by Ron Kurtus
Readers have sent in a total of 140 comments and questions on Writing issues. They are listed according to date.
You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.
|Explain infinitives and gerunds||General||India|
|Teaching writing to ESL beginners||General||Cambodia|
|Is vocabulary important in essay writing?||Vocabulary||Australia|
|Suggested writing resources||Resources||USA|
|What happened to book report app?||Book Report||USA|
|Student lost her book report||Book Report||USA|
|Wants to write a memoir||General||UK|
|Taking the TOEFL IBT test||General||Ecuador|
|Write this essay for me||General||Nigeria|
|Transcribing book material||Book Royalties||USA|
|Wants the basics of writing||General||India|
|All I want in life is to write||General||Canada|
|Do I get credit for this course?||General||Australia|
Explain infinitives and gerunds
April 19, 2017
Please explain about infinitives and gerunds in English, sir.
Kanchana - India (28013)
English learners often have difficulty with gerunds and infinitives.
A gerund is the –ing form of a verb that functions the same as a noun. For example, “Running is fun.” In this sentence, “running” is the gerund. It acts just like a noun.
The infinitive form of a verb appears with the word “to.” For example, you can say “I like to run.” In this sentence, “to run” is the infinitive.
I hope that helps.
October 11, 2016
Cheeky me? I came across your page with helpful resources for authors and wondered whether you might be interested in adding to your list our infographic that offers alternative words to commonly used ones.
Jennifer - USA (27360)
Thanks for the resource. I added a link to Writing Resources.
October 4, 2016
I came across your page with helpful resources for writers at and wondered whether you might be interested in adding our infographic section containing vocabulary, grammar, and writing techniques to your site or on any page you find it fitting?
Jennifer - USA (27343)
Teaching writing to ESL beginners
June 3, 2016
I am teaching ESL beginners, usually grade 1 but occasionally a little older ones with similar ability. Lessons vary from teaching (at least speaking) every day to one session a week.
I want to get the students writing their own text a.s.a.p. to make writing meaningful exercise. It is rare that the children have been exposed to books and there are no libraries so book/story reports are out of question. The children's vocabulary is usually very limited as are their experiences compared to western children (no such things as hobbies or pets with names), so the topic and style has to be also very simple.
Could you suggest any more creative writing than just repeating sentences from their course books?
Annika - Cambodia (27052)
I think a good place to start with the children is to write short descriptions of their family and friends. Also, they could write about things they like to do. It does not have to be as a story, but it is a start in using words and sentences to describe things of interest.
You might have them read back their descriptions to the class. Note that having the class applaud after the student reads can be very constructive to his or her confidence.
I hope these ideas help. Best wishes for success in your class and in teaching the children writing skills.
Is vocabulary important in essay writing?
November 25, 2015
How important is word usage in essay writing? I am hopeful that by having a vast vocabulary it will improve my grades.
Personally I don't see it improving my grades all that much... I think it comes down to coherency. A good vocabulary is rather a sprinkling on the top, or perhaps more so if the words are used with excellent precision.
Thomas - Australia (26564)
I don't think that a vast vocabulary will really do much to improve your grades.
In essay writing, you want to use words that get across your message but yet are easy for your reader to understand. It is always important to think of your audience. You want to impress your instructor that you know the subject and still write so that other students understand the material. Of course, you don't want to be "showing off" your vocabulary.
Some writers describe or explain things in their essays by elaborating, such as is done in fiction. I prefer being more concise and picking the "right words" for the concept.
You are correct about seeking coherency. Also, know your teacher and what type of writing is expected.
I hope these ideas help. Best wishes for success in your writing.
Suggested writing resources
October 20, 2015
Hi, School for Champions
Hope this email finds you well.
I am Jennifer Frost, and I am an English teacher and the administrator of Grammarcheck.net and EnglishGrammar.org.
I landed on your Self Publishing resources section while looking for people online I'd like to connect with.
Would you be open to checking out if my site is worth citing and sharing with your audience through one of your pages?
Grammarcheck.net contains resources, including articles and infographics, on grammar and writing, as well as a free online grammar checker.
Here’s the link: http://www.grammarcheck.net (and/or http://www.englishgrammar.org/)
Or I can also contribute an article to your site if this is something you welcome.
Either way, I’d love to know what you think and accept whatever your decision would be :)
Thank you and have a great day!
Jennifer - USA (26456)
Thanks for the suggested resources. I added them to the Writing Resources page.
However, I do have a suggestion for your Grammar Check website. Although you have a 30% off coupon listed, there is no indication how much it costs to use the service. Is it $10 or $1000? The fees need to be stated up front.
Best wishes with your work.
What happened to book report app?
September 25, 2014
Our 3 classes of 5th graders have been using the link for the non-fiction book report template for a few years now. We have noticed that your page now says that link is not available. Is it just down temporarily, or have you removed it permanently from your site? We would like to know so we can use an alternative if necessary. Thanks!
Carolyn - USA (25399)
I recently received an email from a mother who said her daughter lost the whole book report she had written on the template app. Thus, I temporarily removed the files to try to make them more fail-safe.
Since then, I updated the template to make sure students don't lose their work.
If you've experienced any problems with the app, let me know.
Best wishes for your students' success in writing.
Student lost her book report
September 19, 2014
Hi: my daughter recently completed book report on your website. She got to the point of saying she was "finally finished" and then all of her work vanished! She was really upset. Was it going on with your website? Can she get her work back??
Thanks for your time.
Peter - USA (25368)
I'm very sorry that your daughter spent time on the book report application and then lost her work. I included several notes that state the app is to be used to just get started. I also have instructions that the person should copy and paste the finished draft to a word processor to complete the task. I've bold-faced those warnings.
At the very least, she organized her thoughts and hopefully was able to write the report.
Again, I apologize. It is supposed to be a helpful way to get started and not a tool for a complete report.
To make sure there are not such problems, I updated the tool.
Wants to write a memoir
July 2, 2014
I want to write a book about my life story and my thoughts and feelings about everything in it. I think it could make very interesting reading if I do it well. Getting started, putting it together and making it easy to read seems difficult along with getting it published
I'm not sure where to start although I have lots of ideas. I wondered if you could give me some guidance?
Thanks very much
Michelle - UK (25077)
Many writers start on their memoirs by putting entries in a journal or writing a blog. From that material, you can re-organize it into a book.
Also, look over some successful memoirs for ideas on look and feel.
Although a memoir is nonfiction, you can get some ideas from Succeed in Writing Fiction.
Since getting a book published can be difficult, you can try Self-Publishing, once you have completed your manuscript.
Finally, look for writing or critique groups in your area. It is good to get together with other writers for support and ideas. There are also such groups via Facebook, but local ones are always better.
Best wishes for success with your book.
PS: Start now!
Taking the TOEFL IBT test
May 15, 2014
I need the most important, effective and quick instructions to succeed in writing, in 7 days I will take the IBT TOEFL test, this skill I feel is still weak in me.
Dennis - Ecuador (24961)
The best suggestion I could give to help you in taking the test is to do a search on "TOEFL IBT practice".
There are a number of good, free websites that give sample questions and helpful tips on taking the test.
Also, get plenty of rest the night before the test, and go in with a positive attitude of doing well in the test.
Best wishes for a success in your test.
Write this essay for me
April 29, 2014
Write this essay for me titled: the power of your vote, a catalyst for a stable and united Nigeria
nnajiaku - Nigeria (24906)
The whole idea of writing an essay is for you to improve your skills in research and expressing yourself in writing. Having someone else write for you does not help you grow.
You have a good title. Now, do some research on the subject and express your views in your essay.
Transcribing book material
May 23, 2013
I was recently asked to transcribe a book on someone's life and had a question on payment. He was asking what I would charge and I wanted to know if transcribers can get royalties or if it is usually just a flat fee (work for hire). Please respond as soon as possible. Thank you very much!
Greg - USA (23714)
Typically, transcribing material is done on an hourly basis. Sometimes it is done per word. Just as an editor or cover designer does not get a royalty, neither do transcribers. Plus, in seeking a royalty instead of getting paid upfront, you face the risk of making no money if the book doesn't sell.
A good way to do it is to transcribe a sample section as a starter. Then you can estimate how long it will take according to the difficulty of the material. Once you have a good idea, you can negotiate a rate or fee.
Best wishes in your venture.
Wants the basics of writing
July 17, 2012
basics of writing
mahadeva B S - India (22785)
Go through the lessons in Succeed in Writing to give you an introduction to good wirting.
All I want in life is to write
April 1, 2012
to whom this may concern...
all i want in life is to write. im a striving author im also a mother of three thanks to my husbanf and children bring over 9 i have alot of time to write but from reading oviously you can tell i need help with punctuation and grammar and spelling iv'e been coming the internet sending millions of people my story on how all i want or writting lessons cresspondence by mail or by e-mail anything i just know i cant offard the 500 dollard fees that some sites are asking for if by any chance you can send me what courses you do have in writting i would forever remember and thank you in every single book i can get published one day urs truly jessika savage
jessika - Canada (22551)
You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on fees to improve your spelling and grammar.
If you are using Microsoft Word to write your material, it has a very good spell-checker and grammar checker. It will point out words and expressions where you need to make corrections. Even online blogs have spell-checkers built in.
The big thing is not to be careless in your writing. Think of the reader, such that you put in a period at the end of a sentence and capitalize the first word of a sentence. Not to do this is simply careless writing.
A good book to help getting started in writing is "Writer Mama" by Christina Katz. It is intended for mothers who want to get the time to write while raising their children. It gives some good tips on writing ideas.
Taking a writing course is often an excuse for not writing. It is good to write your thoughts and ideas every day in a journal. But also, go over what you write to make it readable. You want to have pride in what you write.
I'm going to be putting up some material on grammar soon. Also check my Fiction Writing area.
Best wises for success in your writing.
Do I get credit for this course?
March 1, 2011
once i have completed the course for writing do i get a letter or certificate to say i have completed it
chloe - Australia (21272)
Our lessons are meant to help you learn and supplement a regular course. You can use the various lessons of interest to help you.
Since there is no registration and no exams, there is no certification for using the lessons. But also, they are free to use.
Best wishes on improving your writing skills.
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