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The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

About a Favourite Place


The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. We had a discussion about style.

A touching style. The writing tries to invoke an emotion in another person. To do this, pay attention to the details. To touch someone emotionally, what details will you need?

The details come from close observation of the object or subject. It is like research. In this example, observe the behaviour of an animal (pet) and interpret this behaviour as if human.

Reaching out to others is what writing is all about.

Style Note Number 22 (from The Elements of Style)

"Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end." In other words, your most forceful and vigorous words will come at the end. The book goes on to say that this rule applies to sentences, paragraphs, and essays, too!

"Through the middle of the valley flowed a winding stream." A sentence example from The Elements of Style.

Sometimes, turn the sentence around and put your subject at the end.

Describe a favourite place. Try to use one "backwards" sentence where your subject is in the last position

Student One

The city with dark red holly berries is my favourite place, where people are kind.

 The sentence is backwards and so is correct. The student has also added more information after the noun "place" (the subject) and this phrase acts as an adjective.

 Student Two

 My favourite place in my house is my bedroom. One side of a glass wall has my bedroom. On one side of my bedroom is a glass wall. We changed the bold face sentence to the second example.

 One student suggested that we could say "There is …" Don't do that!! There is  and There are (avoid doing this in writing).

 In poetry every word counts. Write your prose in the same way. No waste.


Teacher Sample

My Tub

       A favourite place of mine is my tub. When I lie in the water, I feel relaxed. The steam rises around my ears and makes my skin feel soft. As a boy, I liked to put my head underwater and listen to the beating of my heart. Now, I read my copy of The New Yorker or a Harper's Magazine or even just do nothing, letting my thoughts drift along lazily. One thing for sure, when in a tub of hot water, not much seems important. That's why I'd recommend a good hot bath to anyone who's had a bad day, or even who's a bit dirty behind the ears! (by Brad Hyde; first draft of 110 words)

More Tutorials

Idiomatic Verb and Preposition Combinations

The Best Gifts

Our Earliest Memories

Our Hometown

What We're Reading Now

Simple Sentences (Noun and Verb)

Writing about a Favourite Place

Making Sentences Longer 2

Writing about the Rain

Writing about a Person

Writing about Lunch

Writing about Snow

Making Sentences Longer

Food Words

Weather Words