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Writer’s Toolbox: Phrasal Verbs

2 Jun 2009
Phrasal verbs are idiomatic expressions. An idiom is a phrase with a meaning very different from the literal definition of its words. For example, to have “a chip on your shoulder” means you are upset or resentful for something that happened in the past. Knowing the definition of “chip” or “shoulder” will not help you to understand the idiom.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Tricky Rules with Commas

26 May 2009
Comma use can be tricky. In this week’s Writer’s Toolbox, we take a close look at comma rules, and best practices for using commas in your sentences.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Continuous and Non-Continuous Verbs

19 May 2009
English verbs can be divided into three major categories. Normal verbs describe actions and can be expressed in any tense. Non-continuous verbs describe a condition or a state of being.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Combining Past and Future with the Future Perfect

12 May 2009
The Future Perfect tense lets you talk about a time in the future when something will already be done. The Future Perfect consists of some form of the phrase “will have” or “shall have”, or some form of the phrase “be going to,” followed by the past participle form of a verb.
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Writer’s Toolbox: British and American Spelling

5 May 2009
There are many differences between British and American spelling. Commonwealth countries tend to follow the British rules of spelling, although Canada follows many American rules.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Proper Parallel Structure

28 Apr 2009
Parallel structure, when used properly, adds variety and elegance to your writing and reduces repetition. Improper parallel structure, though, can make your writing clumsy or confusing. Take a look at this article, where we explain what parallel structure is, how to use it properly, and how to spot errors.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Guide to Proofreading and Editing

21 Apr 2009
Editing is not the same thing as proofreading. Editing works on a larger scale. When you edit, you look at the overall document and what it is trying to say. Proofreading works on a much smaller scale. When you are satisfied with the basic structure of the document, confident that it says what you wanted to say, then you proofread to check the small details.
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Writer’s Toolbox: The Essentials of Writing in English

14 Apr 2009
Good writing in English has several key components. Good writing is clear and unambiguous, with descriptive words that are easy to understand, proper grammar and punctuation, and careful use of pronouns and modifiers. Good writing is concise. Unnecessary words and repetitious phrases are removed.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Subject-Verb Agreement

7 Apr 2009
Subject-verb agreement can be a very tricky area. Each part of the sentence looks fine, but when you put them together, they just don’t fit. Our top expert has written an article that breaks it all down, making this error easy to understand, detect, and correct.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Understanding and Avoiding Misplaced Modifiers

31 Mar 2009
Misplaced modifiers are a very common error in written English. Here we have a new article that gives you specific, practical tools for finding and fixing misplaced and dangling modifiers.
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Writer’s Toolbox: A Guide to Business English

24 Mar 2009
Successful business writing means taking some extra care with grammar and spelling, clearly stating your main point, writing clearly, and giving some thought to your audience. In this article we present some tips and tricks for quality Business English speaking and writing.
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Writer’s Toolbox: 10 Common Spelling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

17 Mar 2009
Spelling is a challenge for all of us from time to time. A good spell checker can do a lot for you, but you can’t rely on it for everything. You might correctly spell the wrong form of a word, or choose the wrong international spelling. In this article we look at 10 common spelling mistakes, and show you tips for getting these tricky words correct.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Breaking Bad News Gently in a Business Letter

10 Mar 2009
Sooner or later every businessperson has to give someone bad news. Whether it’s rejecting a request, dealing with a complaint, or announcing a change, there is a structured approach to delivering bad news gently and effectively.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Using the Active Voice For Stronger Writing

3 Mar 2009
One of the most frequently-heard pieces of advice for writers is to use the active voice instead of the passive voice. What does this mean? In this article we show you how to identify the passive voice, how to change it to the active voice, and when you should leave things in the passive voice.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Guide to English Grammar

24 Feb 2009
English grammar is a huge subject, and one that often stumps both native and non-native speakers alike. In this in-depth guide we look at the vast field of English grammar and pick out some points to help you avoid common pitfalls in your writing.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Improve Your Writing By Limiting Adverbs

16 Feb 2009
Adverbs are an essential part of every writer’s toolbox, but sometimes they are overused. Do you know when to use adverbs, and when to hold back? Check out our special article for help.
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Writer’s Toolbox: Avoiding Unnecessary Repetition

9 Feb 2009
One of the most important things you can do to improve your writing is trim the fat. One of the best ways to do that is to scan your writing for unnecessary repetition.
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Writer’s Toolbox: English Guide for ESL Learners

2 Feb 2009
English can be a challenging second language. It’s a big language with a daunting amount of vocabulary. Much of that vocabulary is confusing or contradictory, with homonyms that sound the same but are spelled differently, and inconsistent spelling rules. Grab our specialized guide for ESL learners and get a head start today!
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Writer’s Toolbox: Putting Variety Into Your Sentences

27 Jan 2009
You have probably seen interesting topics covered by dull writers. Something that should be exciting seems dry and boring on the page. In this article, we look at a key technique for making a plodding paragraph get up and dance. Putting some variety in your sentences can make dull writing dynamic. Check out the article to learn how.
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