Upcoming Seminars
and a Short Course

Verbs and Adverbs
Tuesday, October 27
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Verbs are at the heart of our sentences, and understanding a few basic ideas about them—what is meant by the principal parts of a verb, a direct object, and tense—can go far in helping us to revise our drafts. Adverbs work with verbs, but they are often misplaced; and if we don’t know exactly where to position an adverb, we can unintentionally change the meaning of a sentence. This one-hour seminar will discuss these points, along with some basic observations about using the comma accurately. Participants will receive a handout that summarizes the presentation, including exercises and answers for private study. You may now enroll directly through this registration link. Tuition is $25.

Simple and Compound Subjects
Tuesday, November 3
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Every sentence we write addresses a subject we want to say something about, and it’s not uncommon for our sentences to involve two or more subjects at the same time. Simple sentences make a statement about only one thing; compound sentences say something about more than one subject, and the way we construct those more complicated statements will determine how easily our readers comprehend what we’re saying. This one-hour seminar will explain the parts of the subject phrase of a sentence, demonstrate how we can open a sentence effectively with an adverbial phrase, and illustrate how best to punctuate longer subject phrases. Participants will receive a handout that summarizes the presentation, including exercises and answers for private study. You may now enroll through this registration link. Tuition is $25.

Reading Closely to Write
Wednesdays, November 11 & 18 and December 2 & 9
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

It’s an open secret that we learn to write by reading. On Wednesday, November 11, I will begin a course of four one-hour sessions called Reading Closely to Write, each of which will examine the sentence structure and design of a well-written story by an acclaimed writer. Discussions will focus on the language of a short work of fiction (averaging only eight pages). We will analyze the grammar and composition of certain significant sentences, and consider how other designs the author could have chosen would have produced a different effect. Our emphasis will be on the language of the reading, so that we can begin to develop an eye and ear for our own natural written voice. Selections will be from 100 Great Short Stories, edited by James Daley (Dover, 2015), readily available at Amazon and elsewhere. Please use this registration link to enroll. Tuition for this four-session online course is $100.

Private Instruction Online

In addition to these weekly seminars, I offer private instruction online. If you would like to examine more closely a grammatical concept or particular document you are struggling with, or if you wish to discuss a work of literature or nonfiction you are currently reading, please email me directly at ultimo@writingsmartly.com to arrange a meeting. We can often get past stubborn hurdles when we explain to someone else the difficulties we are having. I have worked for many years with students and professionals to help them think more critically and write more clearly. Both onetime and ongoing arrangements are possible.


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