Do you want to impress employers, editors, or online readers with your writing? Do you want to get A grades on term papers and essays? Do you want to become a good writer – in creative non-fiction, journalism, fiction, or academic writing – as quickly as possible?
The secret to this writing success is not studying 200 grammar and style points in the comprehensive writing textbooks. Instead, this course – designed by an experienced university professor and published author with Oxford University Press – shows you the only sentence-level lessons you need to know to write well. These are the 7 most common problems found in people’s writing. These problems most likely lurk – like weeds – in your writing right now.
If you complete the lessons, exercises, and assignments honestly and fully as outlined in this course, then your writing will improve in just a few weeks of intensive study. If you do not find this course helpful, you may request a refund within 30 days, no questions asked.
These lessons, exercises, and assignments were designed and tested at the University of Toronto and York University with thousands of undergraduate students. Many undergraduate students improved their grades by a whole grade category after completing these lessons, finding that this short list of key lessons provides clarity. Students have applied these lessons in the workplace to great success.
Enrol now and complete this course to produce writing that gets you the job, earns you an A grade, lands you a writing contract, or impresses that magazine or newspaper editor.
In this comprehensive course, I will help you:
Your writing transformation awaits...
Remove wasted words and fillers from your sentences.
Little words like "very" contribute nothing to sentences. Remove them for better clarity.
Stretchers are words that prolong sentences unnecessarily. Why use them?
These kinds of words sound "big" but don't help you communicate. Avoid them.
In this lecture, I respond to some questions students typically have about Economy.
In this video, I outline the nature of verbs and some problems with verbs.
The best verbs are concrete or strong, which means they evoke images immediately.
A step down from Concrete Verbs, Weak Verbs work -- sometimes -- but should be mostly avoided.
Dead verbs are the worst verbs because they provide no images for the reader. Avoid them most of the time.
Explains the outcomes of dead verbs on your writing.
The active voice word order is preferred over the passive voice. Learn why here.
Active voice word order is explained with a formula.
The passive voice word order is long and wordy -- see why.
Passive voice word order isn't just wordy, it can raise moral complications.
There are a few instances when using the passive voice word order is okay.
This lecture provides an overview of the importance of strong nouns.
Understand what a noun is and how some nouns are better than others.
Recognize the function of a pronoun and how to best use them.
Understand that pronouns can cause problems in writing, particularly when they have an unclear reference.
A survey of the key ideas in this section.
See exactly what a clichés is and why it's such a problem in writing.
An examination of the reasons behind people's use of clichés.
Occasionally, it's okay to use a cliché. Learn about those instances in this lecture.
This lecture provides a final word on being original — it's not as hard as you think.
Be able to see parallelism both in its surface and under the surface forms.
Add more verbs to your writing with verb lists.
Add more strong nouns to your writing with noun series.
Avoid sprinkling adjectives all over your writing by using -- occasionally -- adjective series.
Avoid peppering your writing with adverbs by using -- occasionally -- adverb series.
Preposition series can provide useful effects in writing.
Taking the "series" idea further, this lecture shows how you can combine grammatical elements to make more meaning in your writing.
A few final thoughts on parallelism as a technique.
An overview of the principles of sentence variation discussed in this section.
Five patterns that students can use to vary their sentences.
Recognize how to use short sentences for effect in action and in presenting important points.
The long sentence -- often called the freight-train sentences -- creates certain effects in writing.
See the contrast that occurs when a short sentence comes after a long one.
Dr. Duncan Koerber has taught writing and communications courses for the past 10 years at six Canadian universities to thousands of students.
Oxford University Press recently published his writing textbook, Clear, Precise, Direct: Strategies for Writing (2015). Available on Amazon, the book considers the seven most common errors (interfering factors) in writing and how to improve them (enhancing factors). His second book, Crisis Communication in Canada, is in the revision process for University of Toronto Press.
Currently a full-time assistant professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, Duncan Koerber worked for nearly 10 years in reporting and editing roles for the London Free Press, the Mississauga News, and the University of Toronto Medium. He has freelanced for magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star.
Duncan Koerber has been a successful freelance editor, earning a 95% success rating on Upwork.
Duncan Koerber has a bachelor of arts degree in English, Professional Writing, and Political Science from the University of Toronto (2001), a master of arts degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario (2003), and a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture from York University and Ryerson University (2009).
His academic writing, which focuses on media and journalism history, writing pedagogy, and public relations crisis communication, has been published in the Canadian Journal of Communication, the Journal of Canadian Studies, Journalism History, Media History, Composition Studies, Canadian Journal of Media Studies, and Sport History Review.