ESL Web Directory




English Language Issues

This is a selection of articles I have written on English language issues, mostly as a result of questions that kept coming up in various places about correct usage of apostrophes and suchlike.


Teaching ESL students how to become better writers.

Guide to Grammar and Style

These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage I put together for my classes. Nothing here is carved in stone, and many comments are matters of personal preference — feel free to psychoanalyze me by examining my particular hangups and bętes noires.


William Safire's examples of what not to do when writing, each containing an example of the problem.

Plain English Campaign

Plain English Campaign is an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English. 'Public information' means anything people have to read to get by in their daily lives. 'Plain English' is language that the intended audience can understand and act upon from a single reading.

Plain English Manual (pdf)

This isn’t a manual on the whole subject of drafting. The subject covers a very wide field and there are already books and courses on it. This is about only one aspect of drafting: making drafts easier to understand.

Politics and the English Language

A guide by George Orwell to writing good English

The Elements of Style (William Strunk, Jr.)

Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.

The King’s English (H.W. Fowler)

The plan for the second edition of the classic reference work The King’s English was dictated by the following considerations: (1) to pass by all rules, of whatever absolute importance, that are shown by observation to be seldom or never broken; and (2) to illustrate by living examples, with the name of a reputable authority attached to each, all blunders that observation shows to be common.

The Slot

A newspaper editor's thorough and opinionated look at grammar and style questions.

Who and Whom-James Thurber: Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English

The number of people who use "whom" and "who" wrongly is appalling. The problem is a difficult one and it is complicated by the importance of tone, or taste.

Word Centre

Plain English news, plain English services and plain English products from the Word Centre. Document editing and training in effective writing.