Esl Writing Fundamentals

For those with English as a Second Language. Learn beyond the basics for better writing and communication.

Course CodeAWR101
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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"Studying with ACS was a wonderful experience. I have learnt a lot and will take a new course soon" 

M. Khaovong


This course is written for those with English as a Second Language. This course will develop your knowledge of English grammar and your ability to write in English for business and study. The course is aimed at students who can write and speak basic English and wish to strengthen their English language skills, in particular their writing skills. Students will learn by reading the course notes, completing written and spoken exercises for each lesson, and submitting them for comment and correction.

This course is suitable for ESL speakers who need to improve their written english skills.

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Parts of speech
    • Parts of speech
    • Singular & plural forms
    • Subject-verb agreement
  2. Verbs
    • Verb tense
    • Infinitives
    • Participles, phrasal verbs
  3. Parts of a sentence
    • Subject & predicate
    • Object
    • Clauses and phrases
  4. Building and combining sentences
    • Structure and meaning
    • Sentence variety
    • Linking words
  5. Vocabulary
    • Related words
    • Word origins
    • Prefixes
    • Suffixes
    • Word combinations
  6. Developing vocabulary
    • Context
    • Formal & informal language
    • Connotative & denotative language
  7. Writing for different purposes Part 1
    • Writing to obtain and clarify information
  8. Writing for different purposes Part 2
    • Writing to provide information
  9. Writing for business
    • Writing letters
    • Short reports
    • Submissions
  10. Study skills
    • Understanding concepts
    • Essay structure
    • Addressing all parts of a topic
    • Understanding what is required
    • Referencing
  11. Proof reading and editing
    • Correcting and refining your document
    • Targeting the intended reader
  12. Special project
    • Reading
    • Researching and writing for three different contexts (work, study, business).

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Understand the basic rules of grammar
  • Apply rules of grammar to construct correct sentences
  • Identify word parts - word roots, prefixes and suffixes
  • Use word parts to develop vocabulary
  • Name the parts of speech
  • Understand basic principles of correct sentence construction
  • Understand the nature and purpose of a paragraph
  • Identify different kinds of language - formal/informal, direct/indirect
  • Identify appropriate language for different writing contexts
  • Use correct formats for business writing
  • Use correct formats for writing for study
  • Improve pronunciation

What You Will Do

  • basic principles and terms of English grammar
  • what are the parts of speech in English, and the forms in which they can be used
  • how to correctly use parts of speech, including as adverbs and pronouns
  • what are the basic building blocks of English sentences
  • how to construct correct sentences
  • how to vary sentence structure
  • what is a paragraph, and how to construct one
  • common work roots and how they are used to create different English words
  • the role and meanings of suffixes and prefixes
  • when and how to use direct (denotative) and indirect (connotative) language in business or study
  • how to write correctly for different purposes
  • correct business writing
  • how to respond appropriately to different study tasks
  • different writing formats for workplace and study
  • how and why to reference
  • how to edit a piece of writing to improve its organisation and readability
  • how to proof read a piece of writing to eliminate errors
  • what to consider when planning a piece of writing.

Start by Understanding the English Mindset

To write or speak English well requires an understanding of English language structure - which will be learnt from early childhood by anyone who speaks English as their first language.  These grammatical rules include things such as intonation and the order in which subject (i.e. noun or pronoun) and the verb are placed in the sentence.  Other languages will reverse this order.

Often, someone who speaks English as a second language may use the same words, but put those words in a different order to the person who learnt English as their first language.

The following example shows two ways of saying the same thing:

              The sky is blue,
                                blue is the sky.


Many languages also assign genders to different nouns, for example, a table might be feminine or masculine.  The very act of giving an inanimate object a gender can create many layers of meaning, not often found in English.  

Imagine we are talking about a table.  In English, the sentence might come off like this:

She dragged it into the centre of the room under the spotlight, and sat on it.

But if table were masculine or feminine, as it would be in many other languages, it would read like this:

She dragged him into the centre of the room under the spotlight, and sat on him.
She dragged her into the centre of the room under the spotlight, and sat on her.

These variations in gender classification obviously have quite a different impact on the reader than the English version.  You can see how, by assigning things a gender, one’s whole comprehension may be slightly altered.  It is interesting to think about the effect this may have on a society, particularly in relation to feminist theory.  

A typical example of an object having a gender is that of a car. Cars are often referred to as female, as are ships and aeroplanes.

In English ‘gender’ usually refers more to issues of sexuality and social identity than a classification system. 

Do You Understand ADJECTIVES?

Adjectives are words that identify or give more information about nouns. They usually precede the noun.

There are different kinds of adjectives, listed below. It is not important to remember what they are called. However, it is important to understand what different kinds of adjectives do.


  • Adjectives that describe: Examples: blue, happy, unconscious, excellent, confused, large, beautiful

The boy was happy with his bright kite as it sailed high in the cloudless sky.

  • Adjectives that identify things: Examples: this, that, these, those

I want those plums, and can you put them into this box?


  • Adjectives that indicate amounts or quantity: Examples: some, no, several, many, twenty, few, little

Some doctors have little understanding of psychology.


  • Adjectives that show possession or ownership: Examples: my, your, its, their, his, our, my mother’s, John’s, India’s

I have your book but its cover is slightly damaged.

  • Adjectives that indicate distribution: Examples: each, every, all, most, either, neither


Each person that I interviewed was most helpful and answered every question fully.

  • Adjectives that ask a question: Examples: which, what, whose

Which house did you buy and in what area is it?


Some of these adjectives can take on other roles, also. For instance, in the above sentence, the word ‘which’ is an adjective that modifies a noun (which house). In the following sentences, however, it acts as a pronoun:

Two good movies are playing. Which would you like to see? (Interrogative pronoun)

We missed the plane, which caused us a lot of trouble (relative pronoun)

Remember that an adjective always tells more about a noun.


Who can benefit from taking this course?

English as a second language speakers, particularly those wishing to improve their written skills.

Primary and secondary school English teachers wanting to refresh or update their knowledge of specific terminology.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how to use many parts of English to communicate effectively
  • Know the technical names and definitions for several structures within the English language, such as parts of speech
  • Know what is involved in print media vs. digital media, and have an understanding of some of the software involved


Want something more in depth? Learn about our certificates and higher qualifications in writing and journalism here.


ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council

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John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. J
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Former operations manager for highly reputable Landscape firm, The Chelsea Gardener, before starting his own firm. Gavin has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing, Writing and Education. Gavin has a B.Sc., Psych.Cert.
Adriana Fraser

Freelance writer, businesswoman, educator and consultant for over 30 years. Adriana has written extensively for magazines including free living publications -Grass Roots and Home Grown; and has authored or co authored many books ranging from a biography
Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear
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