WRITING IN ENGLISH
Below are 5 types of writing tasks that English learners can find daunting including college application essays, emails, letters, research articles, abstracts, memos and reports. We offer you advice on how to handle each. For an extensive discussion on memos and reports, please click here. Or read on below for tips on writing emails, business letters, research articles, abstracts and application essays.
1. Understand that there are seven basic parts to an email:
- The identification of the sender
- The identification of the recipient
- The subject line
- The body of the email
- The closing
- The signature
- The disclaimer
This format is probably universal in any language.
2. The purpose of your email should be stated in one sentence in the subject line of the email. For example, are you writing to:
3. The body of the email is the most important part.
- Begin with a neutral and polite greeting – for example:
Dear Mr Smith or
Good morning Mr Smith.
- Start with a polite phrase – for example:
“Thank you for….”
“please confirm that”
- Keep the body of your message clear and concise by using short sentences, proper punctuation and by using grammar rules – especially tenses – correctly.
4. End with a polite closing such as:
- Kind Regards
- Sincerely yours
- I remain at your disposal.
- Yours Faithfully
- Respectfully yours
5. Become acquainted with as much email vocabulary as you possibly can
- File size
- High priority
- Importance option
- Mark as read
6. Be sure your email uses the right level of formality and that you have put a legal disclaimer at the end of your email.[/tab][tab title=”Application Essays”]
- Think of your audience before you even begin and set the right tone.
- Be open-minded and express it in your writing
- Read the instructions carefully before you even begin so that you are answering the question asked and no the one you thought was asked.
- Be concise. Follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) where appropriate.
- Do not exceed the page limit.
- Be yourself but also try to be creative without going overboard; show that you have a sense of humor and can be edgy but remain cultured and intelligent.
- Begin with a question for maximum impact.
- Answer the WH questions: Who, What, When and How
- Be yourself.
- Proofread and edit your work before you send it off.
WRITING AN ABSTRACT FOR AN ARTICLE
, you should write your abstract after you write the article or report. This is counterintuitive but all the experts agree that it is the most effective and efficacious way to write an abstract because that way you can capture exactly what the article is about and hit the main points. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with enough but concise information that entices them to want to read more of your article.
Next, be concise. Follow the KISS principles: Keep it Short and Simple. Aim to use one paragraph to summarize the main points of the article. Crunch a maximum amount into each sentences (make every sentence count) without compromising the brevity rule.
Next, mention your hypothesis, method, findings and conclusion if possible in no more than two sentences. And keep your sentence length under 25 words per sentence.
Finally, summarize the summary in no more than two sentences.
[/tab][tab title=”Research article”]First, begin by consulting the journal for specific editorial requirements.
Then, begin to pre-plan your writing by organizing your ideas according to specific points you want to make.
Write your introduction. This should be limited to one page if possible and should adequately alert the reader about what you intend to prove or disprove and the methodology you plan to use. Your introduction should answer the “so what” question: Why is the research or article important? What question or issue does it address? What answers does it provide? What is your hypothesis. Is this a quantitative design or a qualitative study?
Plan a rough number of paragraphs you want to write. Each paragraph should generally cover a separate point. Organize your p paragraphs logically and sequentially so that your work will flow smoothly once you have a finished product. Paragraph structure is very important.
Follow the rules of English grammar with regard to tenses, articles and tone. For example, use the present tense to report facts. Use the past tense to report findings and results. Active voice is preferred over passive voice. Use articles and determiners such as “a” “an” “the” “my” “these” and “those” appropriately .
Cite your sources appropriately using primary sources such as research articles over other secondary material such as websites if possible.
If this is a an empirical paper, state your design in a methodology section. Is this a quantitative or qualitative design?
- Use 12 point times Roman font unless otherwise instructed
- Double space
- Do not exceed the page limit
- Number your pages consecutively
[/tab][tab title=”Letters”]Like emails, letters can be either formal or informal, although in a business context, letters are formal almost 100 percent of the time.
A. There are 8 basic parts to a business letter:
- recipient’s address
- Sender’s address
- Body of the letter
- Enclosures (if any)
B. There are different approaches to writing a business letter as far as placement of the various parts in particular the date, signature, closing and addresses.
1. The date can be placed at the left margin or the right margin.
2. The recipient’s address is always placed at the left margin but your sender’s address can be omitted if there is a letterhead; or if there is no letterhead, it can go on the left margin above the recipient(s address. Or the writer can create a “fake” letterhead by putting his or her address at the top of the page.
3. After the the addresses, put the “re” line. This will state in a short phrase or sentence the purpose of the letter.
4. In the body of the letter, break up the points into paragraphs using only one paragraph per point.
5. The closing in a letter, like an email can be any of the following depending on the context and preference of the writer:
- Faithfully yours
- Yours, etc.
- Yours truly
- Kind Regards
6. Always type your name but leave space to insert a handwritten signature.
7. If you are enclosing something in your correspondence, write “”encl.” after your signature. If you are enclosing more than one thing write “encls.”