Do you like to write or do you hate it? When your instructor assigns a paper do you cheer or do you groan? Well, probably very few students cheer at the thought of writing an academic paper. If you're one of those few, you have my respect and admiration. This post is for the less enthusiastic among us.
Writing comes easily to some people. I've always felt I had a knack for it, but I've come to realize that my grammar skills are a bit lacking. I was okay with the basics, but there were some rules that I just didn't know or fully understand. If I wanted to be a better writer, I had to get better at grammar. Naturally, I turned to the Internet for help.
Of course, there is more to writing than grammar. When you write, you have to consider your: topic, audience, medium, etc. For now, I'll focus on Internet resources for getting help with the mechanics of writing.
Paste your text into the Grammarly web app and get a run-down of your wiring mistakes. You can also download the Grammarly plugin for MS Word to get better grammar and spell check results than you would with Word's native checker. Grammarly has a free plan, but serious users will want to pay for the full product. There are other checkers out there, but I haven't found anything better than this. Here's a video demo of Grammarly in Word
If you like listening to podcasts, try Grammar Girl from QuickandDirtyTips.com. Mignon Fogarty (AKA, Grammar Girl), talks about grammar in an easy-to-understand way. She'll give you tricks for remembering things like when to use a semicolon instead of a comma, or why you should say "that," instead of "which." If you like the podcast, try one of Grammar Girl's books in print, Kindle, or audio.
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab is a great resource for student writers. OWL has in-depth grammar guides to help you understand the most complicated English rules. OWL is also great for learning how to format papers for APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style.
If you're serious about improving your grammar skills, the DailyGrammar has lessons and quizzes that will give you all that you need, and more. Check out their grammar glossary to learn terms you never knew existed.
That should be enough to keep you busy. Remember, if you want to get better at writing, you have to keep writing. Being an avid reader helps too.
Now that you're writing, you'll need some word processing skills. Read this post about how to get the most out of Word 2013.