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for Successful Writing for the Real World

by DeWitt Scott and Michael Krigline, 2008 --

 Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press 外语教学与研究出版社

ISBN: 978-7-5600-7264-7; Chinese title: 高级实用英语写作


Note: Prof. Zheng Shu Tang wrote a wonderful preface in Chinese. I am posting this English version (it isn't exactly a translation) for the benefit of foreign teachers and others who can’t read Chinese. I've posted this English version here especially for English teachers who are looking for an advanced writing textbook. This will give you an idea of what to expect of my book.


Successful Writing for the Real World was written for advanced English-learners who want to improve their written English, and who want to use genuine English in order to communicate with people in the real world.

The English and Chinese languages have many dissimilar grammar structures, language habits and patterns of thought. This reality makes English writing very difficult for Chinese students. However, various types of English writing are common in our daily lives and work, and Chinese students want to produce influential and genuine English that is appropriate in different circumstances (at school, in international correspondence, posted on the Internet, and so forth). Beginners study writing in order to please a teacher or to pass a test; this book will teach you the next step so you can write for the real world outside campus walls, using simple English that is free from the errors that naturally come with complicated or translated sentences.

Three of the main features of the book are:


(1) Key principles of English writing are presented by a pair of authors who are native English speakers, experienced as teachers, writers and editors. This textbook includes Secrets of Successful Writing, an excellent guidebook into which the late DeWitt Scott poured his forty years of writing experience. These principles will help advanced English learners master the steps of writing.

(2) As an experienced foreign expert, teaching in China, I created the Better Writing Study Guide with dozens of explanations that will guide Chinese students in overcoming the mistakes I see time and again in student work. Using the guide's detailed table of contents at the back of this book, you can find timely assistance when you struggle with these common writing problems.

(3) Both Mr. Scott and I emphasize that the true nature of writing is communication, so this should be the standard for determining if writing succeeds or fails. This point is very meaningful in China, where leading educators are trying to change the focus from simply being skilled at passing English tests. A focus on communication is also behind the book’s unique framework and content. Communication is affected by context, so students will study eight common types of writing, including the standard academic essay, material to help you sell products or attract customers, and basic journalism for a newspaper or corporate newsletter. In addition to appropriate exercises, throughout the book you will find sample essays and articles to correct—things written by other English-learners instead of native speakers. By learning from the common mistakes other students have made, learners can understand and master the content effectively, and improve their ability to communicate in written English.


When you first open the book you may feel that the organizational structure is a bit complicated and hard to follow. It is organized for classroom use, resulting in interesting and varied lessons with content introduced at strategic times throughout an academic year. From lesson to lesson, the focus shifts between writing skills, practical types of writing, and the Better Writing Study Guide. This organization is different from the way Chinese books are normally structured, but when the book was tested at Chinese universities, students and teachers found this format refreshing and appropriate for middle to advanced English learners. [note: This book was created with learners above the TEM-4 level in mind, but those above the CET-4 level will also find this textbook very helpful if they are willing to put in lots of hard work.]


For example, the book begins by helping English majors with the thesis required for graduation by building on concepts taught in a basic writing course. Lesson 1 presents the basic academic paragraph. Lessons 2 and 3 introduce fundamental principles of English academic writing, including important pre-writing steps. Lesson 4 presents how to create an academic paper, from outline to finished product, as well as how to document such multi-paragraph essays. Lesson 5 teaches another writing skill, before introducing a new type of writing (product descriptions) in lesson 6. The book’s lessons are linked together in a holistic way to achieve the goal of effective communication, whether you are writing to influence customers, inform clients, correspond with business partners, or simply to pass an English test.

To equip you to communicate better, I have also added exercises, discussion questions, a glossary for new vocabulary terms (with simple English definitions to further help you develop English skills), an index to help you find assistance quickly, a teachers’ guide, and several useful appendices. Links and additional help are also available at These resources will give you the tools to improve your writing.

Successful Writing for the Real World is a practical writing course for Chinese English-learners, but it can also be used as a self-study course for those who already use English at work. If you read carefully and do the exercises, then these pages will give you practical tools to improve your writing skills, helping you use genuine English in the real world.

Michael Krigline, M.A.

Formerly at Northwestern Polytechnical University (曾在西北工业大学任教)
Teaching at Kunming Medical University when the book was published (昆明医学院)

Currently at Xiamen University (厦门大学)


© 2008 Michael Krigline, all rights reserved.

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