Basic Elements of Writing
Writing involves rules, words and style. Here are some resources for you and your students.
Common Errors in English Usage, such as the distinction between ambiguous and ambivalent, can be found at this Washington State University site.
A slightly more up-to-date guide to confusions than Strunk & White.
Word Central, created by Merriam-Webster, is a place on the Web where kids can learn how much fun words can be.
It even includes a rhyming dictionary!
Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer.
Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the composition rules of usage and principles most commonly violated.
The Free Dictionary combines a dictionary, thesaurus, medical dictionary, legal dictionary, financial dictionary, acronyms, idioms, and an encyclopedia into a single online reference.
Check out the hangman's game and spelling bee on their home page. Highly recommended.
Writinghouse is a fully automatic bibliography and citation maker. It will automatically create a cited page in the MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles, whichever the requirement, so students can focus on the content of their paper.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary was originally compiled by Noah Webster and has been a student standard for many decades. It is another example of the many dictionaries and thesauruses available online.
The Visual Thesaurus shows ho a graphical interface can change the way we find words. The site creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Click on related words to expand your search or click on a definition node to find words related to that concept.
Visual Thesaurus is a subscription site, but can be previewed for free. Worth checking out to see what the future holds.
Roget's Thesaurus has been re-imagined into this graphically rich site. Enter a word and search thru related words using tabs, sliders and word links.
While not as animated as Visual Thesaurus, the site is free to access and has a richer result set.
An important component of writing, often overlooked, is memory.
In addition to offering the advice of "experts", sites like Ask teaches students how to quickly retrieve forgotten information.
Dictionary and thesaurus sites like these provide a handy device for students to learn to enrich their vocabulary in their writing.
This is a quirky web site that can be used to generate random words, phrases, sentences, and whole paragraphs. Great for "use this word in a sentence" or sentence diagramming drills.
- A bicycle sighs!
- A mundane tongue treks her pedantry.
- Should the invaluable terminator obsess a thirst?
- crazed cedar
- consummate cellulose
- tangerine cello
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• Algodoo 2-D Physics Sandbox
• Automated Essay Scoring
• English Language Development Software
• Example Virtual Libraries
• Glossaries for Space Adventurers and Mere Mortals
• Image Sources
• Music & Stories in the Classroom
• Students Prepare for Publishing in 'Zines and Newspapers
• Teaching Writing on the Web
• Virtual Schools Sampler