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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Expand Vocabulary and Writing Skills in the Digital Age

Marcia Bacon is guest posting today.  I've been especially interested in a broader need for grammar and editing skills since more and more people are required to market on the Web and since our emigrant population has grown and become more of an issue. Marcia gives some common sense suggestions for improving skills that can make a difference in lives and careers.  I'd also like to suggest this book by Lance Johnson, especially the sections on accent reduction and simplified English grammar.

How to Expand Your Vocabulary and Writing Skills

By Marcia Bacon

Some people say that basic skills like utilizing proper grammar don't matter so much anymore. However, a growing faction says that they're more important than ever. Those in the latter group are generally correct, because it's really important to have a grasp of both proper grammar and vocabulary. Without these important tools, it's quite challenging to succeed in a whole host of fields. How can you expand your skills in vocabulary and writing in way that's both efficient and transferable? Read on to find out :)

Take a Course
If you really want to improve your writing and speaking skills, taking a class is highly advisable. Plenty of community colleges and four-year universities across the country offer an array of English languages. You might be able to audit the class if you are unable to pay for it. However, working toward a particular grade can also give you the extra motivation to succeed in the class, which will mean that you'll sharpen your skills.

Read More Books
Of course, if you want to see how professional writing comes to fruition, you should read more books. They don't necessarily have to be the most profound pieces of material that have ever graced the presence of the earth, but they should be substantial reads. That said, you need to pay attention to stylistic choices, so that you can emulate them. Don't just get lost in the plot. On top of that, you should also read more newspapers and/or magazines. The more you expose yourself to written material, the more you can learn new words and writing techniques yourself.

Test Prep Books
No matter what age you are, you might be able to utilize some test prep books that are generally designed for high school and college students. Let's consider an SAT prep book. When students take the SAT, they need to sharpen their verbal and writing skills for sure. Therefore, you can use these books to teach yourself at home. Give yourself a practice test to see how you do before hand, then once you've completed the knowledge, test again to see if you've learned anything. Before you know it, you might be speaking and writing more fluidly than ever before. You should also consider working with your own children on some of these questions, so that you can both enhance your knowledge base.

Working with Tutors
Perhaps working with a tutor is the answer that is right for you. You could hire someone who has a degree in English or Linguistics, and you could also look for a person who has an educational background. These individuals will know the best methods to help you to learn. Perhaps you have a particular college professor who really inspired you and really helped you out in the class. You might wan to ask this person if he or she has any recommendations for tutors or books that you could use to learn at home. Many communities are home to tutoring centers that assist eager learners with these endeavors as well.

Many different fields require that you have a solid grasp of writing and vocabulary. If you don't, you're unable to communicate properly. Can you think of many fields where communication skills don' matter at all? It is unlikely that you can, and really, in our ever-growing digital world, it's become more important than ever, especially considering that so many simply brush it off.

Marcia Bacon writes about education. Her recent work is a Career Guide for People with Master's Degrees.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at .

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