Mar 6th 2018

Writing Tips For Non-Academics

writing tips

Guest post written by John Obstander on March 6, 2018 

Expressing one’s thoughts and ideas can be a tangled process, especially if there’s a given lack of experience delivering essays, papers and other written materials. Conveying ideas and putting them into words are tough if you haven’t had the practice. If you found yourself in a position of being lost for words, do not fret. There are ways to break through this plateau, and we’ll go over them in this very article.
So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of practical tips you might want to use in order to write compelling texts.

Writing Tips For Non-Academics Begins Here:

Number 1. Tell a Story.
Every text/article has a narrative arc, even heavily research-based ones. This narrative can center around people, concepts, problems, solutions and how they develop over time. As long as you can trace a narrative thread across your piece, the person/audience you’re writing for will have an easier time following and relating to your story. The 5-act dramatic structure works wonders.

Number 2. Appeal to the Senses.
To make your writing more accessible to people, make sure to evoke feelings or sensations. Or – to paraphrase – show, but don’t tell. Come up with a vivid description whenever there’s a need for it. Use metaphors and comparisons to paint a brighter picture or whenever you are having a tough time providing expository lines.

Number 3. Focus on the Details
If you tend to focus on the big picture, this step might be a bit challenging, but details rock if you use them right. The devil’s in the details and this applies heavily to writing. However, those details have to matter in the grand scheme of things. Having those details just for the sake of it is never a good idea, it makes your piece bloated and in need of trimming.

Side note, there’s a piece of great advice I’ve gotten from a colleague of mine during my stay at NerdyMates. If you’re also looking for a way to practice and entertain yourself at the same time, try sneaking in an Easter egg or two. Subtle references are often what separates good and great writing. It’s also a great to speak to your audience directly.

Number 4. Understand Your Audience
Think of your audience when composing each and every paragraph of your text.
How old are they? What do they like? How well can they relate to what you are talking about in your piece?
All these questions are essential to take into account when working on an article, as they help you be on the same wavelength as your audience. As long as what you are writing about is relevant to them, keep it up. If you realize you’re barking up the wrong tree, stop and analyze. What would your audience rather get from you? Act on it.

Number 5. Establish a Purpose
Every text has a purpose, at least there should be one. Are you informing about something? Are you trying to force a conversation? Or maybe you’re trying to sell something? You, as the author, are in charge of educating your audience, entertaining them, or raising an important discussion around a specific topic.
Make the purpose of your message clear and always align your writing with it. As soon as you lose it out of your sight, you are destined to lose the readers’ interest.

Number 6. Proofread and Edit
This point is vital to any text, period. Every person is different and if you are anything like me, then you are writing fast, and asking questions (i.e. Proofreading) later. This means that every so often you make typos, miss words, or jump from one idea to another.
If so, don’t worry: it is absolutely fixable. Proofread and edit your creation once you’re done with it.
You can always use dedicated tools to save some time. There’s an assortment of tools available online, but nothing beats the all-in-one solution offered by Ginger’s Checker. Check for typos, rephrase sentences for improved readability and use the inbuilt dictionary to the fullest extent. Accept no substitute if you ever find yourself in a tough spot.

Number 7. Develop a Unique Voice
Every person uses language to communicate, but there are idiosyncrasies that separate any given person from the rest. And it becomes a lot more apparent if you’re writing something with the scope of hundreds of pages. Do not try to mimic someone you admire as you go, but instead focus on developing your own style and tone.

This is arguably the hardest and most agonizing step: Be creative, always stay true to yourself and own up to your writing.
It is not surprising that both young and older people alike often feel horrified by the prospect of writing an elaborate text from scratch.

Don’t give in and procrastinate, everything’s not as hard as it seems. But you need to stick to a certain routine, like the one outlined above. It takes practice and discipline, but what doesn’t? Dedicate some time to learning the ropes, and who knows, maybe we’ll see your name on a book cover soon alongside the greats.

About the Author
John Obstander is a content marketer with immense experience in creating, selling copies, being a contributing writer to numerous blogs and being awesome in general. John is a true believer that high-quality writing can make our world a much better place. One text at a time.

Leave a comment

Feb 27th 2018

A List Of Common Prefixes And Suffixes

prefixsuffix

Prefixes and suffixes are a group of letters that are added in a word to change its meaning. Commonly, they are used in words to make derivatives. When they are fixed in a word, they not only change the spelling of the word but also change its meaning and the grammatical value.

Prefixes and suffixes can be useful for new English learners as they can help them build their vocabulary in quick time. Compiled by the best assignment writing service, here we go with some of the common prefixes and suffixes that you can learn and practice in your daily English usage.

Prefixes

Prefixes are set of letters that are typically used to negate, counter, or intensify the meaning of a word. The majority of prefixes are used before a noun or adjective, while some are used before a verb. Here are some of the ways you can use prefixes in a word.

To Counter The Meaning Of A Word
Prefixes like im-, anti-, de-, dis-, un-, and non- are used to mean opposite of a word. Examples include:

  • Moral changes into immoral
  • War changes into antiwar
  • Centralize changes into decentralize
  • Agree changes into disagree
  • Official changes into unofficial
  • Political changes into non-Political
  • Armed changes into unarmed

To Increase Or Decrease The Strength Of A Word
Over-, Under-, Up-, Down-, and hyper- are some of the prefixes that are used before a word to denote the degree, quality, quantity, or a trend. Examples are:

  • Rate changes into overrate
  • Perform changes into underperform
  • Scale changes into upscale
  • Fall changes into downfall

Sensitive changes into hypersensitive
To Quantify Something
Letters like mono-, bi-, uni-, di-, and omni- are some of the prefixes that indicate the quantity of something in a word.

  • Lingual changes into monolingual
  • Monthly changes into bi-monthly
  • Sex changes into unisex
  • Pole changes into dipole
  • Present changes into omnipresent

To Denote The Degree Of Something
Mega-, mini-, macro, and micro are some of the prefixes that express the degree of something in a word. Here are the common examples:

  • City changes into megacity
  • Skirt changes into miniskirt
  • Economics changes into macroeconomics
  • Organism changes into microorganism

Suffixes

Suffixes are set of letters that added in the end of a world to make noun, verb, adjective and adverb. Here are some of the ways you can add suffixes to form derivatives:

Noun Suffixes
They are the set of suffixes that are added in the end of a verb to convert it into noun. –or, -er, – al, –ist, -iance/ence, and –ment are some of the common examples of suffixes that make a noun derivative from a verb. Here are some of the examples:

  • Compute changes into computer
  • Curate changes into curator
  • Arrive changes into arrival
  • Rely changes into reliance
  • Employ changes into employment

Verb Suffixes
Verb suffixes are inserted in the end of a word to convert it into verbs. They are often made by adding letters in a noun or adjective. The most common verb suffixes are –en, -ify, ize, and –ate. Examples include:

  • Black changes into blacken
  • Note changes into notify
  • Formal changes into formalize
  • Incapacity changes into incapacitate

Adjective Suffixes
Adjective suffixes are the set of letters that change a base word into adjective. The majority of these adjectives are formed by adding a suffix in a noun that include –able/ -ible, -al, -cal, -ive, -less, and -ish to name a few. Here are the examples:

  • Desire changes into desirable
  • Convert changes into convertible
  • Britain changes into British
  • Technology changes into technological
  • Meaning changes into meaningless
  • Repetition changes into Repetitive

Adverb Suffixes
Adverb suffixes are often comprised of the letters that change an adjective into adverbs. They are formed by adding -ly into an adjective. The most common suffixes are -ly, -ily, -ally, -wise, and -wards. Here are the examples:

  • Swift changes into swiftly
  • Easy changes into easily
  • Organic changes into organically
  • Up changes into upwards
  • Length changes into lengthwise

The aforementioned are some of the most common examples of prefixes and suffixes. If you know more of them, let us know in the comment’s section.

2 Comments

Feb 26th 2018

English Phrases That Are Culturally Bound

World landmarks photo collage isolated on white background, travel, tourism and study around the world concept

English phrases that are culturally bound to the continents they derived from – Understanding the phrases means understanding the culture! Here are a couple of our favorite culturally bound phrases:

Don’t throw the baby out with the water
Albeit cruel, it isn’t as bad as it first seems. The true interpretation of this saying is simply “never to dispose something of value alongside something that is unwanted”.

The story behind this phrase:
Once upon a time, baths were taken in a tub filled with hot water. The entire family took turns to make the most use of the water in the bathtub. Usually the rounds started with the head of the house, afterwards, younger males, thereafter the women would follow, last bathed were the babies. By this time, the water was pretty murky, so literally, one could lose a baby in the water as the water gets so dirty and one could not see the bottom of the tub —henceforward, the slogan, “Don’t throw the baby out with the water” came to be.

Kick the Bucket
The literal meaning of this phrase is of course knocking over a bucket using one’s leg. But what does that have to do with its actual meaning which is “to die”?

The story behind this phrase:
In ancient history, the wooden mount that was used to hang livestock up by their feet for slaughter was named a bucket. Not surprisingly, the animals in most cases used to tussle or shudder once dead and therefore ‘kick the bucket’.

Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations 
This idiom happens to be a very twisted one. Most people find it difficult to comprehend, and even more difficult to actually use this in conversation.  The meaning of this phrase relates to the last of three-generations being wasteful of the riches gathered through the hard work of the first generation.

The story behind this phrase:
The first generation comes from a life of suffering and does everything to make sure there is a brighter tomorrow for themselves. They bear children, these are the second generation.

The second generation grows to adulthood while experiencing what their parents have been through and take up from where their parents left off. They make sound monetary decisions which significantly improve their financial status. Eventually they become well-off or even rich, hoping their children would benefit from their wealth.

The third generation has no recollection of how their grandparents started off or the struggle for a better tomorrow. Without knowledge of what it took to get to this point, this generation now gets to spend everything that their grandparents, as well as parents, have worked so hard to achieve.

To be a doubting Thomas
The story behind this phrase:
This idiom could be traced back to the scriptures (John 20: 24 – 29) and was very commonly used in the early years of the 17th century.
Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, doubted wholeheartedly the resurrection and proclaimed that he will only believe what he can see and feel. The slogan, ‘doubting Thomas’ refers to a cynic who never believes anything told until encounters a face to face confrontation.

On the wagon
Have you ever taken the time to comprehend the slogan “on the wagon”? Doesn’t it sound a whole lot clearer to simply say “I’m not drinking”?

The rumor behind this phrase:
A group of prisoners was being transported by wagon, possibly to their death. All the prisoners were permitted to have one last drink in the local tavern before their final journey to execution. The good times stopped once they were on the wagon.

Dirt Poor
There’s a very simple explanation for this phrase: if a person was poor, the floor of their dwelling was dirt. Only the wealthy had flooring other than dirt, such as wooden planks. Thus, the proverb “dirt poor.”

The story behind this phrase:
In ancient times the huts of the poor people were not covered and the ground was bare, unlike those who had a bit of money, had wooden floors.

“Dirt poor” is an American phrase which was first ever acknowledged in the 1930s, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and a search of Google Books backs up the claim.

What are your favorite cultural bound phrases?

Leave a comment

Feb 11th 2018

6 Common Comma Usage Mistakes

Comma Usage

Guest post written by Anna Marsh on February 11, 2018 

Do you get irritated by those green lines on your word document notifying you of a misplaced or missing comma? If yes, then you are among the many other writers who tend to goof their writing due to the wrong use of comma. The misuse of the comma is one of the most common forms of grammatical mistakes that writers commit in their writing pieces.

Any major mistake in the comma usage can change the connotation of a word or alter the entire meaning of a sentence. So, if you are a newbie writer who wants to be more accurate with his comma usage, here are some of the common mistakes you must avoid:

1. Adding A Comma Before “That” In A Clause
Often, we see writers using a comma before a clause that starts with “that”. This is a wrong practice because when we use “that” to introduce a restrictive clause then it does not require a comma before “that”.
Incorrect: The car, that banged on the wall was old.
Correct: The car that banged on the wall was old.

2. Not Using a Comma Between Two Independent Clauses That Are Connected By A Coordinating Conjunction
This is another common mistake in comma usage. Not using a comma between two independent clauses separated by a conjunction can change the meaning of the whole sentence.
Incorrect: I played chess but I could not win any competition.
Correct: I played chess, but I could not win any competition.

3. Using A Comma Before A Verb In Relative Clause
Putting a comma before a verb that connects a relative clause to the main clauses breaks the connection between the two clauses and changes the meaning of the sentence.
Incorrect: One of the perks of hiring an essay writing service, is the free revision.
Correct: One of the perks of hiring an essay writing service is the free revision.

4. Comma Splice and Run-On Sentence
A comma splice occurs when you place a comma between two independent clauses without a conjunction between them. A Grammarian would consider this an inappropriate use of the comma.
Incorrect: I opened the door, I fell on the ground.
Correct: I opened the door. I fell on the ground.

Furthermore, a run-on sentence occurs when you don’t put a comma when connecting two independent clauses.
Incorrect: After I finished my work I went out for a break.
Correct: After I finished my work, I went out for a break.

5. Using A Comma in An Essential Adjective Clause
An essential adjective clause is one that is vital to explain the meaning of a sentence. For example:
It is the place that I always aspired to visit in my lifetime.

In the above example, the words in italics are the essential adjective clause because it defines the particular place that the subject wanted to pay a visit and using a comma is not appropriate in this case.
Incorrect: He is the man, whom I met on the plane.
Correct: He is the man whom I met on the plane.

6. Using A Comma Before a Subordinate Conjunction
A subordinate conjunction is a type of conjunction that connects an independent clause with a dependent clause. Here are some of the examples:
– Allan missed the train because he woke up late.
– You cannot win the competition unless you excel in the training session.
– He will visit New York after the winter ends.

In the aforementioned examples, you can see that the dependent clause starts with a subordinate conjunction which connects it to the independent clause. The conjunction links the two clauses to give the right meaning. So, there is no need to use a comma between the clauses.
Incorrect: I caught a cold, because I had some ice cream.
Correct: I caught a cold because I had some ice cream.

Wrap-Up
The above-mentioned are some of the common mistakes in comma usage. Hope, this article helps you make the right use of comma in your writing.

About the Author
Anna Marsh is a Pro Writer, Educator, and a Blogger. In her blog, she likes to share her tips about the various aspects of grammar usage. She has a fascination in different cultures and languages. Being a veteran educator, she also helps students with their academic issues. You can reach her Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

4 Comments

Feb 8th 2018

New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2017

New English Words

With the year 2018 coming alive all around us, let’s take a few moments and look back at some of the new words added to the Dictionary in 2017. Some of the new words are fascinating, hence, a review is in order!

New words are typically introduced when a group uses a certain word while interacting with others outside of that group. This causes the word to spread and gain popularity across various populations until it sometimes gradually makes its way into mainstream communications. That’s when it’s considered for inclusion in the English dictionaries, such as the Oxford dictionary (OED).

This year, a noticeable trend is a rise in the number of Indian based words which were added to the English dictionary. No less than 70 such words were added to the OED during 2017, putting the total count of Indian words in the Oxford English Dictionary on close to 1000. Why has this happened? Some might ask, well, the answer is simple:

English has a centuries-long history in India, during which it has played significant roles in the country’s society.
First: It served as a means of communication between merchants and missionaries.
Second: It was made the country’s primary language during colonial administration.
Finally: It obtained an official status in the independent India and thus continued to function as a lingua Franca in one of the world most linguistically diverse nations.

You might have seen these words being used on social media outlets and wondered about their meaning and origin – so here they are for you to revisit, together with their definition and some sample usage sentences from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Here’s a couple of our favorites from the list:

Belter:
A loud singer or song.
Sentence Example: She was a belter in her performance last night.

Yampy:
Someone who is daft, mad or losing the plot.
Sentence Example: “That is the yampy man I was referring to yesterday.”

Natak:
Drama or dramatic art.
Sentence Example: The natak we are about to experience is certainly worth the money and time.”

Shuttler:
Regular travel back and forth over an established, often short route by a vehicle.
Sentence Example: Hail that shuttler please!”

Freak flag:
Defiant, or proud exhibition of traits which are considered as unconventional.
Sentence Example: “She is such a freak flag when she wants to be!”

Wifty-wafty:
Silly, dippy, kooky persona.
Sentence Example: “Ever since we moved to the new neighborhood, the dog has become so wifty-wafty.”

Share with us your favorite new English words!

Leave a comment