Resources for writing

Online courses

Many online courses and exercises are available to help improve writing. Some of the useful tools are:

  • Coursera offers regular free online writing courses at a variety of levels.
  • Exercises at Grammar Bytes (Simmons, Robin (2011) has short exercises. Useful to test and exercise your writing. It covers most of the material referred to in notes on clear and coherent writing such as comma splices & fused sentences – fragments – irregular verbs – commas – parallel structure – misplaced and dangling modifiers – apostrophes – pronoun agreement – pronoun case – pronoun reference – subject-verb agreement – word choice
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic (Virtual Language Centre). The site offers short practical exercises with immediate feedback with a focus on meaning and how small words link sentences and paragraphs to create meaning.
  • Cambridge’s principles of science writing. Provides notes which are part of the web site of SCITEXT CAMBRIDGE, an editing service for scientific documents based in the University city of Cambridge (UK). The information provided is at the research level and useful.
  • University of Technology Sydney Grammar book : a great resources if you want to remind yourself of basic grammar rules.


Piled higher and Deeper’ by Jorge Cham

Word tools

Writing tools for working with words:

For composing text and structuring ideas

For staying focused and motivated

On copyright

To test your writing

  • After the Deadline, a language checker for the web
  • Grammarly – a proof-reader as well as a grammar coach and plagiarism detector. Free 7 days trial is available. Cost for using is $30/month or $140/year.
  • Intelligent editing is another proofreading software . A free one month trial is available. Cost is about $100.
  • Readability tests – try a readability test: it is a free to use test which combines a few existing tests. Note that the test focuses on sentence length and complexity of words, but not internal logic of meaning.
  • Writer’s diet offers a tool to check clarity of your writing.

If you are not sure about these, check out the blog about writing and grammar correction tools


Piled higher and Deeper’ by Jorge Cham