My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students

Improve your writing

Any written work you do should have correct structure (i.e. sentences and paragraphs) and have correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.  This ensures that your writing is easy to read and communicates your ideas clearly.

sentence needs to contain:

  • at least one complete piece of information or thought
  • a capital letter at the beginning, and a full stop at the end
  • a question mark (?) instead of a full stop if it is a question
  • subject (person, people or thing/s) that is/are doing something; the subject is always a noun
  • An action or "doing" word (verb).

An example: Cars use fossil fuel.

Cars use fossil fuel

Cars (the subject) are doing something (using fuel).

Sentences can be simple, conveying one idea, or they can be more complex and combine several ideas or pieces of information. However these elements will always be present. 

Mixing simple and complex sentences in your writing can give it more variety and make it more interesting.  If you find it difficult to write long sentences containing multiple ideas, break it down into simple sentences.  It's better to be clear than to try writing something complex that ends up being difficult to understand. ‚Äč A useful tip for judging whether a sentence is clear is to read it aloud. If it sounds too complicated, then it probably is!

paragraph is the basic unit for building longer pieces of writing, e.g. essays, reports, assignments etc. It is a group of sentences that all relate to one topic or idea, and contains three main parts:

  • topic sentence containing the main idea of the paragraph
  • supporting sentences that develop or give details about the topic sentence. These can expand on the main point, offer explanations, and give examples or more details
  • concluding sentence that summarises the paragraph, often paraphrasing the topic sentence. It may provide a link to the next paragraph.

An example of a good paragraph:

           (topic sentence)     (supporting sentences)    (concluding sentence)

There are three reasons why Australia is one of the best countries in the world.  Firstly, there is an excellent free educational system.  Many Australians are able to undertake tertiary study.  Secondly, all Australians have access to subsidised medical care. The standard of hospitals is very high and well regulated. Finally, Australia has a wide range of climates and scenic beauty. There is a vast and varied amount of country to visit and live in.  Many people want to settle in this lovely country.   

Tools are built-in to many word processing programs, like Microsoft Word, to check your spelling and grammar. There are many other tools like this online - e.g. GrammarlySentence Checker, etc.  Remember to look for these tools in the program you're using - even the best writers can make mistakes! Be aware that some tools use American English.

If you find you need one-on-one support, try the Study Skills Advisors, available on campus and online during term times. It provides individualised tutoring and guidance to TAFE SA students.  You can find out more here.