|That's my last sentence on this topic. Ever.|
In your view, what are the TOP TEN problems that students experience in their writing?
Obviously, it depends quite a lot on the age group, their experience, and whether English is their first language. In this blog I'm thinking about weaker students, aged 11+.
It is clear, however, that many of the problems also affect the work of undergraduates and adult business people. And we're constantly striving to improve our writing, as earlier versions of this informal post would undoubtedly demonstrate.
In my experience, many common writing problems are persistent and recurrent.
Is a quick fix really that difficult? Do you make of a checklist for your students?
How do you empower your students to take more professional care and control of their work?
Here is my draft list:
Many sentences that need a verb don't have one.
There is a tendency to use phrases, or sentence fragments, rather than sentences.
The flow of ideas is restricted by a lack of connectives and transitional phrases.
Paragraphs are not used at all.
Essays show an inability to compose an effective introduction or conclusion.
There is a failure to vary sentence length, for example, by using a range of simple, compound and complex constructions.
The vocabulary is limited and many words are repeated.
The style of writing is colloquial rather than formal; the style does not suit the target reader, or is inappropriate to theme and/or genre.
A monstrous flood of words has replaced the punctuation of sentences.
What's the best way to fix these issues, in your view?
Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(2013) ... also available on Kindle, or to download. A bargain!