Episode #1 of the course “The basics of English writing”
Welcome to the Basics of English Writing. Whether you’re a math teacher, marketing consultant, small business owner, journalist, or just someone who’s been called out on social media one too many times for using “your” instead of “you’re,” you need to know how to communicate well. No matter how much communication technology and trends change, there will always be a need to know how to write well. If you can’t write, you can’t succeed.
The focus of this course will be on improving your writing no matter where you are in the game—whether you struggle with the basics or are a decent writer looking for tips and tricks. We’ll start by working through the basics of grammar, and later we’ll tackle more difficult concepts such as writer’s block and crafting the perfect headline or title. Now, some of the lessons may seem a tad simple or too basic, but I assure you they’re still worth it. I was reminded of several rules and even learned one or two things while going through them. It doesn’t matter where you are in your writing career; knowledge is power whether you’re reminding yourself of something or learning something new.
Before we officially begin, I want to give you some wisdom from a true master of the English language. In one of my first writing courses in college, the professor asked us to read George Orwell’s “Six Rules for Clear Writing.” These rules have been profoundly helpful in my college and professional career, so I offer them to you and encourage you to read them, re-read them, and take them seriously. Enjoy:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Once you finish this course, I hope you can discover the wonderful joy of writing and enjoy the success that comes with it!
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