Errors regarding grammar, spelling and punctuation can put learners off right away and leave a really bad impression. Whilst nobody is expecting the prose to read like something written by this year’s Man Booker Prize Winner, they would like to find themselves presented with something sharp, focused and legible.
Fortunately, one doesn’t have to be naturally gifted in at least two of these departments as tools like Word are capable of highlighting grammatical errors and spelling mistakes for a start. Those wavy green underlines (up to Word 2010) that you’ve no doubt seen before are indicating possible errors with the former, whilst those red underlines are highlighting what it believes are errors with the latter. To make a quick edit all you need do is right-click and choose from what is available. More advanced settings are available too, so you might like to Google for the relevant tutorial, eg Office 2007 spelling and grammar.
Cut the words and phrases you just don’t need
Which instruction do you find easiest to follow?
- It would be a wise move for you if you were to review all of your content, look for all the extra words and unnecessary words you have already added and take them out one by one because this will help you to write more clearly and with much more focus as you are eliminating the bits you don’t need as they do not add value.
- Write more clearly and with greater focus by removing unnecessary words and phrases.
Hopefully not the first one! It’s full of bloat, repetition and stuff that’s already kind of obvious. It’s also waayyyy tooooo long and can end up confusing us as it almost becomes a riddle.
Call on another set of eyes
A second – or even third – person with strong writing skills is likely to spot all kinds of mistakes that flew in under the radar. Which is great. They may even go one step further and comment on the clarity or tempo of the material. Even greater.
If you’re going to utilise someone like this then do so before piloting your content. If the person concerned really does have the right skills and a keen eye then you’ll find yourself with a single batch of (probably easy to understand) changes rather than a whole load of them. Time saved.
In summary, here are some basic things to consider:
- Start each sentence with a capital
- Utilise commas and full stops
- Get a second – or third – opinion
Put these into action and you’ll be creating sharper and more concise content that your learners will embrace far more comfortably.