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Writing and Grammar Tips (beta)

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Expand Your Vocab

If you’re looking to expand your vocabulary, here a few ways to start:

Dictionary.com offers free email subscriptions to its word of the day feature. (Look for “Get Word of the Day” and “Free Email Sign Up” on the sidebar.)

Merriam-Webster also offers word of the day emails and podcasts. (Scroll down to find “Subscribe to the Podcast” and “Subscribe to the Word of the Day email”.)

Apps are available for mobile phones. Try Word of the Day by Code Driven (available from iTunes for $0.99) or the Advanced English and Thesaurus app (available in the Android Market for free), from the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University. The thesaurus bills itself as “organized with an innovative and convenient approach. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms, interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations. In addition to the straightforward definition the dictionary shows how each word is linked to other words in terms of synonyms, opposites and similar words, but also hyponyms and hyperlinks within the group.”

Dictionary.com has a free app, too.

But, as any proficient writer will tell you, when it comes to improving your writing skills, there’s no substitute for reading. Consider subscribing to daily or weekly news bulletins from the likes of Google (which aggregates news content from media outlets), CNN (scroll down to “My Alerts” and select “Personalized email alerts”, or the Washington Post. Subscriptions are free, as is access to site content, and in many cases, you can customize your subscriptions to fit your interests. I’ve done this when studying French and Arabic, and it’s a great way to get daily exposure to common constructions and vocabulary.

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