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Author Topic: How to improve writing?  (Read 1351 times)

Blunderbuss

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How to improve writing?
« on: July 30, 2007, 07:37:52 PM »
I am an engineer, so as you can imagine, my writing skill is absolutely terrible.  Almost all of my professors, after giving me their high As, recommend that I work on improving my "prose" (not legal writing, but just writing in general).  What would be a best book for this purpose?  Would Chicago Manual of Style be a good choice or is that too specific? 

Strong

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 07:51:55 PM »
I think style manuals are for fine tuning and you are looking for some help with general writing. Eliminating split infinitives is not going to significantly increase the readability of your prose. See what might be on Amazon, they might even have a book on writing for engineers/scientists or whatever.


ANBUDOM

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 07:53:43 PM »
a lot of professors use that strunk and white book.  there was also some book that my civpro professor gave out for free that he highly recommended... i honestly don't remember the name nor do i remember opening it but i know there are a lot of great books out there specifically designed to help your legal writing.

it's very smart that you're starting early on your legal writing because a lot of really bright students don't do too hot on their legal writing assignments because their writing isn't the particular flavor that law professors are looking for.  i also think that the better legal writers also pop out better exams.  a student that knows everything about a particular subject will not get that A if s/he can't express the answer in the right way. 
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ANBUDOM

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 10:24:53 PM »
yeah that's it... professors love recommending that one. 
testing testing 1 2 3

Blunderbuss

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 12:07:18 AM »
found a free version online, is this the whole book or just a summary of it?

http://www.bartleby.com/141/index.html

SergioCQH

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 12:44:49 AM »
The best way to improve your writing is to increase your reading. You have to love to read before you become a truly good writer.

KrazyNazi

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 01:02:22 AM »
The best way to improve your writing is to increase your reading. You have to love to read before you become a truly good writer.

Disagree.  Reading is not the same as writing.  Reading involves recognition, whereas writing involves mostly "reproduction".  One cannot reproduce sometimes, even things he has perfectly memorized.  For example, one can easily distinguish between British and American accent, but often cannot produce both.
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NewHere

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 03:16:06 AM »
Writing is not the same as reading, but reading does help, especially if you set out to read with the express purpose to improve your writing.

What I often do -- I'm not a native speaker, so my English could use some improvement -- is read something like The Economist and underline those word uses and turns of phrase that sound good or express a concept very concisely, which, while I do recognize them, are not part of my active vocabulary.

If you do this, you can get more out of it by going over the underlined phrases again, perhaps copying them into a notebook, but it may not even be necessary; just reading well-written material and paying attention to what it is that makes it well written can improve your own writing.

Gwiz

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Re: How to improve writing?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 08:15:53 AM »
how about this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/0205313426/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product/002-7370244-0466420

Did you read the table of contents?  It seems a little basic to me.  You should just take one of those adult classes  on writing in your neighborhood.  You could also just write something on your own and get your favorite professor to critique the writing.  Practice, practice, practice.  You're probably not as bad off as you think, and I heard legal writing is a totally different animal.
I wanna be a gunner when I grow up.