English language is an FL2 in my hometown , and I'm specialized in English literature and civilization in my university studies. What tires me is that I face a difficulty each time I'm about writing a literary analysis or sipmly an essay. My questions are:
1- How to avoid making " stupid" spelling errors ;
2- Punctuation , although I know the rules ;
3- I was told that reading English works , i ; e novels , poems.. along with listening to natives speaking would improve my vocabulary and redress my level . The probleme is that at the end of this year I will sit for an exam which will determine my career. So , what can I do to write simple , straight forword , and sound essay.
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Sometimes looking at something after a break helps make your writing clearer. Don't procrastinate. Make sure you finish about two days before the due date. Read your work when you are alert and not tired, and have not been working on it for awhile. You'll catch more errors that way.
If you have the time when proof reading your writing, you might try reading the essay backwards. Read the last sentence first and take it one sentence at a time just in reverse order. When you have just written a piece, your brain will tend to correct what it sees on the page. You might read a misspelled word as correct because your brain knows what you meant to say. If you read the sentences in reverse and out of context, you are much more likely to catch those simple or "stupid" mistakes in spelling and punctuation.
In addition to writing centers, you should make appointments directly with the teachers who are grading your written work. It is extremely beneficial for you to HEAR what your teacher was thinking as he or she read your paper and made the comments that they did. Sometimes, the comments don't explain enough of what the problem was. Sometimes when the teacher explains what they understood your writing to mean, you can better see the error of your syntax or your analysis and why it failed to do what you intended. The human connection is vital to improving your writing because you are always writing to convey a message to another human being.
Reading Orwell is a wonderful suggestion. Aside from that, I'd say that the best thing that you can do is to solicit the opinion of peers. Sometimes it can be difficult to give your work to someone else to read, but I still think, even with today's sophisticated word processors, that there is no substitute for another set of eyes on your work. Ask for honest feedback about your writing from as many people as possible (whose opinions you trust, of course.) Also, many universities have writing centers that exist for this very purpose, I would look into it at your school.
There's a wonderful book called The Elements of Style by Strunk and White that is considered a classic discussion of how to write simply and clearly. You can find it easily and for free on the internet. Here's a link: http://www.cs.vu.nl/~jms/doc/elos.pdf
An excellent site for help with grammar is this one (notice the "Index" button in the middle of the page). This site will give you lots of interactive exercises:
A good word processor should help you catch spelling errors.
Finally, I would recommend reading almost anything by George Orwell. He is known for his exceptionally clear style, and he discusses ways to achieve such a style here:
Good luck to you!
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