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.

Screenshot75

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).

Screenshot92

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.

Screenshot94

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.

Screenshot96

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.

Screenshot103

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.

Screenshot111

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.

Screenshot117

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

    Great post. keep up the good work

  2. 2

    Cool, Informative but Bore post.. :D

  3. 3

    Man this one is choc full of info. It’s going to take a while to fully digest it all.

  4. 4

    very useful for those of us who are not native english speakers

  5. 5

    Very good compilation about web writing and writing in general!

  6. 6

    Great collection.
    Does anyone know how to get some cool list for German-Writing?

    Thanks! :-)

  7. 7

    Thank you! Good work!

  8. 8

    Wordweb is the best one for me…its so easy to use..
    nice post!

  9. 9

    Nice resources…. i also use Wordweb for my personal checks.

    Dkumar M.
    @instantshift.com

  10. 10

    Mohammad B. Irshid

    June 28, 2009 9:20 am

    Very nice guys, I would come again to read it more and more .

  11. 11

    brilliant, I do need to work my english a bit more :P

  12. 12

    This is fantastic, thanks for this post. Does anyone know of a writing course/lessons that is specific to writing online?
    -Thanks again

  13. 13

    This really is an amazing post. Just launched my blog today and will find so many of these articles useful. Thanks Smashing Mag.

  14. 15

    Thank you for addressing the most lacking skill on the Web today. This is a great collection of resources. However, it’s important to acknowledge that all the resources in the world mean nothing unless people are MOTIVATED to use them. If you are motivated, good for you! If you’re a motivated non-native English speaker, I salute you!

    If you’re part of the non-motivated lower-case generation, here’s a news flash. Once you have a blog or website, that makes you a journalist. As a journalist, if you don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re,” or “its” and “it’s,” either get busy and learn or hire a real writer to edit your copy! I can hear it now: “whoa dude, r u saying i shud like hire a writer? like pay money??” Well, look at it this way. If you are willing to put out crap on your site or your blog (or just as bad, if you don’t even know it’s crap), how are you any different from the company that designs its own junky logo because it doesn’t know any better or is too cheap to pay a professional?

  15. 16

    Fabulous post! This one is getting bookmarked, as I know that I will be coming back to it again and again. Not enough just for one read. You did a great job of compiling all this information for us. Thank you.

  16. 17

    You left out WhiteSmoke, probably the most popular writing software.

  17. 18

    great! thank you…

  18. 19

    Awesome post & great resources! You left off Fuel Your Writing, an invaluable resource! http://fuelyourwriting.com
    Cheers! :)

  19. 20

    This is an excellent list – web designers and developers, nowadays, have to be able to write good copy. This is also useful – I feel like I end up writing reports, proposals, and documentation a lot more than in the past.

  20. 21

    Thanks for such an awesome, consolidated resource! Not something I expected to find on Smashing Magazine, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I will definitely be making use of at least a few of these links.

    @u-named
    Maybe you should spend a little time reading through some of these resources; might help your grammar, spelling, etc. out a little bit.

  21. 22

    I couldn’t even guess at how much time this post will save me! I will definitely pass it on to the readers and mailing list members of my site for newbies, too.

  22. 23

    Wow… what an amazing resource. Way more info than i ever got in skool, hahaha :)

  23. 24

    Gilang Chandrasa

    June 28, 2009 6:41 pm

    Wow, exactly what I need right now.

  24. 25

    I was looking for new wordpress themes and stumbled upon this site and thought I would share my personal site–unenlightenedenglish.com.

    It’s a mix of Grammar Girl, with academic advice, business writing, personal writing, etc. I launched it April 1st, so it doesn’t have the notoriety that several of these sites have, but I hope to get it up there! Thanks ahead of time!

  25. 26

    Great post ! I was looking for this !!!

  26. 27

    I’m waiting for the guy who all ways shows up in the comments of posts like this and says something like: “This is a waste of time evry designer nows dat content dont even matter!!! its the design, of the site thAt matter… lame!”

    haha! Great post by the way!

  27. 28

    Wow!! What a smashing post….well I am a writer and was searching for these tools and resources. Thank you so much for this. You made my day Smashing Mag!

    I can add the following links

    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

    http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Technical_writing

  28. 29

    Thanks a lot for all your efforts in publishing this article!!

    Cheers!
    R.K :)

  29. 30

    Someone asked about “writing online courses”? wtf? writing is writing !! Take a notebook, a pen, and start to write.

    You NEVER learn to write reading “How To’s”. You must dedicate a lot of hours each day, read real books of real writers and, of course, be creative and self-critic. How could you learn to be creative or self-critic? It’s a pity, but if you are, you are. If not … :/ you aren’t. Creativity, and self-critic, can be trained, but it can’t be learned. Not creative people will be angry with this, but …

    John G: “It’s going to take a while to fully digest it all” … A while? years! Did you go to school? Your words looks like an automatic comment, as many other like “good post”, “thanks for share” or “great” …

    Thanks for your effort, Smashing Magazine. But as a experienced teacher, I’m sure that replacing the school tasks with recipes is a very big error. Talk about tools (software) to write would be appreciated by someone who likes to install all the stuff they read about, but that other stuff … I’m also sure that the real problem of the actual web is that everybody speak about everything, even if they haven’t any experience on it, trying to replace the logical path of learning and knowledge. Despite of the people comments I KNOW they won’t read about grammar more that 10 minutes (or 10 seconds) because they only look for tricks, recipes and the way of do things easy and fast. All those people who are really interested on writing will only read this post, and after that, they will try to forget, because they KNOW where to clear up their doubts.

    Greetings.

    • 31

      Before I begin to comment on what you have said u-named, I will admit that I haven’t fully read this article, since I was skimming for websites that might prove useful to me in the future.

      I will say however, that I am rather disappointed to see such a malignant comment left for this article. What I find even more dismaying is that despite the fact that you say you are an experienced teacher your writing is not at a level that I would expect from an experienced teacher. I’m a teenager, yet I was able to pick out quite a few mistakes, most of which could have been corrected if you had bothered to proof read your reply.

      I’m currently writing a novel, and I have more than one hundred pages, and to be honest this article looks really promising for some of the grammar problems that have not been addressed in my English classes that would benefit my writing.

      Your comment is rather unnecessary, since this is more of a starting place for people who want to know more, not a set of instructions.

      Having said all this, I wish to point out some of the irksome mistakes you made and how you can fix them in the future so that you will not sound ignorant of the subject you are talking about.

      “Someone asked about “writing online courses”? wtf? writing is writing !! Take a notebook, a pen, and start to write.

      You NEVER learn to write reading “How To’s”. You must dedicate a lot of hours each day, read real books of real writers and, of course, be creative and (1)self-critic. How (2)could you learn to be creative or (3)self-critic? It’s a pity, but if you are, you are. If not … :/ you aren’t. Creativity, and (4)self-critic, (5)can be trained, but it can’t be learned. (6)Not creative people will be angry with this, but …

      John G: “It’s going to take a while to fully digest it all” … A while? years! Did you go to school? Your words (7)looks like an automatic comment, as many (8)other like “good post”, “thanks for share” or “great” …

      Thanks for your effort, Smashing Magazine. But as (9)a experienced teacher, I’m sure that (10)replacing the school tasks with recipes is a very big error. (11)Talk about tools (software) (12)to write would be appreciated by someone who likes to install all the (13)stuff they read about, but that other stuff … I’m also sure that the real problem of the (14)actual web is that (15)everybody speak about everything, even if they (16)haven’t any experience (17)on it, trying to replace the logical path of learning and knowledge. (18)Despite of the people comments I KNOW they won’t read about (19)grammar more that 10 minutes (or 10 seconds) because they only look for tricks, recipes and (20)the way of do things easy and fast. All those people who are really interested (21)on writing will only read this post, and after that, they will try (22)to forget, because they (23)KNOW where to clear up their doubts.

      Greetings.”

      1. I would suggest using self-critical
      2. can
      3. Same as number one
      4. I’d suggest: being self-critical
      5. I’d suggest: can be taught
      6. I’d suggest noncreative
      7. look
      8. others
      9. an
      10. To me this sounds awkward; I’d replace it with either ‘replacing school tasks’ or ‘replacing school lessons.’
      11. Talking
      12. For writing
      13. I’d suggest using things, because ‘stuff’ sounds too abstract and informal.
      14. Last time I checked, there was only one World Wide Web; the word actual is not needed to clarify your words.
      15. Everyone speaks
      16. Personally I would put ‘don’t have’ instead of haven’t, but this is more of a personal preference.
      17. I would suggest ‘with the subject’
      18. This is not grammatically correct, and I would suggest replacing it with either ‘despite people’s comments’ or ‘Despite what some people say in their comments.’
      19. ‘grammar for more’
      20. I would suggest using this instead: ‘a way to do things quickly and easily.’
      21. In
      22. I’d suggest ‘to forget it.’
      23. I don’t know what you mean by this.

      I am sorry if this seems harsh, but there are times when different opinions on the same topic can result in a more educated, unbiased view of the topic. I also realize that you will most likely not read this, but I’ll still leave this here, if not for you then for those that have been disheartened by your words.

      To the writers out there, keep doing what you love!
      Lydia

      • 32

        Thanks Lydia. I was feeling really discouraged by un-named’s comment and that perhaps I would never be able to improve my writing skills. I know that the internet is full of many different opinions and that I should examine each one critically; yet, as a person who is self-conscious about their writing I took her comment to heart. On the other hand, when I read your post, I’m sure that my sensitivity to this area of my life made me feel twice more encouraged than the self-assured writer. :D!!!
        p.s.Best wishes on your book!!!.

  30. 33

    Thanks for the great resources. Quite helpful!

    -Mahesh.

  31. 34

    I am missing the Firefox dictionaries.

  32. 35

    @#13 David, “you speak my mind.”

  33. 36

    A good resource, but it is sad that most grown adults need to be taught elementary grammar and punctuation skills. Parents and teachers are obviously not doing their job well enough for articles like this to be published.

  34. 37

    Does anyone know what backend englishforums.com is using?

  35. 38

    Matt (#28): I only speak about some paragraphs/links of the post and about some comments. I said “Talk about tools (software) to write would be appreciated …” And I repeat the same if somebody think that something different than a pen and a notebook is better for writing. I see only a few low level dictionaries (maybe for lazy people) and tons of links about tips, hints, tricks and hacks. Obviously, SM gives what people wants (and I said thanks to them in my last paragraph).

    Of course, I always visit a great part of the sites listed before I write. But learning about how to write SMS texts isn’t very healthy for the language; “hacks for writing” sounds pathetic (does Hemingway, Unamuno, Victor Hugo or Pessoa use it? I think there must be mucho more than 5 or 10 trivial tips). Don’t you think so?

    I’m not angry with SM. Oh, my God! They publish good stuff and I encourage to stay here. I critizice the “always easy” way of thinking, the quick (but false) tricks to do complex tasks (as writing) and the shortest (and deceitful) solutions that people use to require. All of this is MY own opinion and excuse me if somebody is upset with it.

    Thanks.

  36. 39

    David (#13), as ArcherTC wrote, “you speak my mind”.

  37. 40

    Fantastic article! Writing has become a more and more important skill as we spend more time interacting with others via the internet. It is imperative that our communication skills are impeccable. Similarly, we find ourselves doing more collaborative writing than ever before. A great tool for this ever-present task is Office Live Workspace by Microsoft. It offers users the ability to create, save, access, and share documents and files online for free (You get 5GB of free storage!). There is even a plug-in for MS Office that lets you save your files to your online Workspace directly from whichever Office program you are using. Not only can saving things in the cloud help the bottom line, but it can encourage excellence in writing!
    Cheers,
    Kate
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team
    http://www.workspace.officelive.com
    http://www.facebook.com/officelive

  38. 41

    {{{T H A N K S!!!!}}} …. superb resource….

  39. 42

    Wow!! Loads of resources. Everyone who wants to write, especially bloggers, should bookmark this post. I think I would be coming back to this post in the next five years. :) Thanks for this useful compilation.

  40. 43

    Readers may find my blog, Bad Language useful. I’m a professional writer working for HP, Microsoft, eBay and others. I’ve been writing about this kind of stuff since 2006. In particular, there are two recent posts which complement this article nicely:

    1. Useful links about writing plain English.
    2. Two free tools I have developed – a readability metrics tool and a concentration timer.

    Cheers, Matthew

  41. 44

    Excellent, I will take all the help I can get!

  42. 45

    Thanks for these, I have to do a fair amount of writing in my job. These will come in very handy, cheers!

  43. 46

    Good! This post is a real Smashing one, really useful and not repetitive.

  44. 47

    Great list of resources . . . for some elements of writing. Really, writing is so much more than grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style. What makes writing good is also determined by the context. There are several good websites for university writing centers that also focus on the rhetorical features of particular genres/academic areas — which are equally important, if not more so. Thx.

  45. 48

    Let me add visualthesaurus.com to the mix. It does what it says — gives you a visual cloud of synonyms you can navigate much more intuitively than a regular thesaurus.

    It’s a pay service, but you get several searches for free before it demands your login. And all you have to do then is just close the window and return to the site for more free searches.

  46. 49

    Another great language/writing resource is Language and Grammar…worth checking out, especially if you have a witty sense of humor.

  47. 50

    Halt doch einfach mal dein Maul! Ich will es nicht mehr hören, hast du verstanden? Ich will es einfach nicht mehr hören. Sei still und lass’ mich in Ruhe!! Lass’ mich einfach nur allein’.

  48. 51

    awsome

  49. 52

    Website Design UK

    June 29, 2009 6:02 am

    Really interesting stuff and obvioulsy come back to this very often

  50. 53

    Any plugins for outlook that check for right spelling but wrong word used?

  51. 54

    This is one of the best blog posts I have ever read. I am a Technical Writer and always appreciate good tools I can use to better my documents. Many thanks, many thanks.

  52. 55

    Not free, but an awesome service I use: Gramlee

  53. 56

    Juan Pablo Vásquez

    June 29, 2009 5:06 pm

    Awesome post!

  54. 57

    I’m humbled… thanks for linking to Copywriting.com – You guys rock! =)

  55. 58

    nice article thanks

  56. 59

    A veritable cornucopia of assistive composition utilities…

    Thanks

  57. 60

    Lanetta J. Sprott

    June 30, 2009 2:51 am

    Thank you for compiling this awesome resource! As I read, I kept right clicking on links to open up a new browser and will now go back and read! I hope my system doesn’t crash before I can get through them all! Thanks again!

  58. 61

    Awesome list. I agree with some of the comments that people generally don’t need to be taught how to write but some of them need to be taught how to write properly.

    I wanted to recommend a book that helped me in school. “The Mac Is Not A Typewriter” by Robin Williams (not Mrs. Doubtfire Robin Williams) was a great resource in teaching how to use punctuation and proper typesetting. Good luck to you all.

    There are other “…Not A Typewriter” books by Williams but this is the one I have:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mac-not-typewriter-Robin-Williams/dp/0201782634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246379235&sr=8-1

  59. 62

    This is a great post! I found many resources here that I can I use everyday.

    When you are writing everyday or looking to start writing, these resources should be part of your reference library.

  60. 63

    I’m a foreigner student so I need to study English.
    I like the ideas to learn English that I could work in many countries.
    Thank for this useful list

  61. 64

    Excellent collection! Thx 4 sharing.

  62. 65

    This is a great list.

    I might also suggest a light-hearted blog post about the proper number of spaces to use after the end of a sentence?

    How many spaces after a period? One or two?

    Ron

  63. 66

    I like the irony of poor grammar in a blog post related to writing skills.

  64. 67

    This comes under the heading of extremely useful! I took a bit of a detour and spent a big chunk of time here. I followed some links, but had to bookmark the article so I could come back later. You know, when I had more… time!

  65. 68

    Decent post for noobs, although obviously not written by a professional writer.

  66. 69

    Victoria Mixon

    July 7, 2009 9:30 am

    The more people are out there writing and blogging, the more we see how far from true literacy we as a culture are. Thank you for helping promote the literacy that allows us all to communicate clearly in this amazing era of the nearly-universal written word.

    Victoria

  67. 70

    Ramachandra U Mahale

    July 25, 2009 9:36 am

    Excellent resources; must for all – student, teacher, employer and employee alike. The viewers are really fortunate to have such an ocean of knowledge.

  68. 71

    Very comprehensive. Consider it bookmarked.

  69. 72

    This is a great list. This covers so many aspects of writing! I recommend adding the new site, Writers Community. Several authors have come together to publish tips and ideas on how to write better. It is well worth checking out!

  70. 73

    A treasure find containing wonderful tips for those aspiriing to write good articles. Great.

  71. 74

    this is what i was lookin for. but unfortunatly non of these are appling in our education system

  72. 75

    An out of school mastery of writing skills reference.

  73. 76

    Excellent article. Thoroughly enjoyed all the resources. Thank you.

  74. 77

    Excellent article, I’m looking for source of such information for several days, thanks….

  75. 78

    Great Work ! Thanks …

  76. 79

    I’m overwhelmed! Never had anyting so useful about writing put together in such a convenient way. Thanks for sharing.

  77. 80

    Readers may also find my site, Word-a-Day Wonder useful. For those who find it too tedious to proactively expand their vocabulary, I present words in the most interesting contexts I can find. This gives them an incentive to read their word of the day and provides a memorable example of its usage.

  78. 81

    Wow great post! I have learned a lot. I can also suggest some of this helpful tips in improving your English writing.

    http://actualwriting.com/improve-writing-skills/little-know-secrets-to-improve-writing-skills/7/

  79. 82

    It was very useful for all the beginners in writing like me. It was a very timely copy issue.

  80. 83

    Thanks for this great information,
    Is there any auto tool to make this from ( writing good articles).

  81. 84

    interesting news mann !

  82. 85

    its evrthing good

  83. 86
  84. 87

    This list is a must-have for every writer. Thanks for compiling it.

    In order to have a successful freelance writing business, it is very important to have high quality work. If your writing is not good, your business does not grow, and your reputation is tarnished.

    Businesses, large and small, depend on first – rate writers to help them effectively promote their products and services. Individuals pursuing different types of projects also need high quality writers. It is therefore very important for writers to sharpen their skills and provide top-notch services.

    You have included very helpful resources here.

    Thanks gain Vitaly – much appreciated!

    Nikki May
    Web Copywriter

  85. 88

    I love the Leaf Books Writers’ Magazine. Loads of interviews and advice etc – definitely worth subscribing!

    http://leafbooks.co.uk/magazine/HomeMag.htm

  86. 89

    Great post!
    I will suggest fraze.it as well. it’s a great resource for writers.

  87. 90

    Great Post.

    I am looking for ways to write on my blog and increase skilss to write for others blog.

    San

  88. 91

    Great information!

  89. 92

    Such a great collection of resources, must have taken some time many thanks and much appreciated!

  90. 93

    Will check out the list, Grammer Girl caught my eye out of all of them as I have a custom essays to write so the site will come in handy

  91. 94

    I think this is one of the best resourse websites I have found. It will help me quite a bit. Thank you. To un-named, I agree with Lydia Tall, it does take a lot more than just picking up a pen and a notebook and starting to write.

  92. 95

    omg……..this is the right way to improve your writing. eversince , i have read this article , i really have a great rise in my writing. gosh, even teachers were curious on how i could get so high marks in my essay and tis is incredible

  93. 96

    good information here….

  94. 97

    I am waiting for a place to write. where can i find that place so that someone can correct me if I go wrong any where. please suggest me regarding this.

    Regards
    indu

    • 98

      Great article, bookmarking this for further reference. I already have a plethora of writing links, and most of these I haven’t heard of, shame on me!

  95. 99

    hi my self goutham completed my b.tech 2011 so iam seaching for a tech support job i am little bit poor in my writting skills i had attended 3 compies interview there the first round is essay writting they said that your wriiting skills is so poor you have to work hard for that ..so please some one suggest me how to improve my wrtting skills what shouls i do ……….please help

    than u…)

  96. 100

    sir i am waiting for a place to write. where can i find that place so that someone can correct me if I go wrong any where. please suggest me regarding this.

  97. 101

    Thank lot for this type of suggestion to improve English language.

  98. 102

    Thanks for the work done

  99. 103

    Ajetunmobi Sakariyah Isiaq

    August 6, 2011 6:40 pm

    So interesting article.

  100. 104

    very very good information for learner

    thanks very much

  101. 105

    Fantastic Article… thank you for sharing…

  102. 106

    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!

  103. 107

    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

  104. 108

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

    Thanks

  105. 109

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

  106. 110

    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!

  107. 111

    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.

  108. 113

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

  109. 114

    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/

  110. 115

    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.

  111. 116

    Wow! Amazing! Thanks for this information.

  112. 117

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

  113. 118

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

    R.

  114. 119

    many many thanks for sharing this valuable and effective information.

  115. 120

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

  116. 121

    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

  117. 122

    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

  118. 123

    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

  119. 124

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

  120. 125

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

  121. 126

    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)

  122. 127

    Just what I needed. Thanks a bunch!

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