What you need to know for this course

This course is for academics across disciplines who want to level up their academic writing. It’s expected that you have experience with writing in academic contexts, whether as a graduate student or veteran researcher. These writing contexts might include a graduate paper, dissertation, research or journal article, or monograph. It’s also expected that you understand some basic aspects of sentence grammar. This course will be using a few grammatical terms, namely “subject,” “noun,” and “verb”. If you aren't familiar with these terms, spend some time with Google to get used to what they are and how they work.

You do not need to know other parts of grammar, such as:

  • Parts of speech
  • What a ‘clause’ and a ‘phrase’ are
  • What a gerund is
  • The difference between “that” and “which”
  • When to use “whom” instead of “who”

The following modules will introduce various writing and editing techniques for a variety of disciplines with a variety of training or exposure to topics in language and grammar. You don’t need to be an expert in grammar in order to write or edit well. In fact, this course will challenge the idea that there is a “correct” way of writing.

This course will cover 8 modules for editing your work. Each module will explain some component of sentence grammar in plain and accessible terms:

  1. Set a Baseline
  2. Start with an Axe
  3. Construct Sentences
  4. Verb Well
  5. Simplify Nouns
  6. Show Relationships
  7. Break the Rules
  8. Check Your Work

To make the most of this course, we recommend using writingwellishard.com concurrently. That tool uses a lot of words you may not be comfortable with—terms like “nominalizations” and “prepositions”—but you don’t have to be able to define or even identify these concepts, as long as you can see them at work in the tool. You may also want to grab a paper and pen, or open a new word doc, to practice some of the exercises in each module. 

Becoming a better editor of your own writing is an iterative process. Completing the steps in this course, along with using the Writing Well is Hard tool, won’t guarantee flawless writing. Rather, take these steps as a foundation to return to with each writing project. 

Complete and Continue