50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

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Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers.

Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.

We collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help you to improve your writing skills. You will find copywriting blogs, dictionaries, references, teaching classes, articles, tools as well as related articles from other blogs. Something is missing? Please let us know in the comments to this post!

1. Grammar, Punctuation & Co.

Ultimate Style: The Rules Of Writing1
The web’s ultimate guide to grammar provides a database of topics and an easy-to-search A-Z list of common questions (via2)

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Use English Punctuation Correctly4
A quick and useful crash course in English punctuation.

HyperGrammar5
An extensive electronic grammar course at the University of Ottawa’s Writing Centre.

Grammar Girl6
Mignon Fogarty’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.

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Better Writing Skills8
This site contains 26 short articles with writing tips about ampersands, punctuation, character spacing, apostrophes, semicolons and commas, difference between i.e. and e.g. etc.

The Guide to Grammar and Writing9
An older, yet very useful site that will help you to improve your writing on word & sentence level, paragraph level and also essay & research paper level.

HyperGrammar10

Writer’s Block11
A compact resource with over 20 articles that cover abbreviations, capitalization, numbers, punctuation, word usage and writing styles.

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant12
This site contains some useful articles that explain common grammar mistakes, basic punctuation, basic sentence concepts etc. Worth visiting and reading. The Learning Centre13 contains similar articles, but with more examples.

Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style14
These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage put by Jack Lynch, an Associate Professor in the English department of the Newark campus of Rutgers University, for his classes.

English Style Guide15
This guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist. The site contains various hints on how to use metaphors, punctuation, figures, hyphens etc. Brief and precise.

HyperGrammar16

Technical Writing17
An extensive guidance on grammar and style for technical writing.

40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation18
“Purdue University maintains an online writing lab19 and I spent some time digging through it. Originally the goal was to grab some good tips that would help me out at work and on this site, but there is simply too much not to share.”

2. Common mistakes and problems

Common Errors in English20
A collection of common errors in English, with detailed explanations and descriptions of each error.

AskOxford: Better Writing21
A very useful reference for classic errors and helpful hints with a terrible site navigation.

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Dr. Grammar’s Frequently Asked Questions23
Answers to common grammar questions related to English grammar, with examples and additional explanations.

English Grammar FAQ24
A list of common English language problems and how to solve them. This list was compiled through an extensive archive of postings to alt.usage.english by John Lawler, Linguistics, U. Michigan, Ann Arbor.

3. General Writing Skills

Writer’s Digest25
Writer’s Digest offers information on writing better and getting published. The site also includes community forums, blogs and huge lists of resources for writers (via26)

Infoplease: General Writing Skills27
Various articles that aim to teach students how to write better.

Infoplease28

The Elements of Style29
A freely available online version of the book “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr., the classic reference book.

Poynter Writing Tools30
A blog dedicated to writers and journalists. Poynter also provides Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List31, a collection of podcasts related to writing.

Poynter32

learning lab / writing skills33
This site offers over 20 .pdf-documents with main rules and common mistakes related to summarising, paraphrasing, referencing, sentences, paragraphs, linking words and business writing. Handy.

Using English34
UsingEnglish.com provides a large collection of English as a Second Language (ESL) tools & resources for students, teachers, learners and academics. Browse our grammar glossary and references of irregular verbs, phrasal verbs and idioms, ESL forums, articles, teacher handouts and printables, and find useful links and information on English. Topics cover the spectrum of ESL, EFL, ESOL, and EAP subject areas.

Online Writing Courses35
Free courses are a great way to improve your writing skills. The courses shown here focus on several types of creative writing, including poetry, essay writing and fiction writing.

4. Practical Guides To Better Writing Skills

Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Copywriting36
This tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of writing great copy in ten easy lessons. Afterwards, you’ll get recommendations for professional copywriting training, plus links to tutorials on SEO copywriting and writing killer headlines.

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A Guide to Writing Well38
“This guide was mainly distilled from On Writing Well by William Zinsser and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Other sources are listed in the bibliography. My memory being stubborn and lazy, I compiled this so I could easily refresh myself on writing well. I hope it will also be helpful to others.”

Online Copywriting 101: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet39
The ultimate cheat sheet with various Web copy resources that copywriters can use to lean the best writing tips and ideas. More copywriting cheat sheets40.

Headlines and Trigger Words

Common mistakes and errors

Writing tips from experts

Practical tips

5. Copywriting Blogs

CopyBlogger71
Now that blogging has become the smartest strategy for growing an authoritative web site, it’s your copywriting skills that will set you apart and help you succeed. And this is where Copyblogger comes into play. Brian Clark’s popular blog covers useful copywriting tips, guidelines and ideas.

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Write to Done73
Leo Babuta’s blog about the craft and the art of writing. The blog covers many topics: journalism, blog writing, freelance writing, fiction, non-fiction, getting a book deal, the business of writing, the habit of writing. Updated twice weekly.

Problogger74
Darren Rowse’s blog helps bloggers to add income streams to their blogs – among other things, Darren also has hundreds of useful articles related to copy writing.

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Men with Pens76
A regularly updated blog with useful tips for writers, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Time to Write77
Jurgen Wolff’s tips, ideas, inspirations for writers and would-be writers and other creative people.

Daily Writing Posts78
“Whether you are an attorney, manager, student or blogger, writing skills are essential for your success. Considering the rise of the information age, they are even more important, as people are surrounded by e-mails, wikis, social networks and so on.

“It can be difficult to hone one’s writing skills within this fast paced environment. Daily Writing Tips79 is a blog where you will find simple yet effective tips to improve your writing.”

CopyWriting80
Copywriting81 website is jam-packed with useful information, articles, resources and services geared to show you how to write mouth-watering, profit-generating copy. Copy that changes minds and dramatically boosts your results. So come right in… you’re going to like what you see! It has copywriting courses, tools, articles and much more.”

CopyWriting82

Dumb Little Man: Writing83
Jay White provides a handful of tips that may increase your productivity and improve your skills. You’ll find many tips and ideas for better writing in his archive category “Writing”.

Dumb Little Man84

The Copywriter Underground85
A copywriting blog by the freelance writer Tom Chandler.

Lifehack: Writing86
This collection of resources includes links to 30 posts on Lifehack that may help you to improve your writing skills.

6. Tools

OneLook Dictionary Search87
More than 13,5 million words in more than 1024 online dictionaries are indexed by the OneLook search engine. You can find, define, and translate words all at one site.

One Look Dictionary Search88

Definr89
A fast, suggest-as-you-type dictionary which you can add to your Firefox search box or use in bookmarklet form (see this90 post) (via Lifehacker91).

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Visuwords93
Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

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Merriam Webster: Visual Dictionary95
The Visual Dictionary Online is an interactive dictionary with an innovative approach. From the image to the word and its definition, the Visual Dictionary Online is an all-in-one reference. Search the themes to quickly locate words, or find the meaning of a word by viewing the image it represents. What’s more, the Visual Dictionary Online helps you learn English in a visual and accessible way.

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OneLook Reverse Dictionary97
OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.

Online Spell Checker98
Free online spell checker that provides you with quick and accurate results for texts in 28 languages (German, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, Portuguese etc.). An alternative tool: Spelljax99.

Screenshot100

GNU Aspell101
GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. It can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a superior job of suggesting possible replacements for a misspelled word than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language.

WordWeb102
A one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include definitions and synonyms, proper nouns, 150 000 root words and 120 000 synonym sets.

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write rhymes104
As you write, hold the alt key and click on a word to find a rhyme for it.

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Verbix106
This English conjugator will help you to determine how to use verbs in the proper tense.

Wordcounter107
Wordcounter ranks the most frequently used words in any given body of text. Use this to see what words you overuse or maybe just to find some keywords from a document. Text Statistics Generator108 is an alternative tool: it gives you a quick analysis of number of word occurrences.

Advanced Text Analyzer109 (requires registration)
This free tool analyzes texts, calculating the number of words, lexical density, words per sentence, character per word and the readability of the text as well as word analysis, phrase analysis and graded analysis. Useful! Alternative tool110.

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Graviax Grammar Checker112
Grammar rules (XML files containing regular expressions) and grammar checker. Currently only for the English language, although it could be extended. Unit tests are built into the rules. Might form the basis of a grammar checker for OpenOffice.

txt2tags113
Txt2tags is a document generator. It reads a text file with minimal markup as **bold** and //italic// and converts it to the formats HTML, LaTeX, MediaWiki, Google Code Wiki, DokuWiki, Plain text and more.

Markdown114
Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). Requires Perl 5.6.0 or later.

7. Further Resources

50 Useful Open Source Resources For Writers and Writing Majors115
And if you’re a writing major, why not take advantage of all the opportunities to get great free and open source resources that can help you to write, edit and organize your work? Here’s a list of fifty open source tools that you can use to make your writing even better.

English Forums116
If you have a question related to English Grammar, join these forums to get advice from others who know the language better or can provide you with some related information.

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The Ultimate Writing Productivity Resource118
A round-up of applications, services, resources, tools, posts and communities for writers and bloggers who want to improve their writing skills.

100 Useful Web Tools for Writers119
100 useful Web tools that will help you with your career, your sanity and your creativity whenever your write. More120 useful121 round-ups122.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.sparknotes.com/writing/style/
  2. 2 http://www.sparknotes.com/writing/style/
  3. 3 http://www.sparknotes.com/writing/style/
  4. 4 http://www.wikihow.com/Use-English-Punctuation-Correctly
  5. 5 http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/
  6. 6 http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
  7. 7 http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
  8. 8 http://www.betterwritingskills.com/writing-tips.html
  9. 9 http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm
  10. 10 http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/
  11. 11 http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/index.htm
  12. 12 http://www.powa.org
  13. 13 http://www.ncistudent.net/StudySkills/WritingSkills/Introduction.htm
  14. 14 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/
  15. 15 http://www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide/index.cfm
  16. 16 http://www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide/index.cfm
  17. 17 http://www.rbs0.com/tw.htm
  18. 18 http://www.dumblittleman.com/2006/12/40-tips-to-improve-your-grammar-and.html
  19. 19 http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
  20. 20 http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
  21. 21 http://www.askoxford.com/betterwriting/
  22. 22 http://www.askoxford.com/betterwriting/
  23. 23 http://www.drgrammar.org/faqs/
  24. 24 http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/
  25. 25 http://www.writersdigest.com/GeneralMenu/
  26. 26 http://educhoices.org/articles/50_of_the_Best_Websites_for_Writers.html
  27. 27 http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html
  28. 28 http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html
  29. 29 http://www.bartleby.com/141/index.html
  30. 30 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&switch=true
  31. 31 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&aid=103943
  32. 32 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&switch=true
  33. 33 http://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/content/4_WritingSkills/00writingskills.htm
  34. 34 http://www.usingenglish.com/
  35. 35 http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Online_Creative_Writing_Courses_Offered_Free_by_Top_Universities_and_Educational_Websites.html
  36. 36 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
  37. 37 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
  38. 38 http://www.fireandknowledge.org/archives/2007/01/08/a-guide-to-writing-well/
  39. 39 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
  40. 40 http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/11/13/copywriting-101-part-2/
  41. 41 http://www.copyblogger.com/trigger-words/
  42. 42 http://www.copyblogger.com/21-traffic-triggers-for-social-media-marketing/
  43. 43 http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
  44. 44 http://trevorcrookblog.com/2008/05/21/8-different-types-of-headlines/
  45. 45 http://www.copyblogger.com/headline-swipe-file/
  46. 46 http://www.copyblogger.com/proven-headline-formulas/
  47. 47 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/passive-voice.html
  48. 48 http://www.copyblogger.com/5-simple-ways-to-open-your-blog-post-with-a-bang/
  49. 49 http://www.copyblogger.com/landing-pages/
  50. 50 http://thinkvitamin.com/features/biz/copywriting-for-ecommerce/
  51. 51 http://news.zdnet.co.uk/itmanagement/0,1000000308,39273376,00.htm
  52. 52 http://www.michelfortin.com/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-website-copy/
  53. 53 http://www.copyblogger.com/punctuation-mistakes/
  54. 54 http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/?
  55. 55 http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/300
  56. 56 http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/10/08/stephen-kings-top-7-tips-for-becoming-a-better-writer/
  57. 57 http://www.copyblogger.com/ernest-hemingway-top-5-tips-for-writing-well/
  58. 58 http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/54-writing-hacks-part-1-starting/
  59. 59 http://www.doshdosh.com/what-is-good-content/
  60. 60 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/advice-for-students-10-steps-toward-better-writing.html
  61. 61 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/nine-tips-to-productive-revision.html
  62. 62 http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=421
  63. 63 http://freelancefolder.com/7-cant-miss-ways-to-kick-start-the-writing-habit/
  64. 64 http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/02/10-writing-tips-for-web-designers/
  65. 65 http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/05/09/activate-your-verbs/
  66. 66 http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-write-faster-better-and-easier/
  67. 67 http://whatever.scalzi.com/2006/02/12/writing-tips-for-non-writers-who-dont-want-to-work-at-writing/
  68. 68 http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/09/28/persuasive-links/
  69. 69 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html
  70. 70 http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/08/21-must-read-tips-to-write-better-web.html
  71. 71 http://www.copyblogger.com/
  72. 72 http://www.copyblogger.com/
  73. 73 http://writetodone.com/
  74. 74 http://www.problogger.net/archives/category/writing-content/
  75. 75 http://www.problogger.net/archives/category/writing-content/
  76. 76 http://menwithpens.ca/
  77. 77 http://www.timetowrite.blogs.com/
  78. 78 http://www.dailywritingtips.com/
  79. 79 http://www.dailywritingtips.com/
  80. 80 http://www.copywriting.com/
  81. 81 http://www.copywriting.com/
  82. 82 http://www.copywriting.com/
  83. 83 http://www.dumblittleman.com/search/label/Writing
  84. 84 http://www.dumblittleman.com/search/label/Writing
  85. 85 http://copywriterunderground.com/
  86. 86 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/the-ultimate-writing-productivity-resource.html
  87. 87 http://www.onelook.com
  88. 88 http://www.onelook.com
  89. 89 http://definr.com/
  90. 90 http://lifehacker.com/software/dictionary/instantly-translate-words-with-definr-326098.php
  91. 91 http://lifehacker.com/395368/best-online-language-tools-for-word-nerds
  92. 92 http://definr.com/
  93. 93 http://www.visuwords.com/
  94. 94 http://www.visuwords.com/
  95. 95 http://visual.merriam-webster.com/
  96. 96 http://visual.merriam-webster.com/
  97. 97 http://onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml
  98. 98 http://orangoo.com/spell/
  99. 99 http://www.spelljax.com/
  100. 100 http://orangoo.com/spell/
  101. 101 http://aspell.net/
  102. 102 http://www.wordweb.co.uk/free/
  103. 103 http://www.wordweb.co.uk/free/
  104. 104 http://www.writerhymes.com/
  105. 105 http://www.writerhymes.com/
  106. 106 http://www.verbix.com/languages/english.shtml
  107. 107 http://www.wordcounter.com/
  108. 108 http://textstats.sourceforge.net/
  109. 109 http://www.usingenglish.com/members/text-analysis/
  110. 110 http://textalyser.net/
  111. 111 http://www.usingenglish.com/members/text-analysis/
  112. 112 http://sourceforge.net/projects/graviax
  113. 113 http://txt2tags.sourceforge.net/
  114. 114 http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/
  115. 115 http://www.jobprofiles.org/library/students/50_awesome_open_source_resources_for_online_writers.htm
  116. 116 http://www.englishforums.com/
  117. 117 http://www.englishforums.com/
  118. 118 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/the-ultimate-writing-productivity-resource.html
  119. 119 http://www.collegedegrees.com/blog/2008/06/11/100-useful-web-tools-for-writers/
  120. 120 http://oedb.org/library/features/150-writing-resources
  121. 121 http://www.onlinecourses.org/2009/06/09/100-awesome-open-source-tools-for-writers-journalists-and-bloggers/
  122. 122 http://educhoices.org/articles/50_of_the_Best_Websites_for_Writers.html

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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  1. 1

    Fantastic Article… thank you for sharing…

    1
  2. 102

    Here’s a great tool for improving your writing. http://www.prowritingaid.com/
    It will highlight overused words, repeat words and phrases, and give you an idea of your sentence length. It even checks your work for any cliches!

    9
  3. 203

    Hi..
    Thanks for sharing this information and resources it’s really help full for me with the help of this we can improve our designs and development I really inspire with this information thanks

    1
  4. 304

    I know I needs improvement in writing. This article is v useful for me.

    Thanks

    1
  5. 405

    The first ling under “1. Grammar, Punctuation & Co.” isn’t working properly. Can you fix it?

    3
  6. 506

    What a great article.

    I’ve been blogging for a while now and I think I spend too much time on SEO, Keyword Research and the like and not enough time on writing high quality posts. I’m definitely bookmarking this post and really appreciate all of the resources!

    1
  7. 607

    I always have trouble with english writing. Whenever I write essay or report to describe about my work activities, I cannot use english in the correctly way.

    1
  8. 809

    that’s so nice and impressive but I’m a IELTS student and looking for some easy rules

    0
  9. 910

    You might also check out Purdue University’s outstanding Online Writing Lab which has practical worksheets and many handouts for college writers – including English language learners. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

    0
  10. 1011

    Nice article. I personally use onelook intensively. Very powerful especially their reverse dictionary. Another useful tool is frazeit. It’s quite useful to see how words are used in context. They supports tense and search by source which is also quite helpful.

    0
  11. 1112

    Wow! Amazing! Thanks for this information.

    0
  12. 1213

    This is a deadly awesome post!!
    Thank you so much.

    0
  13. 1314

    another cool tool is frazeit.
    http://fraze.it

    R.

    0
  14. 1415

    many many thanks for sharing this valuable and effective information.

    0
  15. 1516

    Very useful and valuable sources regarding with writing skills. Hope to improve my writing by using this site regularly. :)

    0
  16. 1617

    i wonder how others write flowery language that impress the readers…when I attempt, i get stuck in finding right words for right occassion…kindly provide ur valuable guidance..Thanks in anticipation

    Fabian

    0
  17. 1718

    ignacio lópez aylagas

    October 24, 2013 10:40 am

    Another useful web is http://www.findmewords.com with lots of tools for English language. Complete dictionaries of definitions, synonyms and antonyms. It also includes tools to make words with letters or find words containing certain letters at certain positions, a scrabble word finder

    0
  18. 1819

    I always try to write some thing about some thing.I want to be a content writer and trying to improve my english writing skill.I found this article quite nice and useful.Thanks

    0
  19. 1920

    I will really like to know material and immaterial sources of great writing….

    0
  20. 2021

    In case you are interested in writing tasks for exams you can check out this blog:
    http://examwriting.blogspot.com/

    0
  21. 2122

    Writefull is another great writing tool; it’s an app which you can download and open from any writing software. While writing, you can select a part of your text and the Writefull popover will appear, and it will tell you how commonly your selected chunk is used; and if there might be another one that is more commonly used (= better to use perhaps). It also shows you other things like which words/synonyms are used most frequently in a context, and examples of your chunk in context… overall a really good tool – and it’s free to download (www.writefullapp.com)

    2
  22. 2223

    Just what I needed. Thanks a bunch!

    3

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