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Learn How to Write - Some Basic Rules

Writing is a discipline that, like many others, works to certain rules. Whereas the creativity part of your writing is not hindered by rights and wrongs, the actual presentation and production of written work is very much party to strict rules. Some are simple, some more complex, for where the English language is concerned there are many nuances that are difficult to comprehend. Here are some basic rules to good written English.

1: Keep grammar within its defined confines. The correct use of apostrophes, commas and other punctuation marks is well documented in many handbooks on writing, and these rules must be adhered to in order to avoid confusion. Be aware of the difference between 'there's' - meaning 'there is' - and 'theirs' - meaning it belongs to them. Points like this are frequent mistakes made in the English language, even by the most experienced of writers.

2: Spelling - the correct spelling of words is vital; the above point highlights one of the major difficulties of English in that there are many words - in this cases 'their' and 'there' - which sound the same yet mean completely different things. Be very careful with the famous 'i before e' rule, too, as the exceptions may well be more common than the rule!

3: Be concise - there is little point in using ten words to say something when two or three will do. Over use of flowery and needlessly over-wrought language does not help the reader but rather hinders him; where you can, keep it simple.

4: Use of capital letters - only at the beginning of sentences or when writing names. Never use the capital anywhere else - it does not belong there!

5: Writing numbers - the general convention is to write the numbers one to ten in that fashion - as words - while those beyond can be written numerically. However, many writers prefer to use the written version in all cases in a passage of prose - the choice is yours.

6: Beware of change of tense - if you begin writing in the present past tense - 'He went to the water' - stay with it; do not move from one to the other without defining the change in terms of paragraph or chapter construction.

Writing is an enjoyable pastime that can be a lucrative earner, and while nobody is a perfect writer these basic rules - and some others that are related - help to keep writing as readable and uniform as possible.

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