Hi,
I am a native English speaker, however as of late I have realised how little I know about actually writing in English, especially in a formal context. Hence I have been attempting to improve my written English on three fronts, mainly
(A) Vocabulary - Especially with respect to writing formal or scientific documents, such as research papers.
(B) Constructs - Where to use commas? Where to use apostrophes? Where to use colons? Where to use semi-colons etc.
Also how to construct correct sentences, for example is it "I used techniques A, B, and C."
or
"I used techniques A, B and C."
(C) Grammer - Verbs, Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Possessive Pronouns etc.
I guess for (A) the main way to improve here is more reading right? I also read somewhere that learning words by association is more benificial (something to do with the way in which the brain stores\retrieves information) , i.e. learn words within a certain topic helps, instead of randomly flicking through the dictionary each day.
So could anyone point me towards a good book (or books) that would help me improve my english in the areas of (B) and (C), or websites. Even general comments on a structured approach to improving\learning in this area would be helpful.
P.S. im sure theres plenty mistakes in my post! But i gotta start somewhere..
Regards,
pat
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Hi, I am a native English speaker, however as of late I have realised how little I know about actually ... in this area would be helpful. P.S. im sure theres plenty mistakes in my post! But i gotta start somewhere..

You can improve your vocabulary by reading. You can only improve your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage through practice, and by having your writing edited by someone who knows what they're doing.

Mike Nitabach
You can improve your vocabulary by reading. You can only improve your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage through practice, and by having your writing edited by someone who knows what they're doing.

Thanks for your reply,
Maybe I did not make it clear, but I was mainly looking for references to good books which people found useful.
Grammer and punctuation can be learnt from books, spelling also. Obviously practice is required, hence my question regarding references to books that people found useful, books which I could learn and practice from. I am sure that I am not the first person to try and improve their written English.
Also, I am not quite sure how having my writing edited by "someone who knows what they're doing" is neccessary to improve grammer, punctuation, and spelling. These are not some sort of subjective qualities, they are deterministic, governed by linguistics rules based on syntax and semantics, which are surely available in books right?

regards,
pat
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
You can improve your vocabulary by reading. You can only ... your writing edited by someone who knows what they're doing.

Thanks for your reply, Maybe I did not make it clear, but I was mainly looking for references to good ... qualities, they are deterministic, governed by linguistics rules based on syntax and semantics, which are surely available in books right?

You also have to read carefully and try to remember how words are spelled. You keep writing "grammer", although the person replying to your first post, in which you had misspelled it also, correctly spelled it "grammar". You, apparently, didn't notice that. It is such inattention that prevents one form being a good speller.

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
(snip) So could anyone point me towards a good book (or books) that would help me improve my english in the areas of (B) and (C), or websites. Even general comments on a structured approach to improving\learning in this area would be helpful.

On this page at the AUE Website, you'll find this section on books:

http://alt-usage-english.org/fast faq.shtml
recommended books
* dictionaries
* online dictionaries
* general reference
* grammars
* books on linguistics
* books on usage
* online usage guides
* online language columns
* books that discriminate synonyms
* style manuals
* books on mathematical exposition
* books on phrasal verbs
* books on phrase origins
* books on Britishisms, Canadianisms, etc.
* books on "bias-free"/"politically correct"
language
* books on group names
* books on rhyming slang
I expect it will not have some of the latest books, like that "Eats Shoots and Leaves" book that came out last year. I don't remember if people really liked it, either.
Anyway, there's something to start with.

Best Donna Richoux
You also have to read carefully and try to remember how words are spelled. You keep writing "grammer", although the ... spelled it "grammar". You, apparently, didn't notice that. It is such inattention that prevents one form being a good speller.

Yes, but my original question did not refer to spelling (which can be easily checked with a spell checker Emotion: smile ).
Also, notice my caveat at the end of the original post "P.S. im sure theres plenty mistakes in my post! But i gotta start somewhere..", placed intentionally as it was not advice on my spelling or grammer Emotion: smile within the post itself that I was seeking, but books and sources people found useful while trying themselves to improve their written english.
While I appreciate your reply, maybe you should also heed your own advice and "read carefully" the question posed.
regards,
pat
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
(snip) So could anyone point me towards a good book ... structured approach to improving\learning in this area would be helpful.

On this page at the AUE Website, you'll find this section on books: http://alt-usage-english.org/fast faq.shtml recommended books * dictionaries * ... that came out last year. I don't remember if people really liked it, either. Anyway, there's something to start with.

Thanks Donna, precisely the kinda info I was looking for!
You can improve your vocabulary by reading. You can only ... your writing edited by someone who knows what they're doing.

Thanks for your reply, Maybe I did not make it clear, but I was mainly looking for references to good books which people found useful.

Your statement that "(e)ven general comments on a structured approach to improving\learning in this area would be helpful" seemed pretty clear to me. I provided you with a general comment on a structured approach: write a lot, and have your writing edited by someone who knows how to edit.
You certainly don't have to agree that my suggestion is a good one, but your claim that it was unresponsive to your request is bogus.

Mike Nitabach
You also have to read carefully and try to remember ... such inattention that prevents one form being a good speller.

Yes, but my original question did not refer to spelling (which can be easily checked with a spell checker Emotion: smile ).

Thats' a silly assumption, and you know it. Many misspellings will pass a spelling test that is checking only whether the result of your hitting the keys produced a valid English word, not if it was the correct word.
Also, notice my caveat at the end of the original post "P.S. im sure theres plenty mistakes in my post! ... itself that I was seeking, but books and sources people found useful while trying themselves to improve their written english.

Ah, you didn't express yourself clearly, as that implication was wiped out by the "But i gotta start somewhere..".
Spelling is about the most basic "somewhere..".
While I appreciate your reply, maybe you should also heed your own advice and "read carefully" the question posed.

I did.
As you reiterated, you mentioned,
"P.S. im sure theres plenty mistakes in my post! But i gotta start somewhere..".
and you were right. There were many, and I didn't write a word about them then. I only responded when you wrote in your second post, "Grammer and punctuation can be learnt from books, spelling also."

See, how you are not paying any attention at all?
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
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