OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Saturday, January 17


QUESTION: Alright embarrassing, but I'm an upper year student and I regularly get told that my writing needs work, I have good grades and I have good information in my essay I just can't execute it well. Any tips on improving your writing besides asking someone to proofread


  1. Try the UW writing center, I haven't gone myself but my English prof highly recommended it

  2. Read more books. Seriously. It's hard to be a good writer if you haven't been exposed to lots of material from high quality authors. And not just textbooks but good literature as well. This isn't something you'll be able to improve overnight, but if you try to read a good book every couple of weeks you should start to see some improvements. Not to mention that reading for pleasure is a great way to wind down before going to bed.

    1. +1

      I would also recommend looking through one of the standard style guides (e.g. The Elements of Style). Some people don't like their strictness, but they will make you a more competent writer.

      Finally, practice conciseness. Express yourself in as few words as is reasonable, and try to avoid both technical jargon and slang.

  3. I recommend "The Elements of Style" by E.B. White. It's a tiny little book and costs only about $12 online, but if you read through it and study it, your writing is sure to improve. As 2 said, read. People who read regularly are usually better writers because they spend a lot of time immersed in language and the structure of language. Purdue OWL also offers more decent writing aids:

  4. Practice makes perfect.

  5. switch to math/eng so you don't get to write bs literature essays.