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Feedback Q&A on Writing

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.



List of most recent 10 letters

Topic

Title

Country

General Explain infinitives and gerunds India
 
Resources Resource USA
 
General Resources USA
 
General Teaching writing to ESL beginners Cambodia
 
Vocabulary Is vocabulary important in essay writing? Australia
 
Resources Suggested writing resources USA
 
Book Report What happened to book report app? USA
 
Book Report Student lost her book report USA
 
General Wants to write a memoir UK
 
General Taking the TOEFL IBT test Ecuador
 

Next 10

 





Explain infinitives and gerunds

Topic: General

Question

April 19, 2017

Please explain about infinitives and gerunds in English, sir.

Kanchana - India

28013

Answer

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.

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Resource

Topic: Resources

Question

October 11, 2016

Hi,
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

Answer

Thanks for the resource. I added a link to Writing Resources.

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Resources

Topic: General

Question

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?
Sincerely,

Jennifer - USA

27343

Answer

Thanks for the resource. I added a link at Writing Resources, Technical Documentation Resources, and Good Grades Resources.

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Teaching writing to ESL beginners

Topic: General

Question

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

Answer

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.

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Is vocabulary important in essay writing?

Topic: Vocabulary

Question

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

Answer

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.

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Suggested writing resources

Topic: Resources

Question

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

Answer

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.

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What happened to book report app?

Topic: Book Report

Question

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

Answer

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.

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Student lost her book report

Topic: Book Report

Question

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

Answer

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.

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Wants to write a memoir

Topic: General

Question

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

Kind regards

Michelle

Michelle - UK

25077

Answer

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!

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Taking the TOEFL IBT test

Topic: General

Question

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

Answer

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.

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Summary

Hopefully, this reader feedback has helped provide information about Writing issues.


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Feedback Q&A on Writing




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