in the playground to have a soccer match for lunchtime.
We want to touch on “et.” It’s not the best option, which is why we put it last. However, some people like to use it.
“Et” is the Latin form of “and.” It’s commonly seen in other Latin phrases like “et al.,” but we rarely use it as the short form of “and.” However, some people like to use Latin forms like this (and it is still one letter shorter than “and”).
The idea of writing in short form is to make it quicker to write. “Et” is a much quicker word to write down than “and.” In fact, you should give it a try on a piece of paper in front of you.
Since short form developed from notepads, it is much more common to write with a pen, and “et” is much quicker to complete than “and.”
While some people might find “et” to be pretentious because of its Latin roots, there’s nothing wrong with using it if you like it. Some people simply do not like to use symbols.
- Tom et Callie will be coming to party tonight at 3.
- He et she will be there. Make sure there is room for both to arrive.
- They et co. have decided to make it a gathering for the masses.
Whatever You Want
Okay, this last one is a bit outlandish, but stick with us. Since most people write in short form to help them take notes, they tend to be the only people who will read it.
Therefore, you can technically use whatever symbol, letter, or word you want to replace “and.” As long as it’s shorter than “and,” and you know what it means when you read it back, you can use anything.
The whole point of the short form is to allow you to look back on your notes and decipher them when it matters. It’s wise to keep the same letter, symbol, or word throughout your short-form writing if you’re going to make up your own.
You might end up confusing yourself more if you have multiple different symbols that all mean the same thing. So, if you’re going to use whatever you want to use, make sure it stays consistent at the very least!
You may also like: When Should I Use “&” vs. “And”? Easy Ampersand Guide
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here .
- Space Before and After Slash? (APA vs. Chicago Style)
- When Should I Use “&” vs. “And”? Easy Ampersand Guide
- “Quicker” vs. “Faster” – Difference Explained (+Examples)
- What Does / Mean? Complete Explanation (With Examples)
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– 14 min read
How to write better: a quick-start guide for anyone and everyone
Just about everyone knows how to write — but writing well is something different. Great writers are formed through hard work and a passion for learning. But just like you, they all started from the beginning.
Problem is, a lot of “start writing well’ articles focus on the result. But good writing begins before you tippity-tap on that keyboard. Studying everyday practices, learning how to organize your thoughts, and then turning those ideas into effective writing should be your priority.
Whether you’re a blogger , an SEO writer, a marketer, or want to be the next Stephen King, these universal writing tips give you lots of ways to write better.
15 writing tips to help you write better
1. think before you start writing.
One of the best writing tips for beginners is organizing your thoughts in a logical, explainable manner before putting pen on paper. The biggest hurdle is often not knowing how to begin or what to say—everything is a jumble of ideas that probably look like a bunch of paint thrown against a wall (and not in an artistic way). It can be very frustrating.
Note: THIS IS NORMAL. Don’t get discouraged. There’s a reason the phrase “writer’s block” exists. Let yourself think about it for a day or two, especially if you’re doing creative writing. You’ll be surprised at how that paint blob slowly transforms into a recognizable shape.
2. Embrace the writing “brain dump”
In business writing , the “brain dump” signals the beginning of every new project or assignment. It’s the opportunity to get whatever is in your head out on digital paper in a stream of consciousness.
Avoid correcting misspellings, typos, sentence structure, or grammar—just type, type, type until your brain excavates all musings. You can use this creative writing skill for all kinds of work, from personal blogging and copywriting to essays and work emails.
Remember that at this phase of writing: bad ideas don’t exist. Your best creative ideas will come when you’re not held back by perfectionism.
3. Make an outline
Now that you have all your wonderful, messy thoughts on paper, it’s time to get more granular and organized. Some tips on how to edit your brain dump: do a first pass and delete the parts that are definite “nos.” Then go through again and highlight the ideas you like best. Revisit the “maybes” later.
Now, take your favorites and as briefly or as detailed as you like, make an outline that conveys your message. Start top-level with your biggest, overarching ideas, and then get into the details. Fill in missing parts, elaborate on other parts—rinse and repeat until satisfied.
4. Know your audience
This is a straightforward writing tip for beginners, but a lot of people forget it. For example, your voice and elements of style for personal blogging will be much more informal than business writing (i.e writing a proposal for a new client). Being mindful of your audience is key to improving writing skills and creating more impactful work.
5. Keep a journal
Being a better writer means writing more! Keeping a journal should be a very low-pressure thing. It can be as simple as writing a list of things you did that day, playing around with word choice for a LinkedIn headline, or recounting a conversation you had with a friend.
If you don’t want to keep a physical journal, you can start a note on your phone or a document on your computer. The point is—there are no journaling rules. Just start writing whenever you feel like it, because the more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you.
6. Pen a letter instead of texting
Great writers write letters for fun and for practice. Pen a letter (or an email) to a friend who lives in another city. A hundred years ago, people wrote long letters detailing everything from the mundane to faraway travel. Why not now? It’s the perfect way to get your creative writing juices flowing, rather than relying on boring texts.
Remember to check spelling, comma use, sentence structure, typos, etc. Your friends deserve good writing too. Spell-check is a nice starting point, but writing well happens when you use a reputable grammar or punctuation checker tool like Writer to support you.
7. Read more to do better writing
One of the best, passive ways of becoming a better writer is to read a book (Stephen King’s work makes for great binge reading). Not into books? Long-form business writing, graphic novels, or short stories do the trick as well.
Reading every day puts you in the fast lane for improving your writing skills. As Roz Morris , the author of the bestseller book, Nail Your Novel , puts it: “Reading exposes us to writing that’s better than our own and helps us to improve. Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you.”
By reading more, your brain will naturally pick up on things like good word choice, different writing styles, and good sentence structures. It also improves your reading comprehension and concentration levels (which comes in handy for the procrastinators among us, including me).
8. Keep your writing simple
As the legendary American novelist, Jack Kerouac, once said, “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
One big misconception about writing is that it should be full of beautiful prose and impressive words. Wrong! Sure, I can use the word 'floccinaucinihilipilification,' but most people will just think my cat walked across my keyboard. Click To Tweet
No matter who they are, you should empower readers with your words. Complex writing can leave readers feeling insecure, weary, or both. To simplify your writing:
- Replace adverbs with more powerful verbs (e.g. she talked quietly > she whispered)
- Get rid of unnecessary adjectives
- Opt for simple word choice
- Delete fluff (e.g. instead of saying “in order to”, say “to”)
Go ahead and make use of a thesaurus, but don’t try to be a Shakespeare or even an Ernest Hemingway—just keep it simple and true to yourself.
9. Tone up your tone in writing
Getting tone right is key to being a good writer. It’s the personality of your writing, influenced by the type of writing you’re doing and who you’re talking to.
Just like we said in “Know Your Audience,” business writing like an email might sound conservative, while a personal social media post can be friendly and casual. Your tone can and should change depending on your needs. An extreme example: don’t start a cover letter with: “Hey, dude! Wassup?”
10. Prioritize your key points
If you want to learn how to write good, sentence structure and word placement is everything. If you have a question to ask, don’t put it in the middle of a paragraph, because it could get skipped over. Similarly, if you have an important piece of information to share, make it into its own paragraph or strategically place it in the introduction or conclusion—the sections readers tend to pay attention to the most.
11. Break up your writing into bite-size bits
Long sentences that are full of fluff are boring to read! Like staring directly at the sun—you just have to look away. Instead of creating a heavy block of text, break down large sections of information into concise, punchy sentences. Bullet points in particular are an amazing tool. They help you:
- Communicate information effectively and quickly
- Emphasize important points that are more easily remembered
- Provide easily digestible information to the reader
(See? They come in handy) AI writing software like Writer can help you be a better writer by identifying paragraphs that are hard to read.
12. Use active voice
Once you’re comfortable with sentence structure, punctuation and comma use, and word choice, it’s time to look at elements of style. One core element is passive voice vs. active voice.
An active voice is key for effective writing. It makes for a much more engaging read, conveying a strong and clear tone. Whereas passive voice pulls you away from the action, which can create an apathetic experience.
Here’s an example:
- Active voice: The thief stole one million dollars (subject + verb + object).
- Passive voice: One million dollars was stolen by the thief (object + past participle + subject).
See how in the first sentence, the subject performs the action? This eliminates extra processing time by getting to the point faster, unlike the passive voice example which puts the subject at the end of the sentence.
13. Edit (then edit again)
Now that you’ve overcome writer’s block and have the first draft, it’s time to move on to the editing process. Chances are, you’re not a professional editor, but that doesn’t matter—you can do a great job on your own. First, don’t edit immediately after writing. You want fresh eyes on that baby. Revisit it the next day and it will be easier to look for:
- unnecessary words (like adverbs and adjectives)
- long sentences that can be shortened
- passive voice use
At this phase, don’t worry about grammatical errors. Right now, you’re editing for clarity of your ideas and thoughts.
14. Proof your writing
Proofreading is where you check spelling, punctuation (i.e. comma use), run-on sentences, typos … you get the picture. Spell-check is a good starting point, a reputable grammar checker tool like Writer gives you advanced support.
Whenever possible, ask a real human to read your writing. They’ll likely be able to point out any writing mistakes and even offer suggestions. Over time, the lessons you learn from using these tools will help you become a great writer.
15. Reflect on your main point
We’ve made it to the very end. You’ve taken your idea and found many words to make into numerous sentences that communicate your intended message… or did you?
The last step is to always take an objective look at your writing. Pretend you’re a total stranger. Now ask yourself—does the narration make logical sense? Can you read it once and understand its message? Even better, can you sum it up in a few sentences? If so, you’ve written something you can feel good about.
8 exercises to improve writing skills
Here are fun activities you can do every day to become a better writer.
1. Write every day
This is the best writing tip for beginners. Write like it’s your job. Practicing every day is key to learning how to write good. It helps you stretch those writing muscles and learn from doing. Keeping a journal with you at all times also means you can write whenever inspiration strikes, like when you’re walking your fave four-legged friend.
Write every day, and you’ll turn it into a habit. That doesn’t mean you have to write ten thousand words every day, as the author of the children’s novel, See You in the Cosmos , Jack Cheng says:
“When mastery is the goal, spending an exorbitant number of hours in one sitting will likely lead to burnout. We don’t go to the gym expecting to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single, day-long workout. Instead, we do several short workouts a week, spread out over months.”
2. Turn long paragraphs into bullet points
Want to learn how to write better sentences? Sentences that are easy to read and get to the point right away? Practice the art of brevity by chopping up hard-to-read paragraphs into succinct bullets.
This is especially useful for business writing because your readers are likely short on time. They want you to get to the point fast! And they want easy to digest information.
There is a place for long sentences in your work though, especially when it comes to creative writing. Writology has a great guide on this full of ace writing tips for beginners.
3. Change passive voice into active voice
A little recap on passive and active voice: Active voice is when the sentence starts with the subject acting on the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is a recipient of the verb’s action. Active voice is more engaging because it takes less processing time from the reader, and also gives the impression that the action is happening now, not in the past.
Use an AI writing platform like Writer to spot unengaging instances of passive voice and transform them into the active voice. This will help you draw readers in and make your writing easier to read.
4. Use grammar checker tools like Writer
Use a grammar checker like Writer helps you spot mistakes you may have missed. Mistakes such as misused commas, spelling errors, typos, incorrect use of words (we’re looking at you, thesaurus lovers), etc. Writer is also ideal for business writing. You can submit your company style guide and the app will measure your written work against it to ensure consistent and on-brand content.
5. Proof your friend’s or colleague’s writing
One effective way to improve writing skills: Proofreading other people’s content. You can pick up on common grammar mistakes , different sentence structures, new words, word placement – everything that you might not learn from your own writing. It’s about getting a fresh perspective on all the different ways language is used.
Bonus: you get all the good feelings for helping someone out. And they might even return the favor one day!
6. Write fanfiction
Improve your creative writing skills by writing about stories and characters you love. Why? The more passionate you are about what you’re writing, the more fun and engaging it will be to read. Because you’ll naturally inject your love of the subject into your work. Plus, you can ensure your favorite novels or short stories live on through that amazing imagination of yours! It’s also a great place to start if your idea bank is running on empty, giving you the inspiration and direction needed to write freely.
7. Read out loud
Sometimes you can’t tell if a word or phrase doesn’t work until you read it out loud. Same with spotting mistakes. This is especially true if you’ve read your work over a hundred times (hello fellow perfectionists). Your brain will find it more and more difficult to spot mistakes – reading out loud can fix this!
When you read out loud, it requires you to slow down and focus on every single word that you’re saying, so that it can make its way from your brain to your mouth. When we proofread inwardly, we tend to rush through things and don’t actually read the text properly.
That’s because our brain already has a version of the content embedded and it wants to concentrate on the meaning rather than the words. As psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos at the University of Sheffield in the UK, says : “We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.”
8. Read books on how to write better
These books on how to write better are simple, easy to read, and full of valuable info.
- Everybody Writes by Ann Handley – for business writing, marketing, and blogging
- On Writing by Stephen King – for writing novels and improving your creative writing skills
- Write Tight by William Brohaugh – for business and creative writing, with lots of writing tips for beginners
- The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker – for writing novels, letters and understanding the sciences of mind when it comes to language
- You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins – for business writers with great writing tips for beginners
- Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris – for budding novelists who want to polish their first draft or write a book
That’s your next vacation reading list sorted!
Now you can write better
It’s time to unleash your amazing writing skills and creativity! Got a friend who also wants to learn how to write well? Share the tips you’ve learned today. By teaching them, you’ll embed them further into your wonderful brain.
Write with clarity and confidence when using Writer. Sign up for your free trial .
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May Habib CEO, Writer.com
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A (Very) Simple Way to Improve Your Writing
- Mark Rennella
It’s called the “one-idea rule” — and any level of writer can use it.
The “one idea” rule is a simple concept that can help you sharpen your writing, persuade others by presenting your argument in a clear, concise, and engaging way. What exactly does the rule say?
- Every component of a successful piece of writing should express only one idea.
- In persuasive writing, your “one idea” is often the argument or belief you are presenting to the reader. Once you identify what that argument is, the “one-idea rule” can help you develop, revise, and connect the various components of your writing.
- For instance, let’s say you’re writing an essay. There are three components you will be working with throughout your piece: the title, the paragraphs, and the sentences.
- Each of these parts should be dedicated to just one idea. The ideas are not identical, of course, but they’re all related. If done correctly, the smaller ideas (in sentences) all build (in paragraphs) to support the main point (suggested in the title).
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
Most advice about writing looks like a long laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” These lists can be helpful from time to time, but they’re hard to remember … and, therefore, hard to depend on when you’re having trouble putting your thoughts to paper. During my time in academia, teaching composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I saw many people struggle with this.
- MR Mark Rennella is Associate Editor at HBP and has published two books, Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Leaders and The Boston Cosmopolitans .
Learning to write is a process, one that requires consistent hard work and determination—and perhaps some magic! But, as with any other skill, it’s important to work hard on the right thing.
Instead of providing a list of pointers on how to learn to write for general purposes, this guide will offer eight key tips that will help you learn how to write creatively.
Learn to Write with 8 Simple Tips
1. how to learn to write: take a writing class.
A writing class is a great place for writers to begin—it’s also where this writer first learned to write! The writing class is great for all kinds of learners as it provides a range of learning formats, including lectures, discussions, and workshops. The most valuable aspect of taking a writing course, however, is that it provides a supportive environment for writers.
In my experience, taking classes helped me to get over my fear of the blank page by showing me multiple approaches to beginning a poem, short story, or essay. Having the structure of a writing course was particularly helpful, as it kept me accountable to my goals.
writers.com has a great roster of creative writing courses . But, before you sign up for a writing class, I would suggest that you do some research. Some questions to ask include: who’s teaching? Are there prerequisites? What is the class size? If you’re looking for an online writing class, this guide offers some great tips!
Our Upcoming Online Writing Courses:
Stringing the Beads: Craft Your Personal Essay
with Joanna Penn Cooper
November 1st, 2023
Harness the freedom of the personal essay in this 4 week course, where we'll shape our ideas, thoughts, and obsessions into compelling nonfiction pieces.
What’s So Funny? Writing Poetic Humor
with Ollie Schminkey
Can a poem make the audience laugh out loud? Learn how to harness poetic humor in this class about knocking the reader's socks off.
The Elements of Fiction
with Jessie Roy
Good fiction writing can feel like juggling as you balance all the different elements of storytelling. By the end of this course, you'll be an expert juggler.
Writing Mindfulness: Sensual World/Poetry Mind
with Marc Olmsted
A four-week class, melding the language mind with the sensual: How to turn detailed observation into a poem. With Marc Olmsted.
Write Your World: Express Your Creativity through Article Writing, Blogging, and Essays
with Rudri Patel
Want to write your world, your way? Join us for this six-week program on article writing, blogging, and essays.
2. How to Learn to Write: Read
Reading is bread and butter for a writer no matter what stage of their career they’re at. Reading is how we both discover what we gravitate to and, inevitably, learn to write. Writers read not just for fun, but also with a critical lens, noting techniques that we can apply to our own work. Indeed, reading as a writer is a skill that’s very different from reading as a reader, as a student, or even as a scholar. Check out this article to learn more about reading as a writer.
For a more comprehensive guide, I recommend Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer: a Guide for People who Love Books and for those who Want to Write Them .
3. How to Learn to Write: Set an intention
Before you start learning to write, take a moment to think about these questions: in an ideal world, what do you want to write? Who would you like to write for? If you’re unsure how to answer these questions, I recommend first listing a few books and/or authors that inspire you. What do these books have in common?
The objective of setting an intention is not to pose an “endpoint” for yourself. Rather, it is to provide yourself with a direction with which to begin . Let’s say that I am interested in writing high-fantasy books like The Lord of the Rings . Although there’s nothing wrong with setting that as my goal and making a step-by-step plan to achieve that goal, having a specified endpoint, in my experience, often becomes debilitating for my writing process. For one, I may become discouraged when I find that my first draft has nothing in common with Tolkien’s epic. Or, I may find that realism comes more naturally to me and feel frustrated that I am not following the path I had planned to take.
In contrast, approaching The Lord of the Rings as a direction (rather than as a goal) looks more like amassing a set of skills. For example, I might begin by practicing the technique of worldbuilding, or the creation of a fantasy world. I might then decide to try my hand at crafting memorable characters . This way, even if your tastes or goals evolve in the writing process (and they will!), you will have developed a skillset that is transferable to other forms of writing.
4. How to Learn to Write: Start
Every writer has a different starting point. For Louise Erdrich, it is often the voice of a character that helps her begin her novel. For others, it may be a narrative situation or personal experience. It is a good idea to experiment with different approaches to beginning. This allows you to not only learn what helps you write, but also challenge yourself as a writer.
When you’re just starting to learn how to write, expect that what you write won’t come out the way you want it. This is natural – all writers, even experienced ones, undergo this process. The important thing is to start and know that your writing does not have to be perfect at first try. The beauty of writing is that you don’t have to show it to anyone until you want to.
With that said, I suggest that you keep all of your writing, even if you don’t like it. You never know when you’ll find it interesting again!
5. How to Learn to Write: Use writing exercises
When the possibilities are endless, it can be difficult to begin. If you find yourself wavering, I recommend using a writing exercise to help jumpstart your process and learn how to write. Even if you don’t end up using what you generated, writing exercises are a great way to learn to write. To begin, check out this article !
If you’re in need of more prompts (and a supportive community!), our Facebook group is also a great resource.
6. How to Learn to Write: Understand the writing process
To learn how to write, it is essential to understand the nature of the writing process, which is often not as straightforward or linear as you think. Make no mistake: even accomplished writers go through multiple drafts, as the writer Anne Lamott shares in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . The good news, however, is that there is absolutely no pressure on your first draft—in fact, Lamott actively strives to write a “shitty first draft.”
Often, a piece of writing goes through massive changes from first draft to last. It is hard work, but the bright side of this is that you do not need to plan out the details of your book before you start writing. As the novelist E. L. Doctorow once said, “ Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
In addition to working actively on your draft, it’s important to schedule in time for your draft to “rest,” too. Stephen King, for example, shares in On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft that he shuts his first draft up in his drawer for at least six weeks before revisiting it. This rest time, King explains, helps to create distance and allows the writer to assess their own writing in a more objective manner.
7. How to Learn to Write: Understand yourself.
Of the eight tips in this article, this is perhaps the most important point. By “understanding yourself,” I don’t mean “discovering” your “true self” or “psyche.” Instead, I mean understanding your habits, strengths, likes, and dislikes. In my experience, the most challenging part of learning to write is starting. Understanding what helps you to write on a practical level can alleviate this pressure and create the conditions you need to help your creative juices flow.
To begin, here is a list of things you might want to experiment with:
- Writing requirements: Are you a pen and paper writer? Do you type? Do you do both? If you do both, do you write your first draft and type the second, or vice versa?
- Physical space: Do you need to have your own room—where you will have no distractions—like Zadie Smith, or can you write at the dining table with children running around you, like Suzan Lori-Parks? Do you write best when you have a window you can look out of, or do you need to minimize distractions in your environment?
- Daily schedules: When are you free and most productive? For Toni Morrison, who had young children when she first started writing, it was the time before sunrise. For H. P. Lovecraft, it was at night.
- Routines: Although many say that writers have to write in the morning every single day, the best writing schedule, in my opinion, is one that makes sense for your own life. Do note that even if you have an established writing routine, it may change according to life circumstances. It’s important to be flexible and willing to try new approaches when you feel like your established routine no longer works.
- Writerly tendencies: What genre captivates you, and what genre comes most intuitively to you? Note that these may not necessarily be the same! Personally, I started writing with the intention of writing fiction, but have since written more poetry and nonfiction. I’d encourage you to learn how to write in all three genres—what you find may surprise you!
8. How to Learn to Write: Seek resources
While writing is mostly a solitary activity, don’t underestimate the power of having a community! A writing group keeps you accountable, teaches you how to learn to write professionally, and provides a safe space for you to workshop an early draft. An authentic writing community, however, can be difficult to come by outside of a writing course.
For more tips on learning to write, I recommend the following books:
- On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
- Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit
- The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Learn How to Write at Writers.com
Learning to write can seem intimidating, but it’s important to remember that all writers started where you are: at the beginning. Remember to take things slow—habits are built gradually and consistently—as you build your writing routine into your everyday life.
For more resources on learning how to write, check out our weekly writing tips , as well as our upcoming course calendar .
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How to Write
Last Updated: August 6, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 728,749 times.
Writing can be an amazing hobby and a necessary skill. From realistic fiction to mysteries to sci-fi to poetry to academic papers, your writing is only limited by your imagination. Keep in mind that writing is a lot more than putting pen to paper: it takes reading, research, thinking, and revising. While not all writing methods work for everyone, there are some things all writers can do to boost their craft and create a comprehensive, engaging piece.
Developing Your Writing Style
- Your style can also vary on how long you have been writing and which genre you write in.
- For example, if you’re writing a paper for a scientific journal, you won’t need to establish a setting as a novelist would. Understanding what you want to write helps you tailor your skill-building approach.
- Don’t limit yourself to one specific genre. Read novels, non-fiction books, fan fiction, poetry news articles, academic journal articles, and even good marketing material. Familiarizing yourself with as many writing styles as possible gives you a bigger toolbox.
- It's also a great idea to read texts that can help you accomplish the type of writing you want to do. If, for example, you’re writing a sci-fi novel, scientific journal articles will help you master the technical speech while good ad copy can teach you about sensationalism and emotional appeal.
- Keep up a regular reading schedule. Even if it's only 20 minutes a day before you go to sleep, you'll notice an improvement in your writing.
- What genre are you writing in?
- What themes do you want at the core of your story?
- What important traits will your main character have?
- What will motivate your antagonist?
- What tone (comedy, tragedy, etc.) will your story have?
- Why should the reader be interested in your plot?
- Ask yourself questions like these: What is my argument? Who is my audience? What research will I need to do? What genre am I writing in?
- For example, if you need to write about the relationship between Greek and Phoenician gods, list out all the deities from each pantheon that you can think of along with their traits. Then, pick a few that have the clearest connection as support for your paper.
- If your subject is broader, like colonial overseas connections, you have more freedom. You can talk about how food crossed oceans or how people used to communicate between overseas colonies.
- Freewriting works for almost any style of writing. You can start writing a story, write down your thoughts and observations, crank out everything you know about your subject. Just let the words flow.
- Your audience will determine what language you use, what needs to be explained, and what can be assumed in your work.
- An academic audience, for example, likely already has a basic background in your field and prefers concise explanations over flowery prose. You don’t need to explain the basics to them.
- It’s natural to want your writing to appeal to everyone, but you’ll do better if you are realistic about your target audience. Someone who only reads romance novels may pick up your murder mystery, but fans of the genre are still your target group.
- Be selective about the information you retrieve online. Some Internet sources can be unreliable. Established sources such as peer-reviewed journals and books from academic publishing houses, have to undergo a thorough vetting process and are safer to use as sources.
- Check out a library. You may be able to find information on your topic in a library that hasn't made its way to the web. For a greater breadth of resources, try a university library.
- Research is important for fiction pieces, too. You want your piece to sound plausible even if the events are made up. Details like saying your character is 600 years old and knew Caesar (who lived over 2,000 years ago) can take your reader out of your writing.
Crafting Your Piece
- If you have an open deadline, you may aim for a goal like writing 5 pages a day or 5,000 words a day.
- If you have a specific deadline, like for a school essay, you may need to be more specific. For example, you may give yourself 3 weeks to research, a week to write, and a week to edit.
- Your outline should flow in the rough order that you want your piece. You can reorganize and rearrange as you write, but the point of the outline is to help your points flow together.
- Some writers prefer to work without an outline, and that’s totally fine. You should budget more time for revision and rewrites, though, since you don’t have a rough flow set before you start.
- Resolutions don't have to mean a happy ending if that's not your style. Your resolution should simply bring all the strands of your plot together so that they make sense.
- This form works for many types of creative writing, not just fiction. Popular history books often follow this format, for example.
- If you conducted your own research or gathered your own data, your research methods should be discussed before you present your data.
- Discussion sections are also common in between the analysis and conclusion. These talk about other possible interpretations of your data and what work should follow to answer questions brought up by your research.
- You can draft a full version of your piece, or you can draft in stages. Stages, like going chapter-by-chapter, can be particularly helpful if you’re writing a longer piece.
- If you have an outline, don’t worry about following it to the letter. Your outline helps instruct the general flow of your piece. It’s a guide, not a rule book.
- Check for coherency. Do all parts of your piece make sense together? If so, continue. If not, consider revising or cutting whatever doesn't fit in.
- Check for necessity. Do all parts of the story contribute? Does each section give necessary background, advance your plot or argument, develop an important character or point, or introduce critical analyses? If not, cut it.
- Check for anything missing. Are all your characters or points properly introduced? Is all your supporting data or information present? Do your points flow smoothly together, or are there some logical gaps?
- There is no set number of drafts you do before a piece is done. The exact number of drafts you go through will depend on your timeline, your comfort level, and your personal writing style.
- It’s common to feel like there’s always something more to add or revise, but try not to focus on perfection. At some point, you will need to put your pen down.
Cleaning up Your Writing
- Online tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway editor can help check for more advanced issues like clarity and word use. Just like spell check, though, you shouldn’t depend on these for full edits.
- Teachers, professors, topic experts, your colleagues, and other writers are all good people to ask. You can also join a writer’s group to share your work, read others' writing, and give mutual feedback.
- Ask them to be honest and thorough. Only honest feedback, even if it's a wholesale criticism of your entire story, can make you a better writer.
- If they need some guidance, give them the same questions you've been asking yourself.
- Re-read your work with your readers' comments in mind. Note any gaps, places that need to be cut, or areas needing revision.
- Rewrite necessary parts using the insights gained from your readers and from your own subsequent critical reading.
- Adjectives. Adjectives describe nouns and are most effective when they’re used intentionally and selectively. Take the sentence: "He stepped aside, an indignant wrath boiling up inside his loins." "Indignant" means angry, but so does "wrath." A better sentence would be: "He stepped aside, wrath boiling up inside his loins."
- Idioms and slang. Idioms, such as "a piece of cake" or "foam at the mouth," don't always translate into enjoyable writing. Like slang, they date the piece (who says "suck the milk of nations" anymore?) and can be misinterpreted.
- Be verbs. Change be verbs, such as is, was, are, were, am, and being, to active verbs. For example, don't write, "She was tired." Instead, say, "She collapsed under the weight of exhaustion."
- Strings of prepositional phrases. It's okay to use prepositional phrases, but don't list several in a row. For example, don't say, "The cyborg climbed on the molding above the staircase along the wall beside the throne." Instead, you could write, "The cyborg skirted the staircase molding on the wall closest to the throne."  X Research source
- "Manuel drank his brandy. He felt sleepy himself. It was too hot to go out into the town. Besides, there was nothing to do. He wanted to see Zurito. He would go to sleep while he waited " — Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women .
- "He did not feel weak, he was merely luxuriating in that supremely gutful lassitude of convalescence in which time, hurry, doing, did not exist, the accumulating seconds and minutes and hours to which it its well state the body is slave both waking and sleeping, now reversed and time now the lip-server and mendicant to the body's pleasure instead of the body thrall to time's headlong course. " — William Faulkner, The Hamlet .
- Take the following sentence: "He creepily went into the room." There's nothing wrong with this sentence, but it's a little bland and wordy. You can enhance the sentence and be more specific by introducing a new verb. Try "crept," "slunk," or "slithered" in place of “creepily went.”
- In some fields and industries, passive voice is standard. For example, as science paper may say “The solution received 2 drops of the activator,” to keep the subject out of the sentence. If passive voice is standard in your field, follow those conventions.
- It’s easy to stick to similes and metaphors, but try adding different devices to give your writing depth and texture. Hyperbole, for instance, can make your writing explode off the page.
- Another example of figurative language is personification, which lends human attributes to non-human things. "The wind danced across the sky," creates the image of strong but graceful wind without having to say, "The wind was strong but graceful."
- Use exclamation points sparingly. People don't often exclaim things; nor do sentences often merit exclamation. "Jamie was excited to see him!" for example, does not need an exclamation point. The sentence already states that Jamie is excited.
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- Avoid using archaic vocabulary and writing conventions. These are harder to write and harder to understand. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 2
- Give your story to someone; to read and make sure that there're no spelling mistakes. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 2
- After writing your first draft, spend a bit of time away from your story. It will let you reread it in the mind of a reader, and you may find some very obvious mistakes that you didn't notice while writing. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 2
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- ↑ https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2016/05/30/want-write-better-read-more/pxGs6c2hhhJpfdcVWbbz1H/story.html
- ↑ http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/how-to-brainstorm-give-your-brain-free-rein
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
- ↑ https://www.plainlanguage.gov/guidelines/audience/
- ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/how-to-research-a-novel-7-tips
- ↑ https://writershelpingwriters.net/2017/04/the-efficient-writer-using-timelines-to-organize-story-details/
- ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/improve-my-writing/4-story-structures-that-dominate-novels
- ↑ http://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/planning/organizing/
- ↑ http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/fruitless-first-draft-struggles
- ↑ http://www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Support/Heat/index.php?page=492
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://grad.arizona.edu/ofce/articles/2016/08/five-tips-getting-helpful-feedback-your-writing
- ↑ http://www.fsb.miamioh.edu/fsb/content/programs/howe-writing-initiative/HWI-handout-editingforconcision.html
- ↑ https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/writing-rules-advice-from-the-new-york-times-on-writing-well/
- ↑ http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~cainproj/writingtips/preciseverbs.html
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_activevoice.html
- ↑ https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/online-literary-devices-guide/
- ↑ http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/top-ten.html
About This Article
Before you start writing something, regardless of whether it’s creative or academic, do some research on your subject so you have a better sense of how to begin. If you’re already comfortable with the subject matter, you can also try free-writing for 10 minutes. Try not to worry if your free writing is “good” writing, and instead just focus on getting your creativity flowing! Then, once you’re ready to write, draft a quick outline for your piece. If you’re writing an academic essay, write down your thesis, which is your central argument. Flesh out your academic outline by writing down the arguments and examples you’ll use to support your argument, and what conclusion you’re drawing with those examples. Alternatively, if you’re writing something creative, write down your inciting incident, which is what starts the action. Follow that with a couple of ideas for your rising action, which should lead to your climax. The climax is the turning point in your story, which is when your main character will overcome the conflict. Then, outline your resolution, which is how your story will end. Keep in mind that your resolution doesn’t have to be happy as long as it leaves the readers feeling satisfied with your plot. Once you’ve written your first draft, take a break from your work if you can, so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. First, read your writing once without a pen so you can see if you like the overall structure. If you don’t, try rewriting! However, if you’re happy with the way it’s turned out, edit your piece for grammar, clarity, and sentence structure. Finally, ask someone you trust to read it and give you feedback. For more tips from our Academic co-author, including how to develop a unique writing voice, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write Any Type of Letter
Everyone should know how to write a letter, whether a business inquiry, email, personal letter, or letter-format social media post. Letter writing is a useful skill, not only for communicating clearly, but also for making a good impression—especially a first impression.
Below we explain how to write a proper letter, no matter the type you need. We’ll cover the correct format for a formal letter, such as a cover letter or job inquiry, as well as tips for writing a personal letter, with some helpful examples of each.
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How to write a letter
Here are some quick steps for how to write a letter:
- Choose your format (email, paper and mail, etc.)
- Write your contact information and date at the top if you’re using block style (see below).
- On a new line write a salutation, such as “Dear Ms. Smith,” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
- Write the body of your letter in a standard paragraph format.
- On a new line write a complimentary close, such as “Sincerely,” or “Best,”
- Sign your name under the complimentary close.
What type of letter should you write?
There are no hard-and-fast rules. The most suitable letter format depends on your audience. For a friend or close relative, a casual message or informal letter is usually the best way to go. There are different types of letters that are appropriate for this format. Some include:
- Handwritten letters
- Emailed letters
- Typed social media messages
However, for business contacts or people you don’t know well, a typed formal letter is almost always the most appropriate choice. When used for professional purposes, writing a formal letter is effective for the following:
- Cover letters
- Letters of intent
- Value proposition letters
- Business memorandum letters
- Promotion letters
- Reference letters
- Resignation letters
- Thank you letters
These are just some of the types of letters that you might need to write in a casual or professional environment. Before writing a letter, consider the type of letter you need: formal or informal. Each has a distinct format you’ll want to follow.
Formal letter writing: block style vs. AMS style
Formal letters—like cover letters, business inquiries, and urgent notifications— are some of the most important letters you’ll ever have to write. Because they’re sometimes used as official documents, formal letters have a very precise structure and particular format. In fact, there are a few different “correct formats” to choose from.
The most common formats for formal letter writing are block style and American Mathematical Society, or AMS, style. In the example below, we use block style, specifically full block style, because it’s the most popular. Block style is characterized by all elements being aligned on the left margin of the page. This includes the first lines of paragraphs, which don’t use indentation.
AMS is fairly similar, following many of the same rules as block style. There are a few differences, however, which we briefly cover after the next section.
How to write a formal letter in block style
Step 1: write the contact information and date .
All formal letters start with the contact information and date . In the full block style, this goes in the upper left-hand corner.
First, as the sender, type your full name and address aligned to the left side, just as you would when addressing an envelope. This isn’t just a formality, but a useful inclusion so the recipient can easily find your contact information when they want to respond.
If you’re writing on official company letterhead that already includes this information, you do not need to rewrite the contact information.
After your address, skip a line and then add the date you’re writing the letter.
Last, skip a line again and add the recipient’s name and full address. Feel free to include their job title below their name if it’s relevant. Leave a blank line after the contact information before writing the salutation.
Step 2: Write the salutation
Formal letters always have a greeting at the beginning of the written content as a cue that your message is about to begin. This is known as the salutation.
Most salutations begin with “Dear” and then the name of the recipient. All salutations use title capitalization and end in a comma .
If you don’t know the name of the receiver, you can also use a job title or even the department name, for example, “Dear HR Representative.” As a last resort, you can use the generic salutation “To Whom It May Concern” in any circumstance. Try to avoid “Dear Sir or Madam,” as it’s a little outdated .
Step 3: Write the body of the letter
This is where you write your message. The body of the letter follows the normal rules of grammar , so write it as you would any other formal document. The one exception for full block style is that you do not indent the first lines of paragraphs .
Unlike personal letters, formal letters are straightforward and direct , so don’t be afraid to get straight to the point . Some formal letters are only a sentence or two long, although others can go on for paragraphs if there’s a lot of information to convey. The important thing is that you stay focused and avoid tangential topics.
Although different company cultures have different communication standards, it’s a safe bet to avoid casual phrasing and jokes; some even advise against using contractions . It should go without saying, but don’t use slang, profanity, or other inappropriate language.
If your letter covers a lot, it’s best to include a closing paragraph at the end to summarize everything the recipient needs to know. As always, don’t forget to edit and proofread the body of the letter before sending.
Step 4: Write the complimentary close
Formal letters also use a standard complimentary close or sign-off, similar to the salutation, before ending with an authentic signature.
One of the most common closers is “Sincerely,” including some variations like, “With sincere gratitude,” or “ Sincerely yours .” Other common sign-offs include “Best,” and “Yours.” Unlike salutations, closers use sentence capitalization. Always capitalize the first letter of your complimentary close, but only the first letter. And just like the salutation, always end with a comma .
If you’re sending a paper letter, skip a few lines after your complimentary close—this is where you sign your name. Additionally, always type your name below the signature , along with your job title if relevant. When sending an email or other digital letter, you don’t have to leave a blank line before you type your full name.
Step 5: Mention enclosed materials
This last step is necessary only if you’re sending additional materials with the letter, such as a résumé or CV, application, voucher, etc. If you’re sending only the letter, disregard this step.
After your printed name and optional job title (under your signature), skip a line and then write “Enclosure:” followed by a list of the materials you’ve included. For example, if you were including a résumé, you would write “Enclosure: Résumé.” This is simply a precaution so the recipient doesn’t miss anything or, if they need to, can verify that something was lost in shipping.
Formal letter example (block style)
Detective Inspector G. Lestrade
35 Victoria Embankment
London, England SW1A 2JL, UK
July 1, 1888
Mr. Sherlock Holmes
221B Baker St.
London, England NW1 6XE, UK
Dear Mr. Holmes,
On behalf of the London police force, we request your presence at New Scotland Yard at your earliest convenience. We have a case that requires your special expertise, and we’d prefer to discuss the details in person, considering the sensitivity of the information. Any time before the end of the month is acceptable.
Enclosure: Visitor pass
How to write a formal letter in AMS style
For the most part, AMS style uses the same rules and guidelines as block style, including enclosures, so you can follow the steps above regardless of the style you use. However, there are two major differences in AMS style that you need to be aware of:
- Don’t leave a blank line between the sender’s full address and the date. The date comes directly underneath the address.
- AMS style always uses a subject line in place of or before the salutation. The subject line should be written in all caps and summarize the content of the letter in no more than a single line, such as “YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED AT SCOTLAND YARD.” As with salutations, leave a blank line before and after the subject line.
Formal letter example (AMS style)
London, England SW1A 2JL, UK
YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED AT SCOTLAND YARD
Dear Mr. Holmes,
How to write an informal letter
True to their name, informal letters are a lot more casual than formal letters. That means there aren’t nearly as many rules and guidelines, and no one will mind if you don’t leave a blank space in the right spot.
Still, there is a correct format that people are familiar with, so follow the steps below as a bare minimum.
Step 1: Put the date at the top (optional)
Putting the date at the top of a letter is a custom stemming from a time when letter writing was the primary means of communication. Nowadays, including the date is no longer a necessity, but some people still do it because of tradition. In informal letters, it’s completely optional.
Just like formal letters, informal letters start with a polite greeting to the recipient. The standard format is the same: the word “Dear” followed by the person’s name, as in “Dear Mr. Lestrade,” using title capitalization.
However, informal letters provide more freedom when it comes to what you say in your greeting, and it’s not uncommon to see casual greetings like, “Hi [Name],” or “Hello [Name].”
As with salutations in formal letters, you normally end your greeting with a comma and then skip a line before beginning the body of the letter. Occasionally you see people end the salutation with an exclamation point, depending on their relationship with the recipient.
The body of the letter is where you write your message, and informal letters are often meant to share news or keep in touch. They tend to have a conversational tone, which means you’re free to include slang and whatever language you use when speaking in person.
While tangents are more permissible in informal letters, going off topic excessively can still bother the reader. Try to stay focused as best you can without sounding restrained—informal letters are supposed to be personal, after all.
Informal letters also use a complimentary close before the signature, following the same format as formal letters. That includes using sentence capitalization (capitalizing only the first letter), adding a comma at the end, and leaving enough space to sign your name if you’re sending a paper letter.
However, you don’t need to stick with the conventional sign-offs like “Sincerely.” If you’re writing a personal letter, you can use something more sentimental depending on the relationship with the recipient, such as “Love,” “Warm regards,” or “See you soon.”
Informal letter example
July 2, 1888
What’s up, Lestrade!?
It’s Sherlock! So stoked to receive your letter. Of course I’ll come to Scotland Yard ASAP, no worries.
Sherlock “Best Detective Ever” Holmes
PS stands for postscript . It’s something you add at the last minute after the letter is complete, usually either minor news or something small you forgot when writing the body of the letter. Typically, you don’t use postscripts in formal letters; if you need to add something, you’ll have to revise the whole document to include the new information.
When writing a postscript, simply write the letters “PS” and then your message. It doesn’t matter if you use periods or not (“PS” and “P.S.” are both acceptable), but both letters should always be capitalized.
If you have more than one postscript, simply add another P to the beginning of each new PS. For example, your second postscript should be labeled “PPS.” and your third postscript should be “PPPS.”
PS. Rob got the position at Great Company! Thanks for all the support during his unemployment.
PPS. I have to cancel my birthday party, but we’re still getting together for drinks that night if you want to come.
In the United States, the maximum weight for a first-class letter is 3.5 ounces. If your letter is more than three pages or you’ve written it on heavy paper, you’ll have to weigh it to make sure it meets the requirements. The size and shape of the envelope matter too. It has to be rectangular and smaller than roughly 6 by 11 inches, or you run the risk of the post office returning it.
Sending a letter
After you’ve determined that the envelope is the right kind, now you just have to mail it. (If it’s a personal letter, you can always deliver it yourself. In that case, just write the intended recipient’s name on the outside of the envelope. A bonus of hand delivery? You can use any size or shape envelope you want!)
In the top left-hand corner, write your name and address or attach a mailing label. In the center of the envelope, carefully write the name and address of the recipient. Besides the state abbreviation and zip code, international letters should include the country for both the destination and return addresses.
Postage rates vary. Check the US Postal Service website for current prices or use a Forever Stamp for US destinations. Postage goes on the top right-hand corner of the envelope.
Double-check that everything is correct on the outside of the envelope. If it is, fold your letter and insert it neatly. Don’t seal it until you’re sure that you’ve included every page you intend to send.
Still not sure how to write a proper letter? Keep these letter-writing tips in mind to help you communicate with confidence.
While personal letters naturally tend to use a friendly tone, formal letters, too, can benefit from pleasantries and polite etiquette. A simple phrase like “How are you?” or “I hope you’re well” at the beginning of a letter can help connect the sender and recipient, even if the subject matter is strictly business.
Likewise, you can also express sympathy, regret, support, or gratitude in both formal and informal letters. Aside from mere etiquette, these pleasantries establish a personal connection that separates your letters from those written by machines.
Write for your reader
As with all writing, modify your language to accommodate your specific reader. If you’re writing a formal letter to a business associate, be professional and courteous. If you’re writing a personal letter to an old friend, feel free to crack jokes and use slang.
Sometimes the lines blur—a “formal letter” to a work friend might be more casual than a “personal letter” to a distant relative. Keep in mind the specific reader as you write to strike the right tone. If you’ve never met the recipient before, stick to courteous formality.
Include all necessary information
If you have a lot of information to convey, make a small list beforehand to make sure you cover everything. Treat this like a mini-outline to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
This is especially important for invitations or letters about scheduling events. Make sure you clearly state the essential facts—particularly where and when —as well as other need-to-know information, like directions or special requirements.
Doesn’t it feel good sending a letter you’ve carefully prepared? Certainly, a well-written letter has the best chance of accomplishing its purpose. To make sure your letter really shines, it’s critical that it be mistake-free and set the right tone. Grammarly’s writing assistance catches things like spelling and grammatical mistakes, and Grammarly Premium includes formatting suggestions and guidance that can help you write clear, easy-to-follow letters that hold your recipient’s attention. By using Grammarly, you can write your letter with confidence, wherever you type!
This article was originally written by Jennifer Calonia in 2020. It’s been updated to include new information.
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11 Ways to Write Better
We are all writers now. Whether you write books, blog posts, emails, Instagram captions, or text messages, you are a writer. No matter your preferred medium, here are a few tips to help you write more effectively.
Treat text messages like prose . Before hitting the send button, review your text: spelling, content, punctuation. Ask yourself: What am I attempting to communicate ? What am I attempting to express ? Be more deliberate with your most common form of casual writing, and you’ll automatically become more deliberate in other mediums.
Words are tools . Expand your vocabulary to make your writing more precise. There’s no need to use a ten-dollar word when a ten-cent word will suffice, but having more tools in your toolbox will allow you to select the most appropriate tool for the job. Sometimes you need an ax, sometimes you need a scalpel. Pick one new word each day, and then use it at least 21 times in your conversations with others that day. The most useful words will stick, and your vocabulary will expand over time.
Do it daily . If you want to improve your writing, write every day. Writing is a muscle: if you don’t use it, you lose it. For me, the best way to guarantee consistent writing was to start a blog. (Related article: How to Start a Successful Blog Today .)
Punctuation. Is. Pace . To add variety, velocity, and cadence to your writing, play around with different punctuation: periods, commas, em dashes, colons, semicolons. Short, succinct sentences communicate tension. Longer, run-on sentences, on the other hand, help establish a frantic, hurried rhythm—a feeling that the pace is picking up as the words tumble onto the page.
Avoid throat-clearing . Blogs, books, and social media posts are littered with unnecessary intros, solipsistic digressions, and avoidable drivel. Ditch the nonsense and state your points. When in doubt, delete your first two paragraphs and see whether the writing improves.
Don’t waste the reader’s time . Our time and our attention are two of our most precious resources. It is selfish to force a reader to spend fifteen minutes reading something you could’ve—and should’ve—communicated in 90 seconds. If you want to earn your reader’s trust, don’t waste their time.
30% composition, 70% editing . For every hour you spend writing, spend three hours editing, shaping your work into something more concise, more powerful—more beautiful. Writing truly is rewriting.
Narrative urgency . Every sentence must serve a purpose: Your first sentence must make the reader want to read the second. The second sentence must propel the reader to the third. So forth and so on until the very end. If a sentence doesn’t move the narrative forward—if it doesn’t make the writing more urgent—then it must hit the cutting-room floor, no matter how clever or precious it seems.
Avoid too many adverbs . A sure sign of amateur writing is the overuse of adverbs, especially -ly adverbs. A woman in a story isn’t incredibly pretty—she’s beautiful; the sky isn’t very blue—it’s azure. Find the perfect words to avoid using adverbs as crutches.
Follow the rules, and then unfollow the rules . Learn the rules so you can break them successfully. I recommend two books to my writing students to help them understand the guidelines of good writing: Grammatically Correct and Garner’s Modern English Usage .
Read more about writing . No matter your level of competency, there’s always room for improvement. For daily tips and writing-related articles, follow How to Write Better on Facebook and Twitter , and subscribe to the free How to Write Better newsletter .
If you’re serious about improving your writing, and you’re willing to put in the time and effort, I teach a dozen new students each month in my four-week online writing class, How to Write Better .
15 Ways to Write Better
We are all writers now. Whether you write books, blog posts, or Instagram captions, you are a writer. This short ebook contains fifteen tips to help you write more effectively.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write a cursive s: 3 calligraphy tips.
In this article, we’ll show you how to write an uppercase cursive s and lowercase s in cursive. We’ll even get a little inventive and show you how to write a fancy s!
What Does a Cursive S Look Like?
If you want to learn cursive, it’s a good idea to study exactly what cursive letters look like. Cursive s looks much like its print counterpart in some ways, and very different in others.
A capital s in cursive looks quite a bit like the print s; even if you don’t know cursive, you can probably recognize the letter. One of the biggest differences is that tell-tale hook off to the left, which is used to connect the capital s to the next letter in a word.
The lowercase cursive s is less recognizable if you’re not familiar with cursive. It almost looks like a little sail, with a line extending up and to the right to connect to the next letter. Because cursive is meant to be written faster than print, understanding how the letters connect can help you be a faster writer!
How to Make an Uppercase S In Cursive
Uppercase cursive s is a little easier to parse, so let’s start by learning how to write one.
Use lined paper. This will help you keep the shape of your s intact, even when it gets loopy.
Start with your pencil on the bottom of a pair of lines.
Draw a diagonal , somewhat curved line reaching toward the top of the pair of lines.
Draw a little loop that will take your pen direction back toward the bottom of the page.
Cross back over the first line while drawing a soft little semi-circle—here you can see the shape of a print s.
Continue past where you’d normally stop if you were drawing a print s, crossing over your diagonal line.
Draw a little hook off to the right, which you’ll use to connect the s to the next letter.
How to Make a Lowercase S in Cursive
Now let’s try a lowercase s. Though it looks a lot like a little sail, you want to learn to draw it in the correct order so that you can keep your speed up.
Draw a little ski-jump shape that goes up halfway between your two lines.
Draw half of a teardrop shape going back down to the bottom line, connecting it to your ski-jump going up.
Without picking up your pen, draw a line extending to the side to connect to the next letter.
Cursive S Variations
One of the fun things about cursive is adding a little personal flair. Cursive can be quite beautiful on its own, and adding a little hint of calligraphy can take it to the next level. Take a look at some of these calligraphy-inspired cursive s variations!
3 Key Tips for Making a Fancy S in Cursive
Still struggling to write a great capital s in cursive or lowercase s in cursive? These tips will help you master this letter!
Don’t Pick Up Your Pen
Cursive is meant to be written quickly and in a more streamlined fashion than print, so don’t pick up your pen from the paper as you’re writing. Though some letters may require you to pick up your pen to dot or cross them, that’s not true of s, so keep that pen on the paper!
Remember That Cursive Is Connected
Cursive letters are almost always connected together to make writing quicker. Both lowercase and capital s in cursive have lines connected them to the next letter. Don’t forget those lines, or your s won’t look quite right.
Make Letters Your Own
Though it might seem like cursive has to be very accurate to be legible, you actually have some leeway to make your s your own. If you prefer your lowercase s to look more like a print s, that’s okay! Or maybe you like a little embellishment to make the capital cursive s look even fancier. It’s up to you— as long as the basic form is there, people will be able to read your writing.
Want to learn more about all the letters of the alphabet? Check out these alphabet games !
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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.
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Numerals in various writing systems
Here are the numerals used in various writing systems from around the world. The numbers section includes numbers in these and many other languages.
Some writing systems, such as Greek and Cyrillic, do not have their own set of numerals. They may use letters to represent numbers, and/or use numerals from another writing sytem.
Please note : You may need to download and install some fonts in order to see some of the numerals.
The numerals referred to here as 'Arabic' and 'Urdu' are those used when writing those languages. The Urdu numerals are also known as 'East Arab' numerals and differ slightly from those used in Arabic. In Arabic they are known as "Indian numbers" (أرقام هندية arqa-m hindiyyah).
The numerals 1, 2, 3, etc. are also known as Arabic numerals, or Hindu-Arabic numerals, Indian numerals, Hindu numerals, European numerals, and Western numerals. These numerals where first used in India in about 400 BC, were later used in Persia, then were brought to Europe by the Arabs. Hence the name "Arabic numerals".
Letters used as numerals.
These writing systems use or used letters to represent numerals.
Numbers in various languages
Number Systems of the World https://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/channumerals/
Of Languages and Numbers https://www.languagesandnumbers.com/numbering-systems/en/
Numbers from 1 to 10 in over 5000 Languages http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml
Numbers in Slavic languages http://roman-dushkin.narod.ru/v_paper_06_eng.html
Numerals and counting in Chinese http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_numerals
Information about "Arabic numerals" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals
History of counting systems and numerals http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab34
Numberopedia - information about numbers and numerals http://www.archimedes-lab.org/numbers/Num1_69.html
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Different Ways to Write the Letter A
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Learning to Write: Zaner Bloser versus D'Nealian Style
There are many different styles of writing letters, two of which are the Zaner Bloser and D'Nealian style. What separates one writing style from the other is slant and shape.
Zaner Bloser is written is a straight fashion in print writing and in a slanted fashion in cursive. On the other hand, D'Nealian style is written in a slanted fashion in both print and cursive.
Further, D'Nealian print letters are written with tails, making it easier to transition to cursive. Whether or not D'Nealian handwriting actually helps kids transition to cursive with more ease is still up for debate. Print letters written in the Zaner Bloser style do not emphasize tails on letters, which gives Zaner Bloser print and cursive distinct looks.
This article provides 5 different printable pages each for the 2 styles of writing. The first 5 are Zaner Bloser style, the next 5 are D'Nealian style.
Your kids can practice tracing and writing letters on these printouts to achieve legible handwriting at an early age.
Zaner Bloser Style: Letter A, Cover Page
First, print the cover page. You can add the following pages and bind together if you wish to make a booklet. On this page, your kids will write the letters and color in the pictures.
Zaner Bloser Style: Letter A, Page 2
On this page, your kids will repeatedly practice writing the letter A. They have many opportunities to trace the letters for guidance.
Zaner Bloser Style: Letter A, Page 3
This third page is a bit more challenging. There are less opportunities to trace the letter A. Your kids will now have to practice writing freestyle.
Zaner Bloser Style: Letter A, Page 4
Moving beyond letters, your kids will practice writing words that start with the letter A on this page. There are also pictures on this page that they can color in.
Zaner Bloser Style: Letter A, Page 5
This page offers your kids a lot of space for creativity. They will write out a sentence, once with the trace patterns and once without, then draw a picture in the space.
D'Nealian Style: Letter A, Page 1
On this cover page, your kids write the letters in D'Nealian style and color the pictures.
D'Nealian Style: Letter A, Page 2
On this second page, your kids will practice writing the letter A with the help of tracing patterns.
D'nealian Style: Letter A, Page 3
On this third page, your kids will practice writing the letters without tracing.
D'nealian Style: Letter A, Page 4
Have your kids practice writing the letter A by writing out words that start with the letter A. There are also pictures to color in.
D'nealian Style: Letter A, Page 5
On this last page, have your kids write a sentence that heavily involves the letter A and draw a picture in the space.
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- How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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How To Take Study Notes: 5 Effective Note Taking Methods
If your in-class notes are messy, unorganized, and unclear at first glance, you’re not going to get much use out of them. This has nothing to do with how neat your handwriting is — it’s all about how your notes are structured.
One of the most effective ways to remember (and understand) what you are learning in class is to take effective notes in the classroom.
Why Are Effective Note Taking Skills Important?
Better notes will help you remember concepts, develop meaningful learning skills, and gain a better understanding of a topic. Effective notes will even lead to less stress when test time comes around!
Learning how to take better study notes in class helps improve recall and understanding of what you are learning because it:
- Ensures you are actively listening to what the teacher is saying
- Requires you to think about what you are writing
- Helps you make connections between topics
- Serves as quality review material for after class
Using different note taking strategies is important, especially as you progress through high school and transition to college or university. There are several note taking techniques you can use to start taking better notes in class.
Start taking better study notes
Get more out of your study sessions with the complete study toolkit including note taking templates, tips, and more.
Try these 5 methods to find the best note taking method for you!
The cornell method.
The Cornell note taking method helps organize class notes into easily digestible summaries. This method is effective because the main points, details, study cues, and summary are all written in one place.
- Notes are neatly organized, summarized, and easy to review
- Allows you to pull out major ideas and concepts
What Does it look like?
The paper is divided into 3 sections: a 2.5” margin to the left, a 2” summary section on the bottom, and a main 6” in-class note section.
- Use the main notes section to take notes during class.
- Use the cues section to review your notes. After class, write down things you’ll need to remember and a prompt for each. You can also use this section for vocabulary words and study questions.
- In the summary segment at the bottom, write a summary of your notes. This is where you will highlight the main points.
The Mapping Method
The Mapping note taking method is a more visual way to organize your class notes. This technique is useful when learning about relationships between topics.
- Useful for visual learners who struggle with studying from notes.
- Helps you remember and connect relationships between topics.
The page is organized by topic. The main topics branch out into subtopics with detailed information about each.
How Do You Use It?
- While in class, begin the map with the main topic.
- Branching off the main topic, write a heading for each of the subtopics.
- Write any important notes underneath each subtopic.
- Continue the pattern.
The Outlining Method
The Outlining note taking method uses headings and bullet points to organize topics. This method is most useful when learning about topics that include a lot of detail.
- Allows notes to be neatly organized.
- It is easy to see the relationship between topics and subtopics.
- It is easy to turn points into study questions.
Each section starts with a heading of the main topic. Each subtopic and supporting fact is written underneath the proper heading.
- During a lesson, begin your notes with a single bullet point and write the main topic.
- Place the first subtopic below and indented slightly to the right.
- List any details below your heading and slightly to the right.
The Charting Method
Charting note taking method uses columns to organize information. This method is useful for lessons that cover a lot of facts or relationships between topics.
- Facts are organized and easy to review.
- Highlights key pieces of information for each topic.
The page is divided into columns labeled by category. The details of each category are filled out in the rows below.
- When information about a category is mentioned, jot it down underneath the proper column.
- When the next topic begins move down one row and begin again.
The Sentence Method
The Sentence note taking method is simply writing down each topic as a jot note sentence. This method works well for fast paced lessons where a lot of information is being covered.
- Jotting main points helps you determine which information is important and which is not.
- You are able to cover a lot of details and information quickly.
- Notes are simplified for study and review.
Each line on the page is a new and separate topic. To organize your notes even more, you can use headings for each main topic.
- Write down important information the teacher has emphasized. This can be in sentence form or point form.
- Start a new sentence or point for each new detail.
- Use headings to organize points by main topics.
Better Grades Start With Better Notes
Taking organized and thoughtful notes can help improve your understanding and recall of what you have learned in class. Try these methods of note taking in your next classes and see which one works best for you!
Check out our video for more tips on how to boost note-taking confidence.
To learn other ways to make school a breeze, visit the resource section or learn how Oxford Learning’s tutoring programs can help you build skills to become a better learner.
Tips & Activities To Improve Your Child’s Active Listening Skills
How to study effectively: 12 secrets for success, related note-taking resources.
Easy ways to take better study notes.
Writing vs typing debate.
How to Be a Note-Taking Superstar
How to take effective study notes based on your learning style, find an oxford learning ® location near you, we have over 100 centres across canada.
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10 Simple Hand-Lettering Styles, Plus a Free Cheat Sheet!
Hand-lettering and calligraphy have become all the rage lately! I first got into hand-lettering two years ago and started with a basic faux-calligraphy (it’s a great place to start! See my post here .) Eventually, I started seeing other people creating these beautiful sermon notes and bible journal pages using all types of lettering styles and I knew I wanted to learn a bunch of different styles too!
I quickly found that the hardest thing for me was coming up with different lettering styles to use. I could use my basic handwriting and faux-calligraphy, and I knew the idea behind creating other styles, but then my mind would always draw a blank coming up with different ways to write things! Hopefully, I am not alone in this struggle and you can understand what I mean!
So after constantly going back and forth to Pinterest and Instagram to see what styles other people were using, I figured out 10 styles, that I could easily do, and made a cheat sheet to carry with me! I went ahead and digitized my cheat sheet which you can download for free here or by clicking the image below!
These styles are all fairly straightforward, and if you know how to do faux-calligraphy (again, see here if you don’t) you can do any of these! Some are basic, like the monoline, and some you’ll need to thicken the downstrokes, like the script, san serif, or serif.
This one is, of course, the easiest; use simple and clean lines to write out your word in all caps. Try to keep all your letters the same height and width.
For this, just build on the “monoline” and add lines on both the inside and outside of the letter!
If you aren’t quite ready to get into faux calligraphy, just use a simple cursive and add some swirls on the ends!
I mean, can’t go wrong with good ol’ block letters! 😉
Simple Sans Serif
A “serif” defined by the Merriam-webster dictionary is “any of the short lines stemming from and at an angle to the upper and lower ends of the strokes of a letter”. So sans -serif means there are none of those lines stemming off the letters. Technically the two styles above are also sans-serif, but if you thicken the downstroke (just as in faux calligraphy but with uppercase letters instead of script) on the letters you get a whole new lettering style! This is my favorite style for quick but pretty sermon notes!
Tall and Skinny
Using that san serif from above, you can create so many different variations! You can make them tall and skinny, as in this example, or short and fat; you can make the downstroke super thick, or not thick at all. So play around with it!
Here we are getting a little fancier and making a serif. So I started off with my same sans-serif style and just added really simple little lines to the ends of the letter! (I also decided to play around with the placement of the letters here; which is another great way to vary your lettering styles!)
To take the serif one step further, just connect the little lines of the simple serif to create little triangles!
This style is your basic calligraphy or faux calligraphy that I mentioned above!
For this variation of the simple script, just add a second line onto one side of your downstrokes! You can either connect this second line at the top and bottom or leave it open to create a different effect!
There truly are endless lettering styles, but these few styles are some great basics, and the styles I always use. Be sure to download your free cheat sheet ! Let me know if you have questions in the comments below!
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synonyms for writing
See also synonyms for: writings
How to use writing in a sentence
At the time of writing , those include California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Michigan.
After many advertisers asked to be let out of their quarterly upfront commitments immediately at the outset of the coronavirus crisis in March, ad buyers now are asking for that option to be put in writing .
Fortune has asked the ministry what enforcement measures there will be, but had not received a reply at the time of writing .
I found that petition writing was part of the complex power politics between the women and the colonial state.
The video had 3,400 YouTube video views at the time of writing .
True, this may not be what James Madison had in mind when he was writing the Bill of Rights.
Both Ney and Abramoff have reentered the public spotlight following their sentences, writing books about their experiences.
I started just writing these songs, at first it felt like a project or something.
I wish I could be writing to you under better circumstances, but unfortunately those avenues have closed up.
Before his writing days, London used the Oakland establishment to conduct his studies.
When he had finished, she took them from his hand, and turning them round in agitated silence, examined their seals and writing .
What he has done in any one species or distinct kind of writing would have been sufficient to have acquired him a great name.
“A hopeful family yours, Mr. Trotter,” said Perker, sealing a letter which he had just finished writing .
Of writing he knew little and the art of composition appeared very difficult.
So after some weeks of speculation, he bought himself a tablet, some pencils and took up the art of writing .
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American individualism lives on after death, as consumers choose new ways to put their remains to rest
Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Diana Blaine does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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Death may be inevitable and universal, but the ways people deal with it most certainly are not. Whether doing Tibetan Buddhist sky burials , attending a graveside service dressed in black or putting one’s parents’ ashes in the sacred Ganges , each culture has its own ways to deal with death and mourning.
Yet death rites around the world do share some common goals. Traditionally, what happens to a dead body reflects communal beliefs and practices – rituals not only meant to honor the deceased but also to comfort their community.
Increasingly, however, people in the United States are choosing unconventional ways to dispose of their bodies. Today, fans of music might have their cremated remains pressed into LPs . Wannabe astronomers can be shot into space .
In my research on death in the U.S. – from mummy exhibits and lurid true crime cases to Michael Jackson’s celebrity-filled memorial – I have found that many Americans are more attracted to sensational portrayals of mortality than realistic ones.
Similarly, I believe these new funeral practices present death as a fantastic, personalized adventure, rather than something natural and inevitable. They emphasize the power of the individual consumer – up to and including the last purchase they’ll ever make.
Comfort and community
Even when expected, death is always upsetting, unsettling mourners’ sense of normalcy. One important function of death rituals is to help survivors process their grief and reestablish order.
Many funerary rituals also emphasize the immortality of the deceased, whom they depict as entering another realm of existence. Depending on the particular culture , this journey might require the community to burn the body, leave it exposed to carrion animals, bury it or mummify it.
Christians in the United States have long practiced earth burial, gathering at the graveside to witness their loved one’s final interment. A minister preaches about the soul, which in this faith is believed to transcend the body and spend eternity in a heavenly afterlife – providing that the person lived a life in line with religious dictates.
Christian teachings that Jesus will ultimately resurrect believers’ bodies on Judgment Day, not just their souls, helped shape standards of funeral practices, including embalming and casketing an intact body. These religious beliefs also influenced the emergence of the modern funeral industry in the U.S.
For decades, though, American norms around death and funerals have been changing.
While the nation’s majority is still Christian, religious diversity has grown significantly. About 6% of Americans belong to another faith , and around 3 in 10 are unaffiliated , according to the Pew Research Center. More Americans than ever before count themselves among the “spiritual but not religious.”
Christianity’s decreasing dominance has helped give rise to new ways of handling death – including among Christians. Half of the people who die in the U.S. each year are now cremated , the traditional method of bodily disposal for communities like Japanese Buddhists and South Asian Hindus.
But the increasing costs of burials have also made cremation a more attractive option for people from other religions. Among Christians, Protestants embraced the practice before Catholics, as the Vatican banned cremation until 1963 . Yet cremated Christians may still opt to include other long-standing funeral practices into their memorial services, such as reading biblical passages and using Christian symbols on urns and other mementos.
Ordering your afterlife
It is not just practices around death that have been changing, though, but attitudes.
Beginning in the 20th century, with the decrease in handling dead bodies at home, Americans grew increasingly uncomfortable with the contemplation of their own death. As my research on the popularity of true crime , mummy exhibits and celebrity deaths has shown, many people prefer to think about mortality as a phenomenon that happens to others, often in spectacular and even entertaining ways.
Anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer argued in the 1950s that with the decline in religious beliefs, death had become unbearable to think about – even death-bed scenes in literature had grown scarcer, he said. Instead, Gorer argued, depictions of death had become like pornography: something natural made taboo, a guilty pleasure, and represented in an unnatural light.
Today’s popularity of superhero and gangster films featuring violent deaths, or horror movies filled with otherworldly monsters, shows just how right he was. Death from natural causes, on the other hand, is typically shielded from view. Even the “Barbie” movie, which features a montage depicting what it means to be human, shies away from showing dying, grief or loss.
On an individual level, too, some Americans are opting to handle their remains in new ways, including methods that feel removed from the reality of death and decomposition. Rather than being planted under a field of green grass, for example, people who enjoyed hunting can choose to have their cremains placed in bullet casings – fantasizing their continued identity as killers. Those preferring a less aggressive finish might have their cremains transformed into diamond jewelry . A trace of carbon remains after bodies have been burned, and numerous companies will take that small bit and purify enough out of it to form a sparkly jewel.
Wearable memorial tokens actually have origins in the Victorian era. England’s Queen Victoria became a symbol of public mourning following the death of her husband, Prince Albert, whose hair she had fashioned into jewelry. During the era, locks from the dead were woven into designs, placed in frames and worn as pendants.
Traditional mourning jewelry, therfore, was a visible reminder of death, with the loved one’s hair on display. Today’s commercial enterprises , on the other hand, offer mass-marketed gemstones to a consumer public and look indistinguishable from any other jewelry, effectively hiding their relation to the dead body.
Lest jewelry seem too materialistic, nature lovers can request that they be incorporated into coral reefs or trees after death. The variety of products using hair and ashes keeps growing: One company creates glass sex toys that house customers’ cremains, while other services will package ashes into fireworks or scatter them during a skydive .
But despite these secular, consumer-based, highly individualized options reflecting the move away from traditional religious explanations for death, I believe each one still appeals to a desire for immortality. In that sense, they connect to a universal human longing to live on – as people who remain active, present and vital, even in death.
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4 ways to use AI in your job search
Below are specific ways you can use AI to complement your job search process and some things to consider to ensure you use it most effectively.
Craft your resume
It takes time and effort to tailor your resume to each position. A strong resume has succinct and compelling bullet points that reflect your experience. AI can help you write resume bullet points to achieve these objectives.
- Customize your resume by writing bullet points and then prompt ChatGPT to provide alternatives.
- For example, in the prompt, you can type specific responsibilities from your past jobs or internships and ask the tool to generate resume achievements with metrics based on these responsibilities.
Considerations and limitations
- AI tools make recommendations based on industry trends and norms, which could be different for the company or position you’re pursuing.
- The tool can only include the information you provide.
- Look for irregularities, details that don’t align with your experience and repetitive information.
- Be careful not to input highly sensitive or personal information into tools like ChatGPT.
Career Services tools
- Career Services offers free access to Quinncia , an online resume review tool that provides personalized feedback on your resume.
- Review resume best practices offered by Career Services.
Customize your cover letter
Writing effective cover letters can be tricky and time-consuming. Generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, can speed up the writing process. However, you can’t rely on AI tools to do all of the work. While you can use AI to write cover letters, you must edit and personalize your letters to create a genuine and professional end product. Remember, anyone can plug cover letter prompts into ChatGPT based on a job description and get the same responses as you can. The key is customization and blending your unique voice. To create the prompt in ChatGPT, you’ll need the job or internship description, your polished and well-organized resume and a cover letter framework .
- Start with your written cover letter and prompt ChatGPT to provide alternative ways to write sentences or sections within.
- Write a cover letter for this job description (paste the job description).
- That uses these experiences (paste resume content).
- Using this cover letter framework (paste the cover letter).
- You can run multiple iterations to see which versions you prefer.
- Edit the letter by copying and pasting the information into a document editor, like Word or Google Docs.
- Be sure to add relevant details, including a header, signature and the company’s contact information.
- Tailor the letter to include information demonstrating you understand the company and position.
- AI tools can make spelling mistakes and other typos. Be sure to proofread the letter and make any needed changes.
- Check out cover letter writing tips from Career Services.
- Schedule time with a Career Services advisor.
Write effective emails
During the job search process, you will likely need to communicate with potential employers using email. We recommend responding to emails from an employer within 24 hours. Identifying what to write and what not to include can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to writing professional emails. ChatGPT can be helpful when you’re under pressure, have writer’s block or want to ensure you communicate professionally.
- Paste in the original message, remove personal details and ask ChatGPT for a response.
- Skim the response options and use applicable elements from the recommended wording for your response.
- Or ask ChatGPT how to respond to the subject of the email. For example, enter a prompt about how to respond to an email asking for interview preferences.
- Direct communication by email requires a personalized response.
- Ensure the tone of the response matches the intent of the email.
- Use AI as a guide or starting point for an email response, but don’t rely on the generated content without proofreading and ensuring the email response represents your personality well.
- Career Services is available to help you understand the job search process, including how to answer an email or tips to negotiate a starting salary .
- Schedule time with a Career Services advisor.
Prepare for interviews
Answering interview questions can be challenging, especially for your first few interviews. You may not know what interview questions to expect or how to answer them best. ChatGPT and Quinncia’s mock interview tool can help you practice and prepare for interviews before they arrive so you feel more confident.
- Prompt ChatGPT with a job or internship description and ask for sample interview questions for that position.
- Consider whether you feel confident in your responses to potential questions. If not, ask ChatGPT for sample answers. You can use your experience to prompt ChatGPT for a more relevant response to a question.
- Remember that humans, not AI, will interview you. How you interact with AI will look different than how you interact with a human. Take what ChatGPT offers, critically analyze it and make it your own.
- ChatGPT and similar tools are helpful but cannot replace your creative and thoughtful interview responses.
- Remember that ChatGPT is open to everyone. Others may get that same generic response. Prompt the system with specific questions or information for more unique outputs.
- Career Services provides free access to Quinncia’s mock interview tool to help you practice interviewing.
- You can also work with a career advisor to practice and prepare for interviews. Schedule time .
Take your search to the next level
We are in an experimental phase of AI adoption with massive room for advancement. AI will eventually span all industries and embody existing technologies in unimaginable ways. As a student, you can benefit from learning how to leverage AI technology today.
Career Services is here to help you learn how to use AI effectively for your job or internship search. We are available to meet with you, answer questions, provide resources and offer training to support your career goals.