Writing Skills


Word type   Definition  

Noun   A noun names a person, place, idea or thing. >> more

Verb   A verb is a word or a group of words which express ‘being’ or ‘doing’. >> more

Pronoun   A pronoun is a word that refers to someone or something that has already been mentioned. >> more

Adjective   An adjective is a word that describes a noun. >> more

Adverb   An adverb is a word that tells us when, where or how something happens. There are many types of adverbs with different functions. >> more



Punctuation mark   Use  

Full stop
  1. at the end of a sentence which is a statement
  2. after initials in names
  3. after some abbreviations
>> more

  1. to separate items in a list
  2. to separate less important information (a word, phrase or dependent clause) from the rest of the sentence
>> more

  1. to show that two short sentences are closely connected
  2. to separate longer items in a list, especially if the listed items have a verb
>> more

  1. to show that information which follows is closely linked
  2. to show that an explanatory list follows
>> more

  1. to show that letters have been removed from a word (used only for informal English, not academic English)
  2. to show that something belongs to somebody or something else
>> more

Quotation marks
... ’    “...
  1. to quote direct speech
  2. to show you are making a direct quote from someone else’s work
  3. to show you are using a word in a special way
>> more

  1. to link closely connected words so they make a compound word
  2. to add co-, ex-, non- to a word
  3. to write some fractions and numbers in words
  4. to write a single letter before a word
  5. to divide words that are too long to fit on one line
>> more



Sentences and their parts   Definition  

Subject and verb  


The subject is the person (who) or the thing (what) a clause or sentence is about. It may be one word or a group of words.


A word or group of words which are ‘doing’ or ‘being’ words.

>> Verb

>> more


A phrase is a group of words that belong together because of their meaning.

A phrase does not have a subject or a verb.
>> more


A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a verb, and usually some more information.

>> more

Simple sentences   A simple sentence is a group of words which has a subject and a verb. It makes one independent clause. >> more


Instruction words and their meaning   Meaning  

Account for   give reasons for; make clear why something happens

Analyse   look at in close detail to find main points and important features

Comment on   point out and describe the main issues, and give responses, based on what issues have been uncovered – avoid using ‘I think, I believe’

Critically evaluate   weigh up arguments for and against something, assess the strength of arguments on both sides and decide which opinions, theories, models or arguments are strongest

Define   clearly state or explain the meaning of

Describe   say what something is like, how it is

Discuss   consider something from different points of view, arguments for and against and then consider the implications

Evaluate   assess the importance or usefulness of something, using evidence

Examine   look at carefully and in detail and consider the implications

Explain   make clear why something happens, and give reasons for

How far   see ‘To What Extent’

Identify   point out and describe

Illustrate   give examples to support your arguments

Outline   give a short description of the main points

Suggest   mention ideas for consideration, propose

To what extent   consider how far something is or may not be true

What factors   what are the circumstances or conditions that contribute to something

Why   for what reasons or with what purpose