I sometimes read student assignments where the grammar and writing style is poor. Paragraphs don't really flow. Sentences go on for ever. The ordering of words is awkward. Instead of concisely introducing the subject of the sentence, it goes on forever.

I'd like to be able to recommend resources to such students. Ideally, such a resources would be available online so I could just give them a link or two to some writing style and grammar materials with exercises.

What is a good resource (preferably online) for teaching English speaking university students how to improve their writing style?


4 Answers 4


I know that this can be the source of great frustration for teachers, especially when they do not teach writing. However, writing is one of those things, like other communication skills, that I think we all need to teach (at least a little bit) if for no other reason that our students will fail if they cannot compose a well-reasoned essay, even if they understand the material from our subject quite well.

There are plenty of universities which provide very good source material for this. Here is one from the US. Here is one from the UK. I have used materials from both (and many others) but I do not find that I can simply point the students to these sites and expect everything to work out.

As educators, sometimes we need to teach things which are more fundamental in nature. Unless your school has a 'writing center' so you can direct students there for help (my school does not). I find I need to spend 1-2 hours per semester to cover core writing issues.

  • 2
    +1 - One of my colleagues actually assigns Strunk and White as reading material at the beginning of his course (for a course that is a subject in criminology - so nothing to do with English or writing directly).
    – Andy W
    May 22, 2013 at 12:14

As a teacher, I teach 'science literacy' to all year levels as part of my overall curriculum. Alongside this, I have the students continually practising these skills, as well as peer reviewing their work.

It takes time, but the overall benefits make the effort worthwhile.


A selection of the best online writing sources from different universities is available here. In addition to writing, resources are available for assignments and grammar.

Moreover, library of some universities have books (hard copy or ebooks) for these purposes which are very useful. Personally, I liked Writing academic English by Alice Oshima, Ann Hogue as a start point.


I've progressed in my writing ability as I've progressed in my reading commitment. Have you tried assigning papers to read, followed by a short essay describing what they read?

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