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On English Writing

Just as the title shows, this article is a collection of tips, resources, etc. on English writing. It will be updated as long as I encounter something newsworthy.

Choice of words and phrases

I often have difficulties of choosing between two words/phrases which have subtle differences, e.g. “give an insight of” and “give an insight into”. A usual practice by me is to type the words/phrases in Google with double quotation marks around them and compare the number of search results. However, the credibility of this might be undermined by the fact that articles on the internet may not all be well written. Here comes the British National Corpus, which, as introduced by its website, is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of current British English, both spoken and written. Sometimes it may not work, but is definitely worth a try. Brigham Young University has a more advanced version, and the address is http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/.

Usage of Punctuation from Oxford Dictionaries

When shall we put a comma in front of a clause? When shall we use a semicolon(;)? Should the plural of an acronym (e.g. GP) be formed with an apostrophe (')? Should we use dash (-) excessively in formal writing? Find the answers in the Oxford Dictionaries. The address is http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/punctuation


Sometimes I felt I was using the same word repeatedly in a paragraph and couldn't come up with an alternative. Synonyms may be helpful in this situation. This is the website http://thesaurus.com .

— Last modified: xiaoke 2014/09/03 12:50