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Advice for Good Writing

  1. Homegrown Advice.  Some easy-reading general suggestions from the Writing Program Director
  2. Grammar Checklist.  Want to know what your professor meant when he wrote "dangling modifier" on your paper in red?  Here's a concise list of "common errors," with explanations and examples (U of Wisconsin).
  3. Grammar Practice.  A more extensive site with handouts and exercises on basics in grammar, punctuation, and spelling (Purdue's Online Writing Lab).
  4. More Grammar Practice.  An easy-to-use hypertextual site with instructions and lots of examples on parts of speech and sentence structure.  Still not sure if you understand it?  Take a quiz at the end of each section.  Help on pronouns, verbs, modifiers, phrases and clauses, sentence- and paragraph-building, diction, and spelling (U of Ottawa).
  5. Grammar A-Z. An extensive "A-Z" encyclopedic approach to grammar and style.  If you know what you're looking for (such as "dangling modifier" or "dash"), this site has concise entries with lots of interesting cross-links.  You're bound to find an answer to that burning question (from Jack Lynch at Rutgers U).
  6. The Right Word. An extensive alphabetical listing of common word-usage errors, such as all ready vs. already, effect vs. affect, which vs. that.  Interesting and informative explanations (from Paul Brian at Washington SU).
  7. The Elements of Style.  Strunk and White's classic.  Every writer should read the advice in this book at least once.  In this 1918 version (hey, it's free), they have good ideas about usage, composition, and form.
  8. Clear Sentences.  Checklist help with things like active voice, trimming excess verbiage, eliminating vagueness, etc. (U of Wisconsin)
  9. Sentence building.  A "10-minute tour" on using phrases and clauses to build effective complex sentences (U of Chicago).
  10. Dr. Syntax  provides a systematic tour of the parts of speech and then demonstrates the relationship between structure and building a good argument (Grinnell).
  11. Argue.  A short article about the basics:  the role of argumentation in academic writing and ideas about how to put together an effective argument.  And we can still be friends. (U of NC at Chapel Hill)
  12. Rhetoric.  An interesting and extensive tour of key terms and concepts from classical and renaissance rhetoric.  Impressive party material.