Help yourself improve your writing skills

Members of the Carnegie Mellon community, in collaboration with the Office of Technology for Education, have undertaken the development of the Carnegie Mellon Online writing tutor to help deal with students’ writing problems.

Faculty members complain that many students in their classes have not acquired the basic writing skills that they need to perform effectively in class or in the workplace even though they have taken a composition course.

The Writing Tutor is designed to teach students basic writing skills that faculty members do not have the time to teach them in their classes.

The Carnegie Mellon Writing Tutor is a web accessible resource, intended to provide basic writing instruction to students without requiring faculty to teach writing.

The Tutor has a modular design, each module providing instruction on a specific basic writing skill. The skills taught are shown in the next column.

Each module consists of two sections: an introductory instructional section and a practice section. The instructional section will present a set of writing principles illustrated with brief interactive examples.

The practice section provides the student with an opportunity to apply the writing principles in practical examples and to judge for themselves how well they have applied what they learned.

Active Writing

Writing livelier, easier to understand texts.


Writing so novices can understand your text.


Giving credit to sources and avoiding plagiarism.

Framing Statements

Cueing the audience to your major points.


Solving punctuation problems when grammar checkers can't help


Saying it in fewer words.



The English language is often ambiguous. Punctuation is designed to reduce that ambiguity. Punctuation errors can cause serious confusion, but using accurate punctuation can help make your meaning clear.

Think about the sentence:

These two dogs are my parents'.

This sentence means that my Mom and Dad own these two dogs.

Funded by:
The Engineering Information Foundation, New York City
and the
Office of Technology for Education, Carnegie Mellon