Better Writing Study Book

Richard Harrison


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ISBN: 9781782601210

Pre-intermediate to intermediate
CEF Level: A2 to B1  IELTS Level: 3.0 to 4.5

Product Description


Fully revised with additional content, this full colour new edition of Better Writing builds on the success of the original. It is designed to supplement main coursebooks at the low-intermediate to intermediate level and will benefit students at secondary or tertiary institutions as well as adults on vocational or professional training programmes.

The author takes a step-by-step approach to the teaching of writing skills. Each unit begins with activities designed to increase awareness of what writing in English involves and includes practice in:

  • mechanical skills (spelling, capitalization and punctuation)
  • construction and linking (conjunctions and subordination)
  • grammar

The new ‘Language review’ section concludes each unit with additional practice in the main language items featured. Through controlled and guided practice, students are gradually led towards writing accurate, cohesive, appropriate and more interesting paragraphs involving a variety of topics and functions, such as:

  • explaining the functioning of a device
  • describing a process
  • describing an object
  • making comparisons
  • describing tables and graphs
  • explaining cause and effect
  • writing formal and informal letters
  • describing change over time
  • reporting speech and events


Format: Paperback


To the student

Unit 1: What’s it like?
Unit 2: How things work
Unit 3: How is it made?
Unit 4: Telling a story
Unit 5: Which is better?
Unit 6: Changes

To the teacher

Answer key

Author details

Richard Harrison is based in Oman and the UK. He works as an English language author, consultant and teacher trainer. He has written a number of course books including Keep Writing, New English Please and Headway Academic Skills. He is also the author or co-author of schools courses for Jordan, Egypt and Libya. As well as being an author, Richard also runs his own publishing company based in Muscat. Richard has a wide knowledge of the region having worked in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the UAE as well as Oman.


"Far too many writing coursebooks tend to approach matters as if the ultimate goal is for the student writer to create one of the several established essay formats such as problem-solution or cause-effect. With less ambitious but by no means less useful aims, this title is a breath of fresh air. Written to assist students at A2 to B1 level, i.e. those who can already put together a basic but effective text, this new edition of Better Writing takes a step-by-step approach to building paragraphs, working from the mechanics of spelling and punctuation, up to constructing and linking sentences using the correct conjunctions. It’s all done admirably well, too.

Each of the six lengthy units, with titles like ‘What’s it like?’, ‘How things work’, and ‘How is it made?’ works around a function. Beginning with a focus on the sentence, units move quickly on to activities based around grammar point. Unit One, for example, deals with ‘have and have not’, in which firstly the grammar is clearly outlined, then moves on to tasks in which the language of dimensions is introduced – length, width, height, etc. The next stage for budding writers is to build their own sentences in order to describe objects like a jeep, a suitcase and the Japanese flag.

One of the many aspects of Better Writing I admired was the brevity and clarity of the multitude of tasks in every unit. Following the construction of sentences, as explained above, students are introduced to methods of joining ideas in simple but effective style. In order to do so, Unit One focuses on the use of ‘with’, which is followed swiftly by work on ‘when’ clauses. As an introduction to work at paragraph level, students are next provided with a noticing task that involves adding the correct punctuation and capital letters to a short text. This is followed by further tasks requiring gap-filling, based largely on items previously taught, i.e. ‘with’ and ‘when’. My only quibble with the author is that the free writing stage, one with which units normally end, is in all six units placed before several useful tasks in vocabulary building. Potential users of this book might disagree; please feel free to contact me.

Building upon work in the first three units that cover the passive voice, reported speech, imperatives for giving instructions, plus several more conjunctions such as ‘which’ and ‘although’, Better Writing moves from dealing with mostly technical matters onto work covering narration of a story and of course getting students to first write the ending of a story prior to creating one of their own. Tasks for units later in the book are both more challenging - and why should they not be? – but are helped by the addition of several checklists and further noticing tasks. Finally, as if the above wasn’t enough to entice anyone involved in teaching writing, each unit ends with a four-page language review, the material from which could be easily adapted to create a pop quiz."

- Wayne Trotman for EL Gazette, March 2015

"Overall, Better Writing is an excellent supplemental text for those students looking to improve the clarity and accuracy of their paragraphs. It is a thorough and concise examination of the steps to successful writing."