Welcome to The Nature of Writing, a free writing guide for anyone who needs a little help with their writing.
We want you to experience something of the beauty and complexity of language, so that you can take pleasure in an apt word, an elegant turn of phrase, or a polished essay.
Our target audience consists of high-school and university students. The teaching of writing is so poor in many schools that students often arrive at university unable to spot a simple subject or tell a preposition from a conjunction. Our goal is to help students (and teachers) achieve a higher standard of writing. If we struggle with language, our thoughts and ideas will also lack complexity. Improving literacy is therefore the first step in improving our ability to think on a higher level.
Yet writing is about more than learning a few rules. The rules act like the lines on a colouring page, or a frame around a painting. They set limits and create order, but they are not the picture itself. In the same way, the best writing seems natural: we no longer notice the frame. Finding that balance between spontaneity and order is something we’ll help you with.
While this page uses the “royal we,” the website has been created primarily by one individual. My name is Conrad van Dyk, and I’m a professor of English at Concordia University of Edmonton. Creating such a vast resource is a huge undertaking, and any support you can provide is much appreciated. So leave a tip or a donation, and enjoy your time here.