Writing by Design

becoming a professional writer

Archive for writing

The Claim: It Pays To Increase Your Word Power

For several years now I’ve been giving my first-year writing students a vocabulary quiz as part of their writing diagnostics.  I’ve noticed a strong correlation between final grades in the course and how well (or badly) students do on the vocabulary quiz. Although intuitively the link between a wide vocabulary and writing seems clear–students with more word power have probably read more widely than their classmates–I didn’t like to push that correlation into the realm of causation.

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Diction Deficits (and a new remedy)

The word processer giveth; the word processer taketh away.

In 1986, Stanford Professor Andrea Lunsford analysed thousands of examples of student writing to identify the most common errors found there. Twenty years on, she repeated the research and discovered significant differences. Prof. Lundsford explains:

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