Spotlight: Essential English for Authors

Today I am spotlighting my downloadable course Essential English for Authors, which is published and sold by The WCCL Network.

Essential English for Authors is basically a crash course for anyone who would like to write for publication but fears that aspects of their written English might let them down

In twelve modules, Essential English for Authors takes you through all the common problem areas for new writers: from the basics of grammatical sentence and paragraph construction, through principles of capitalization and punctuation, to “minefield” topics such as subject/verb agreement and how to set out and punctuate dialogue. I’ve tried to explain everything in simple, easy-to-grasp terms, with lots of examples to illustrate the points made.

It’s not just the basics, however. A long module titled “Putting on the Style” covers a range of matters that – while they may not all be essential to achieving publication – will help bring your written English up to the highest professional standards. The topics discussed include parallel construction, active v. passive voice, use of the subjunctive in modern English, when to use “who” or “whom”, and many more. There are also self-study tests you can complete to check your understanding of the material covered.

The course assumes no previous knowledge, and is ideal for beginners and people for whom English is not their first language. It is, however, equally suitable for established writers who want to brush up on their knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation. And for aspiring self-publishers – especially if they won’t be engaging a professional editor – it’s an essential reference, to ensure that your book isn’t laughed out of court by critics and reviewers.

And finally, even if you don’t actually aspire to write for publication, but just want to bring your written English up to the best possible standard in the shortest possible time, Essential English for Authors is the guide for you!

Essential English for Authors is suitable for anyone in the world. It is written in US English, but British English is also referred to throughout (I’m a Brit myself, of course). To give you a flavour – or perhaps I should say flavor – of the guide, here’s a short extract from the section about subject/verb agreement…

One of the fundamental rules of grammar is that the parts of a sentence should agree with one another. So if the grammatical subject of a sentence is in the plural, the verb should be plural as well. Likewise, if the subject is in the singular, so should be the verb. 

So a sentence such as, “The boys was playing in the street” is an example of faulty agreement. “The boys” is plural, so the plural verb “were” is required: “The boys were playing in the street”. 

Likewise, “The telephone were ringing” is a sentence with a singular subject but a plural verb, so in this case the verb needs changing to the singular: “The telephone was ringing”. 

Put this way it sounds easy, but there are various situations that can cause unwary writers to trip up. In this module I will therefore set out some of these situations and the grammatical rules that apply to them. 

1. Two singular subjects connected by “or” or “nor” require a singular verb. Haddock or plaice is fine by me. Neither Bill nor Suzy is able to come. 

2. When one of your subjects is “I”, put it second, followed by the word “am”. Neither Ruth nor I am planning to attend. 

3. When a singular subject is connected by “or” or “nor” to a plural subject, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb. Either one adult or two children are allowed in at one time. Neither roast turkey nor sausages are on the menu today. 

4. As a general rule, use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by “and”. Tennis and swimming are my favorite sports. But where the subjects clearly form a single entity, a singular verb should be used. Steak and fries is my favorite meal.

By the way, don’t worry if you’re a bit hazy about nouns and verbs and such like, and the differences between them. This is all covered in Module Two, where I discuss the so-called “parts of speech”. I promise, after reading this, everything will be much clearer 🙂

Essential English for Authors is available as an instant download and will run on any PC using Windows 95 or later. More details can be viewed on my publisher’s website, which can be accessed by clicking on any of the links to Essential English for Authors on this page. Alternatively, just click on the banner below.

And, of course, if you have any queries, do feel free to leave a comment as usual.

Essential English For Authors

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