The Science

7spell is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind 7spell's effectiveness.

Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF.

In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With 7spell, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.

Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web.

Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that 7spell accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.

Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web.

In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in 7spell to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.

Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web.

Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the 7spell activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.

Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532

In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and 7spell incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, 7spell provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.

Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF.

Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. 7spell uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.

Spelling Tip: Watch Out For Similar Words With Different Meanings

When you’re typing, you need to watch out for those inadvertent slips of the finger that create typos – misspelled words that you might not catch with your computer spellchecker because the misspelling actually creates a new word that’s correctly spelled, but not at all the word you meant to use. For example, if you mistype the word complaint as compliant your computer won’t flag that as a mistake, but your readers certainly will!

You need to also watch out for “audible typos” when you’re speaking, to make sure that you don’t use words with similar appearance and pronunciation incorrectly. Sometimes words that are easy to mistype or misspell don’t cause problems when you’re speaking, because the pronunciation of the words is so different. It’s not likely that you’ll say the word complaint (pronounced kuhm-PLAYNT, “a stated grievance or disapproval of a situation”) instead of the word compliant (pronounced kuhm-PLY-uhnt, “easy-going, agreeable”) because the words are not really alike in pronunciation, even though the spellings are almost identical.

On the other hand, the words credible and creditable are probably easier to misuse when speaking than when writing or typing, because there’s an extra set of letters in the second word. This also creates an extra syllable, but since it’s not emphasized, it’s easy to slur over it and confuse the two words. Credible is pronounced KREH-dih-bull and means “believable, trustworthy.” Creditable is pronounced KREH-dih-tah-bull and means “deserving of praise.”

Keep your eyes open to watch out for spelling mistakes and your ears open to avoid pronunciation mistakes, and you’ll be sure to speak and type typo-free!

Spelling Activities To Improve Your Spelling Skills Fast

Spelling is fun.  Really, it is! But if you find spelling practice boring or repetitive, it’s probably because you’re using the wrong activities. Here are some ways to spice up your spelling practice and become a Master Speller in no time.

Word Sorting: Learn Words in Groups

To learn difficult or hard to remember spellings you can practice word sorting.  Word sorting helps you develop phonemic awareness so that you can know how a sound translates into a word.

For instance, phonemic awareness lets you know that the letter A has two pronunciations. Sometimes it’s pronounced with a short vowel sound (as in ‘mat’) and sometimes with a long vowel sound (as in ‘gate’), but in both cases it’s simply written as the letter ‘a.’

Another example is grouping words by their suffixes, or other similar characteristics. You might make up a list with a group of words ending in the letters –cious. You could also choose to learn a list of words where the letter K is silent, as in ‘knight’ and ‘knee.’

When you truly understand spelling patterns, you will be able to apply these when spelling unknown words. One such spelling pattern could be the soft and hard G.

The letter G is pronounced “hard” in words such as gate, gap, goat and grow but “soft” in words such as gym and giraffe.

You can learn this sound-letter pattern with this rule:

When followed by A, O, or U, the G is pronounced with a “hard” sound.

When G is followed by I or E or Y, then the sound is “soft.”  

Knowing these letter patterns helps you correctly guess the spelling of an unknown word when you hear it pronounced out loud. You will be able to decipher that the correct spelling of ‘gymnastics’ is with a G and not a J, because you’ll recognize the pattern and remember the rule.

This technique of word sorting can be applied to a number of spelling activities. You can learn spelling with groups of words like these:

1) Learning words ending in –at and –an, as in the case of ‘pat’ and ‘pan’

2) Words with a silent E such as ‘cake’, ‘love’, ‘dove’ and ‘jove’

3) Learning words with diphthongs, such as ‘oy’ and ‘ow’

4) Learning the difference between the long and short A sounds in words like ‘hat’ and ‘safe’

Spelling patterns help you make generalized rules on how spelling works. Implementing these rules, once you know them, helps you arrive at the correct spelling of new words.

Once your phonological awareness is expanded through this technique, you can start practicing with games and spelling activities to consolidate that knowledge.

Spelling Knowledge Consolidation: Spelling 24/7

In order for you to truly master spelling you need to practice in a consistent yet fun manner. In fact, you can incorporate spelling practice in almost everything you do! Here are some ways to do it:

Gather together newspaper clips or online content and look for spelling words you’ve learned in the previous week or two. Seeing words in context helps you form a mental image of the correctly-spelled word.

Create a story based on the words you’ve just learned, or use them to practice the one you learned a while back. Collect 5 to 10 words and create a short narrative with them.  The more creative and funny the story, the more enjoyable this will be.

Shrink your spelling “black list” by studying your frequently misspelled words using a technique called “spelling stairs.” In this process, you start with the first letter, then add a single letter at a time until you form your word, like this:







Play online spelling games and take advantage of the hundreds of spelling games that are variations of classic word games and spelling activities, like Scramble and Hangman. When you’re having fun, you’ll enjoy the practice, and you’ll spend more time at it.

Mnemonics: The Expert’s Technique

Invent mnemonics for tough words to help you remember them. Sometimes, no matter how much you study a word you always seem to get it wrong, and mnemonic techniques can help. For example, say you always misspell the word ‘dilemma.’ Create a mnemonic for it that helps you remember the correct spelling, like this one:

Emma faced a dilemma.

Here’s another example: you can memorize the sentence “Goofy George always exaggerates” to remember to spell ‘exaggerate’ with a double G.

Follow Ultimate Spelling on Facebook, Twitter and Googe+ for more tips and advice.

Check out eReflect’s Profile on Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Crunchbase and Training Industry as well!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Why Writing Skills Need To Be Perfected

Can’t average writing skills meet your needs in most situations? I’m afraid the answer is “no.” If you want to move ahead in your career and personal life you need above-average writing skills.

There’s more to writing than you might think

Writing and its associated skills form a complex network of competency that rests upon many other important abilities. To be a competent writer, you need to have mastered spelling and proper grammar usage, you need to have a rich and deep vocabulary, and you must have the ability to express yourself with clarity and eloquence.

What this means is that good writing skills will be the proof of your skills in many other areas as well. You will come across as a smart, competent person — a prerequisite for any job on today’s competitive market. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s no better self-promotion tool than impeccable writing skills.

Your writing is a reflection of who you are

Even if your job doesn’t require a lot of day to day writing, whenever you’re required to write something, whether that’s an email or even a simple text message, people will still judge your intelligence and competence based on your writing.

While it may sound condescending and presumptuous to judge a person solely on their writing skills, it happens. People use the written word to see how a person thinks, what their values are, and what principles and ethics their lives are governed by.

Great writing skills help you construct and project a competent, intelligent, and persuasive personal brand. Bad writing skills will more likely cost you a shot at better career prospects.

The written word is supreme

Most office-based jobs require that you master written communication skills. In fact, most formal communication in companies is through the written word. Government proceedings, legal documents, and contracts are not orally communicated, they’re always expressed through formal writing.

Everything worthwhile and binding is in written form so it’s crucial that you’ve mastered writing skills by the time you start your career. In fact, the earlier you learn these skills, the better, since they will help you get the education you need to succeed in that career. You need to be able to write and communicate in a variety of contexts — a Q3 report is not the same as writing a grant proposal— but also be able to understand and process formal language content and avoid any misunderstandings and errors.

Read voraciously to improve your vocabulary, and when you are writing, try keeping your sentences short and simple even when using that advanced vocabulary. Follow formal style and format rules to get the most professional end result, and always spell-check and proofread your content. Writing skills are valuable, and worth the effort they take to acquire them.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Boost Your Vocabulary (Guest Post)

Michael Stavropoulos

All learners of English, especially those at post-intermediate level, face the same problem: how to maximize their lexical learning capacity, how to retain the vocabulary they learn. This post will outline a procedure that students can follow to remember the lexis they come across.

1. Explore the context

Try to notice where the word is in the sentence. This will give you a lot of information about the grammar of the word: for instance, is the new word a noun, an adjective, a verb or an adverb? Classifying the word grammatically will help you towards understanding syntax; it also helps that word order rules are quite fixed in English.

e.g. Authorities tried to position the missing aeroplane but its position could not be determined.

The first “position” comes after to, so that makes it a verb. The second “position” comes after a possessive (its) and before a modal verb (could), so that makes it a noun.

2. Guess the meaning

It may seem difficult at first, but all it takes is practice. In every sentence, writers use words which are semantically (i.e. in terms of meaning) linked to the word you don’t know.These words are called contextual clues. All you have to do is notice these other words. Let’s see an example:

The young boys felt ravenous after their long hike in the woods.

Assuming ravenous is your unknown word, the contextual clues in the sentence above are: young boys, long hike in the woods. So, to guess the meaning, all you have to do is ask yourself: “How does a young boy feel after a long hike in the woods?” Tired. Hungry. Both. So, here are your possible answers. You have limited down the possible meanings to three. That’s no mean feat. Now, look around the sentence where the unknown word is. If the text continues: “They devoured the food in no time”, then you understand the word ravenous means hungry.

3. Memorize chunks, not individual words

So, you want to learn this word. You want to make a note of it. If you take the trouble to do this, then do it right. It won’t help much if you write: ravenous=hungry.

If you write, though, the whole sentence where you first saw the word and underline the target word (the word you want to learn), then you will have made an association between young boys+felt ravenous+long hike in the woods. Your mind will find it easier to remember the new association than a word in isolation. Plus you will have done something with the new word with your own hands. Your chances of remembering the word in the long term will be higher.

4. Personalize the new vocabulary

OK, so you’ve learned “ravenous”. Well done! This word was a stranger a minute ago. Now it’s yours. Or is it? If you want this word to stay with you for ever, then USE it in a context that is meaningful to YOU.

“I remember the day I started this wonder diet. I had to eat a broccoli salad and an apple and drink lots of water.Boy, was I ravenous at the end of the day!”.

5. Revisit your notes regularly

Do you learn phone numbers by heart? Chances are you don’t these days since smart phones do this for you. A couple of decades back, though, I noticed that the more often I dialed a number, the sooner it took me to learn the number by heart. I still remember phone numbers that I don’t dial anymore. What does this show? Your memory needs training. Repetition (review or revision, pick whatever term you like) is the training equipment you have at your disposal. If you get into the habit of reviewing your vocabulary regularly, then you will jog your memory and – to paraphrase “a healthy mind in a healthy body” – “a rich vocabulary in a trained mind”.

Author’s BioMichael Stavropoulos is an EFL Teacher. He holds a BA in Medieval and Modern Greek from the University of Athens, Greece, but has spent more than two decades teaching General and Academic English to teenagers and young adults. He has also translated books from English into Greek and edited publications of the University of Athens. He lives in Piraeus with his wife and son.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

5 Things Teachers Can Do to Improve Their Teaching Style Outside the Classroom

As a teacher, you might love teaching, but do your students love learning? To make learning engaging for students you can integrate the following five tactics and instantly improve your teaching’s impact.

Tech-Driven Learning is More Fun

If you’re teaching new vocabulary, for instance, use vocabulary improvement software that will help your students learn through fun games and interactive activities. Young people by definition are more adept with technological skills, so by integrating software and social media into your teaching routine you will instantly get your students’ attention – a prerequisite for advanced learning.

Use classroom management software and apps to get your students and their parents engaged with learning, and you’ll reduce the number of “I forgot there’s an assignment” excuses, and get students used to taking responsibility.

Give Responsibilities

Students love being thought of as reliable, knowledgeable human beings. Boost this assertive self-image of your students by asking them to take up projects and initiatives of their own, in ways that illustrate what they learn in the classroom.

Being confident in your own capacities and knowledge is a valuable skill to teach to your students.

Make Teaching Interesting

Social media, intuitive educational apps, empirical learning. Need we say more? There are so many resources online and offline to spice up learning. Stop thinking of technology as something that will only distract students, and don’t be tempted to and exclude it from your classroom. Its power to promote learning is beyond imagination!

Students get bored easily, so your goal is to be unexpectedly interesting. Surprise your students with a vocabulary lesson on vocabulary software, initiate a Twitter Q&A session to discuss a history test, or have online-based assignments that teach the topic – and how to use technology responsibly.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

No matter how passionate you are about education, you need to set aside ample time to yourself. If you cannot seem to find time for your hobbies and friends, schedule time for them. If it’s in your schedule it will be done.

Cultivate new skills, engage and be exposed to different kinds of social circles and experiences, and play with technology yourself in your free time. All of this will spruce up your own teaching methods and multiply what you can give to your students.

Don’t Forget the Parents

Parents are your most loyal allies when it comes to boosting your students’ performance and counteracting their weaknesses. Start cultivating a nurturing, trustworthy relationship with the parents of your students, and take advantage of modern communication to make this relationship easy and enjoyable.

Although it might not be easy to keep in touch and keep up with all your students’ parents in person, technology is now making it a bit easier to do so on line. A weekly newsletter or an online teacher’s conference with them gives you a more accurate context as to the best way to approach each parent, and how to discuss any issues related to the student. Don’t forget to include well-deserved praise for the student!

Running volunteering programs, or getting parents involved in school performances and events, can be another way to recruit parents in your mission to offer knowledge. Let parents know that their child is important to you, and you’ll get the behind-the-scenes support you need with the students.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Ultimate Spelling Software

We live and breathe digital. We communicate online. We work online.  We learn and socialize online. That’s why good spelling is crucial, now more than ever. But if you disagree, here are five reasons why you won’t enjoy using Ultimate Spelling.
You don’t like easy, step-by-step guidance

Forget everything you ever knew about learning to spell well. It’s no longer dull. It’s no longer repetitive. Welcome the new era of spelling, where learning to spell correctly is possible through interactive activities and fun games. An era where you get real support by spelling experts and video tutorials to help you really master spelling.

But if you don’t like being shown how to use scientifically designed exercises to learn spelling easily, then you won’t like the Ultimate Spelling system.

You’re tired of interactive, fun games

Fun games, quizzes and customized spelling games with your own custom lists make learning to spell a million times more fun. Word Search, Super Scrambler and Save Stick Man are among the most popular Ultimate Spelling games you can play and get addicted to. Why spend time studying boring, bottomless word lists when you practice your orthography skills with fun games and interactive activities?

On the other hand, if you hate having fun while you learn, you definitely won’t like the Ultimate Spelling activities and addictive games.
You aren’t interested in how much progress you’re making

Track your progress from Day 1 to Day 128 with Ultimate Spelling’s advanced monitoring technology. Get detailed reports on the activities, study time and insights of the words mastered and your spelling success.  The overview of your spelling activity gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and feeds your drive to master even more words.

But if you don’t really care how well you’re doing, or how well you spell, then you won’t get excited by Ultimate Spelling’s informative charts and graphs.

You don’t believe in research results or scientific studies

Every activity on Ultimate Spelling is backed by research done by esteemed scientists and educators around the world, and developed by spelling experts into a program that helps ensure you make the best possible progress in the least amount of time. The activities are designed on the learning principles of deep processing, operant conditioning, and reward structures, and make learning happen in a fun, interactive environment.

However, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t trust accredited scientific institutions, then you’re not going to believe how quickly these same principles will work in making you a better speller.

You’re not into social engagement

Sharing your success is half the fun of learning to spell. That’s why Ultimate Spelling has added the coveted feature of social sharing to its already interactive system. Now you can share your every spelling milestone with friends and family, further increasing your motivation to study harder and accomplish more!

On the other hand, if you don’t use any social media and prefer to keep to yourself, then this aspect of Ultimate Spelling isn’t for you.

In fact, if you feel your spelling is fine the way it is, Ultimate Spelling is not for you. But if you want to write better, and eliminate errors from your professional documents and personal communication, then it’s time to get Ultimate Spelling and watch your writing transform!

There’s really no excuse not to improve your spelling with Ultimate Spelling. It’s fun, it’s fast. and it works. Whether you believe it or not.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments


Follow Ultimate Spelling on Facebook, Twitter and Googe+ for more tips and advice.

Check out eReflect’s Profile on Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Crunchbase and Training Industry as well!

When Do We Use Capital Letters?

You know all of the basic capitalization rules. Start a new sentence with the first letter of the first word capitalized. Always capitalize the pronoun “I.” Always use a capital letter to start the spelling of the names of people, nationalities, countries, cities, and places.

However, there are more rules for capitalization, some of which are not that straightforward or widely used as they should be.

Here’s the complete list, so you don’t misuse capital letters again!

Capitalize proper nouns (names of people, places and things) and adjectives derived from proper nouns.

For instance, you will need to use capital letters for both George Orwell and “an Orwellian idea”, for an Oreo cookie and for a ComicCon fan.

Capitalize abbreviated words and acronyms.

For instance, UK, USA, NASA, and the APA should always be in all capital letters.

This helps alert someone not familiar with an acronym that this is not a proper English word but an acronym they’re reading.

Capitalize book titles, film names  and other cultural concepts and artifacts.

Capitalize names of book titles, film titles, paintings, publications and journals, organizations and any observance or special day.

Here are some examples: Labor Day, Moby Dick, The Journal of Academic Pediatrics, Picasso’s Guernica, and The Godfather.

Capitalize the first letter of days and months.

Don’t confuse months with seasons. Months and days of the week have to be spelled with a capital first letter, but the words for seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall/autumn) don’t.

Capitalize company names, brands and other trademarks.

Unless otherwise intentionally not capitalized by the company or brand itself, all brand and company names need to be capitalized.

Coca Cola, Marc Jacobs, Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung need a capital first letter. Because the owners of the company and brand have chosen to use lower-case letters to start their names, brand names like iPod and company names like eReflect are exceptions to the rule.

Capitalize titles, monuments and other historically important places, planets, seas, streets, and other landmarks.

You need to capitalize Big Ben and Stonehenge, the University of Harvard, and King James VI.

You need to also capitalize fictional places too. So Harry Potter, Westeros, and Voldemort all deserve a capital first letter.

Use a capital letter if you’re talking about a famous ship, train, or other vessel.

The Mayflower and the Titanic, the Orient Express and Apollo 13 all need a capital first letter.

Capitalize professional titles that come before the name of a person.

If you’re talking about Professor Wyatt and Doctor Watson, make sure you capitalize their titles (doctor and professor). Other titles that get capitalized include the following: King and Queen, Pope, Judge, Senator, Prime Minister.

There you have it, a complete list of the rules of English capitalization!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Enhancing Writing Capacities: Principles & Resources

Kenneth Waldman

There are numerous professions where the ability to write is absolutely essential. Novelists, journalists, lawyers, freelance writers, managers, teachers, college students, you name it. It is fair to say that writing, and writing well, requires at least a modicum of talent. But writing, just like any other skills, can be improved and polished until it has reached a certain level of quality.  

In the past, an individual needed to put in a lot of time and effort to perfect their writing skills, but today, there is a whole myriad of different tools, techniques and apps which can improve your writing almost instantly.

The writing process can be divided into 5 different stages, or elements. We have provided you with a list of all the best writing tools and resources for each of the 5 stages. Keep on reading.


The first stage of every writing process involves digging through the chaos inside your mind and finding an idea which has some value. You can do it the old-fashioned way, by using just a pen and some paper, or you can rely on one of the following tools:

      MindNode. This online resource relies on the mind mapping technique in order to help the writer come up with useful ideas and concepts. The entire process is represented graphically, which makes it really easy to get a hang of.

      FreeMind. FreeMind is somewhat similar to MindNode, because it relies on the use graphics for mind mapping, but it can also be used to keep track of all your projects, as well as all your research data, bookmarks and notes. You can use the notes to create your own knowledge database which you can dip into whenever you need an idea.

      The Story Starter. Sometimes, the only thing you need to get your creative juices flowing is that first sentence, and this is exactly what The Story Starter does. It generates a random starter sentence which you need to get the ball rolling. This location is one of the top online communities which gathers thousands of writers into one place, and offers a whole multitude of different tool, tips and techniques to improve your writing, as well as a creative environment which is guaranteed to kick-start your inspiration.


Once you have your ideas and your topics figured out, before you can start writing, you need to start doing research on the subject. Unless the topic you are writing about just happens to be your field of expertise, you will have to dedicate some time to research different sources and gather all the necessary data. For instance, even if you are writing your autobiography, you still need to consult people that are close to you that were there when certain events occurred in your life.

If you are looking for online resources, check out the following locations:

     LibrarySpot. LibrarySpot is a free online data resource center which lets you search libraries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, research studies, paper, and so on. If you are looking for information on just about anything, we advise you to start here.

     Google Scholar. If Google isn’t turning up any useful results, try Google Scholar, which is Google’s search engine designed to index and search scholarly content based on both metadata and full texts. Its database contains around 160 million documents!

     Encyclopaedia Britannica. One of the largest encyclopedias in history needs no special introduction. With Nobel Prize winners among its contributors, it’s hard to beat in terms of quality.

     Project Gutenberg. What started off as a volunteer project back in 1971 become one of the largest digital libraries in the world, with almost 50,000 public domain titles available for reading and downloading in popular formats.


In order to enhance your writing, you are going to need a good text editor, and several reputable resources which can help both with practical advice on how to improve your writing, as well as high quality work by the best writers online:

     Write My Essay. If are looking for practical advice on how to write papers and essays, you can find plenty of it on this website. Furthermore, you can get in touch with professional writers and ask for custom guidance, or even commission an essay and see how it should be done.

     yWriter. If you are using a standard text editor like Microsoft Word and you’re writing a novel, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed because you won’t be able to keep track of all the notes, footnotes, and chapters. yWriter, on the other hand, was conceived with that in mind. The best thing about it is that it was designed by an author, and it definitely shows.

     Google Docs. For those who prefer to write using different platforms, without having to carry their work around with them, Google Docs is probably the best solution, because you can synchronize all your work and access it from anywhere, using anything. Those that are familiar with Microsoft Office or OpenOffice will feel right at home here.


No written work is complete before it’s properly formatted, checked for spelling errors, and proofread for other mistakes. Luckily, this particular segment of the writing process is rich with high-quality tools and services that will assist you in proofreading your documents and check them for plagiarism:

     Hemingway App. Ernest Hemingway was a master of saying a lot with as very few words as possible. This app won’t help you write like Hemingway, but it will improve the readability of your work, by breaking down overly long and complex sentences.

     Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you are not sure about how some word is spelled, or if you don’t like to rely on your text editor to find spelling errors, Merriam-Webster Dictionary is your go-to destination, not just because it’s owned by Britannica, but because it is one of the best online dictionaries out there, hands down.

     Grammarly. Hunting for spelling errors is relatively easy with the help of dictionary, but finding grammar mistakes in your work and correcting them is a lot more complex issue, and that’s why recommend you check out Grammarly. It is a powerful online tool which will analyze the structure of your sentences, detect plagiarism and provide suggestion on how to improve your texts, among other things.


Unless you have a book deal signed with a publisher, chances are you will be publishing your work online, on a blog, or a website. There are several excellent blogging platforms on the web, but the following two are the most popular:

     WordPress. Want a professional-looking blog or a website created in a matter of hours? Go with this one. WordPress has so many features it’s impossible to name them all in a single article.

     Blogger. Does pretty much what WordPress does, so if you don’t like WordPress, give Blogger a shot, and vice versa.

If you work hard enough and dedicate yourself, with the help of these tools, you will be able to elevate your writing skills within a relatively short time frame.

Remember that the best tool in your toolbox is your own talent, and these apps are just here to shine a spotlight on it. Start becoming a better writer today.

Author: Kenneth Waldman, a freelance writer and English tutor. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Why Are Wikipedia Pages At Number 1 In Google Search Results?

Elizabeth Farquhar

Wikipedia is “a vast site with millions of pages and thousands of editors offering unique vital content on multitudes of subject matters,” the SEO specialists at UK-based Intelligent Positioning admitted back in 2012, but that didn’t stop them from questioning exactly why Wikipedia pages pop up in the #1 position most of the time when people use search engines like Google.

The team of SEO consultants and researchers used a list of one thousand randomly-generated nouns, and then used each one as a separate search term. (While they did test other search engines, the focus was primarily on Google.) They tabulated the results and found that just under 56% of searches put the Wikipedia entry for that term at the top of the list, and a link to at least one Wikipedia article was on Google’s Page 1 listing in 99% of the searches.

The team had no argument when using words related to major scientific concepts, historical events, or geographical features resulted in top-ranked Wikipedia pages, because those pages were generally full of useful, relevant information. However, they state that “there are ultimately flaws in Google’s offering of Wikipedia content” when a word like “Air” generates a list with Wikipedia’s disambiguation page at the #2 spot. They argue that pages like this should not be ranked so highly by Google, because they’re only clusters of links designed to lead users to the information they’re actually looking for on another page entirely.

On the other hand, you could also argue that a disambiguation page is actually a better way to find information. Instead of scrolling through a list that might go over two pages on a search engine display, and might be ranked in a fairly random order, users get a concise, organized list that helps them quickly find the precise reference they need. In other words, the disambiguation page is just like an index to an encyclopedia – and that’s exactly what Wikipedia is.

Yes, search engine marketing is a huge business (over $24 billion in the United States alone this year so far) and anyone can pay to bump their web page up in the rankings, but not everyone can afford to spend that kind of money year after year. It’s better to build a good, solid website that your customers will return to over and over, and set up an informative Wikipedia page on your company that will direct people to your website and to information about your products. For example, eReflect’s Wikipedia page gives you links to recent reviews of the company’s award-winning software.

Once you know how to use Wikipedia to benefit you and your business, you’ll appreciate the fact that Wikipedia pages consistently rank at number 1 in Google search results.

Ultimate Spelling is on different social media platform. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Googe+ for more insight tips and advice.

Check out eReflect’s Profile on Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Crunchbase and Training Industry as well!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

The Apostrophe Unmasked! (Guest Post)

The apostrophe has two main functions.

The first is to show omission of letters and the second is to show possession, which is what we’ll look at here.

Using the apostrophe to indicate possession

It’s easy when you write about the dog’s dinner; the man’s stunningly beautiful wife, Lavinia; Lavinia’s personal trainer, Lars, and so on.

It starts to get tricky (for Lavinia’s husband and for us) when we get to Lars. Is Lavinia Lars’ best client? Could it be that she is Lars’s ticket to that new Porsche he’s had his eye on for some time?

If he was plain old Bill there wouldn’t be a problem — she would be Bill’s best client and the ticket to Bill’s new Porsche.

We’ll assume (rightly, as it happens) that Lavinia is a Lady Who Lunches, and when she does lunch with her friends, they visit a women’s club. It’s not a womens’ club. When a word is made plural by changing some of its interior bits, you don’t make it doubly plural in the possessive.

When a word ends in ‘s’ and an additional syllable is pronounced in the possessive, add apostrophe S (even if you end up with 3 s’s). So you’d have the ladies going to their tennis class before lunch, and Lavinia being very chuffed when her coach, Mr Harris, told her she was the class’s best player. Although it’s difficult to know whether Mr Harris’s opinion is very reliable — he’s a push-over for a pretty face and a flash of a shapely thigh.

When writing about joint ownership, possession is shown only on the last noun, but where individual ownership exists, possession is shown on each noun.

Lavinia and her husband’s new yacht was the venue for a fancy-dress party.

Lavinia’s and Raoul’s sailor suits were a hit with their guests.

T’riffic Tip

The very best way to remember when to use the possessive apostrophe — in any circumstance — is to substitute the word ‘of’ …

The women’s club – the club of the women

Lavinia’s personal trainer – the personal trainer of Lavinia

Her husband’s new yacht – the yacht of her husband

This is also the way you test for those really tricky ones:

three months’ experience – the experience of three months

So, if you’re tempted to use an apostrophe but you can’t substitute “of” … then leave it out!

Banana’s only $2 kilo – the … of … bananas, kilos? … @#!

All these shop’s sell clothes – the … of … shops, clothes? … @#!

OK … you get the message. Don’t just whack in an apostrophe every time you end a word with S!

About the Author: Jennifer Stewart is a freelance writer whose site, has been helping people solve their writing problems since 1998. Visit now to read numerous articles on how to write well — for profit or pleasure — and sign up for your free Writing Tips: mailto: WritingTips [email protected]

Originally Posted at, July 13, 2001