At Tutoring For Success, we have had many administrative assistants during the years. One of the most important qualifications for this position is to be a good writer. This is because we, like many companies, regularly send out emails and write blogs. Errors in grammar and punctuation make us look bad, especially for a tutoring company.
Anyone can become a better writer with some effort. If you are a student, take the time to review your teachers’ comments on your essays. If there aren’t many comments and you received less than an A, make an appointment with the teacher to discuss how to improve your essay for next time. Here are my tips for children, teens, and adults, to enhance your writing to the next level.
Use correct Grammar and Punctuation
- All sentences should be complete sentences.
- Use Word or Grammarly.com to check your grammar.
- Use commas correctly: for lists, to separate a clause, or to add natural breaks.
- Correct: Bill will finish his work and then pick you up. Incorrect: Bill will finish his work, and then pick you up.
- For more help on where to place commas, click here for detailed rules on Grammarly.com.
For essays, write the first draft freely
In order to find your voice and have your essay or story move along freely, do not worry too much about grammar or spelling during the first draft.
Plan and Organize your Essay using an Outline
There are many ways to plan an essay or story. You can use an outline on Word or use a graphic organizer. You can find many free graphic organizers online, like this one
from teacherspayteachers.com, or come up with your own method. Every essay should have an introduction and conclusion. Everything in between should support your stated argument.
Use effective transitions
The ending of each paragraph should flow into the beginning of the next paragraph.
Support your arguments
Use examples and documented evidence to support your arguments. Always cite your sources.
Revising and editing are key
You are not finished after the first draft. To make your writing shine, go back and make the following changes:
- Check for grammar, punctuation, and complete sentences.
- Change some of your words to more dynamic words (eg. instead of good, use fantastic, wonderful, or awesome). Use Thesaurus.com to enhance word choices. Also, vary your words.
- Start your essay with something to grab the reader. Notice how newspaper articles often start with a story about an individual person to later discuss an issue.
- Use an active voice.
- Vary sentence length.
- Cut unnecessary words and sentences.
- If an assigned essay has a word count you are trying to reach, do not reach it with extra long sentences and repetition. Keep your writing clear and concise.
- Find your voice. If you receive help with your writing, make sure the style is still your own.
I proofread every email I write and often find typos. You will look smarter and more educated just by correcting errors and writing polished emails, essays, and anything that needs to be turned in or read by someone else.
It is important to become a competent writer for all subjects in school and almost any profession. If you go the extra mile to make your writing interesting, engaging, and clear, you will be rewarded with good grades, promotions, and the satisfaction of getting your message across without boring your readers.
By Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success