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Writing Smartly

Private Instruction in English Grammar, Writing, and Critical Reading

Write what you mean to say.

Writing clearly depends first on thinking clearly. We think clearly when we make distinctions, when we put the right words in the right structure to carry our ideas to someone else. Every word, phrase, and clause must count, without exception.


Because grammar is the structure you rely on to present your ideas clearly and persuasively. Without structure, thoughts get lost—whether you’re writing an email or memo, white paper or market analysis. Writing, like everything else we do confidently and well, depends upon a few straightforward principles. And when we write with those principles in mind, it becomes possible to build a sentence and turn a phrase in just the right way to get our ideas across clearly.

Rules are not regulations. Regulations order us around, often for reasons we don’t understand. Rules, on the other hand, are requirements based on reason. The rules of English grammar represent the way the language works as a system today; certain things can be done and certain things cannot. A writer, like a craftsman, works with the rules, and––when occasion demands––overlooks them insightfully.

Because every word is so important, we are well advised to follow a routine of critical reading–slow and reflective reading that keeps an eye on the structure and an ear to the sound of well-crafted language. We become better writers and thinkers by closely studying models of good writing.

Begin where you are.

Learning should be enjoyable, challenging us to reach for understanding, attain it, and reach again for the next level. There’s real pleasure in mastering what we once thought we never could.

Review English grammar for writing or conversation. Study sentence and paragraph design. Or meet to discuss literature important to you.

Wherever you’re beginning—basic, intermediate, or advanced study—one of these formats will help bring you to your goal.

In Person

Private instruction at a convenient location.

Video Conferencing

Meet wherever it’s convenient for you.


Confer online for instruction and revision.


Robert Ultimo has taught the art and science of writing for more than 25 years to students and professionals across many fields. He offers private instruction and tailored courses to individuals, organizations, and corporations, to help improve writing through an understanding of grammatical design.

He is founder and director of The Feltre School in Chicago, an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the liberal arts in contemporary society, and author of The Feltre School Grammar (2007), a textbook for grammar and writing based on his many years of teaching. He received his B.A. in Latin Language and Literature and his M.A. in Classics from Northwestern University.

Robert has worked with clients across a number of industries, including large corporations, financial institutions, health care associations, and consulting firms:


Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

Advocate Health Care

American Dental Association

American Society of Plastic Surgeons


Chase Bank

Chicago Police Department

Chicago Tribune

Commonwealth Edison

Community Bank Oak Park River Forest

Driehaus Capital Management Ennis Knupp & Associates

First Options of Chicago

Hyatt Corporation

Integrated Project Management

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

Kraft Foods

Morningstar, Inc.

Northern Bank and Trust

Pier & Associates, Certified Public Accountants

Tigerman McCurry Architects

University of Chicago Press


WBBM-TV, Chicago