Once you have got your ideas in order, as described in ‘Getting reading to write’, you need to get down to writing.
It’s important to express yourself as clearly and succinctly as possible, but this may not come naturally.
whether you prefer a structure based on theme, or an alphabetical one, or whether you respond to information presented visually.
Learning to write grammatically and use punctuation correctly may help you express yourself clearly and accurately, but it is not the sum total of good English.
Indeed, a recent report on writing standards of UK students showed that many had a poor vocabulary, used phrasing and punctuation inconsistently, and were generally unable to form well constructed sentences, let alone structure an argument.
In ‘Structuring written work’, we described how a good essay will develop an argument, which means ‘planning in some considerable detail how the essay will flow from one idea to the next; how different theories and arguments from different authors will be introduced; what conclusions will be reached; and how they will be supported by relevant evidence, or deductive reasoning’.If so, you may be having difficulty with the basic rules of grammar.In the UK, a whole generation missed out on learning the rules of grammar as educational theorists failed to perceive the link between grammar and the ability to communicate in writing.In order to do this, you need to be familiar with how to construct the basic building blocks of language, which means being able to write a grammatically correct sentence.You also need to learn how to develop a good, clear style, and use the paragraph effectively.Words can be divided into different classes according to their functions in the sentence. Punctuation indicates the rhythm of speech – the pauses and their significance.Its correct use will add a lot to your ability to write clearly.They also contain more than one clause – a grammatical unit with a verb.In the following examples, there are two sets of subjects and two verbs: A compound sentence is one where two independent clauses are linked by a ‘joining’ word or conjunction such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.Good written communication also means writing in a way that is clear and logical, and with an economy that eschews unnecessary words.Under the broad heading of style, we shall look at using the paragraph effectively, then at how to write simply and concisely, and finally, bearing in mind how conventions vary according to audience, and what are the distinguishing marks of an academic style. If it is used badly – if too long or short, or if there is a sudden break in sense within or between – then the meaning is obscured.