Please read the following paragraph from a student who spent some time travelling in Africa:

“For a boy raised in the socialistic and democratic society of the Netherlands, the culture in South Africa is shocking. You have to get used to the difference in culture.

For me the most striking difference in culture is how two races are living together, or actually living apart from each other in one single country. The ‘Apartheid’, which means segregation in Afrikaans, was a legalized form of racial segregation. The South African government, also known as the National Party (NP), forced different nations and tribes to live divided in two races: the black and the whites. Where the whites had all the rights and the blacks were stripped of their citizenship. The Apartheid is rejected in 1994, but the legacies still shape the mentality, politics and the society.

In the paragraph above three of the main mistakes in writing are made: there is a mistake in the construction of the sentences, in style and in the structure of the paragraph itself. We will discuss these three topics in this module and will begin with the last: how to structure a paragraph.

Part 1: Topic sentences

Reading a paragraph or text that is not structured clearly is like taking a ride in a bumper (or dodger) car at the fair: you go from here to there and back again.

In this part of the module we will look at a text at paragraph level to make sure that the ride through your text will be calmer.

Part 2: Sentence constructions

You may wonder why this is part of the course, as you know how to make sentences. That is true, especially when you write or speak  Dutch, but there are a few differences in the rules between English and Dutch sentences.

Besides that, we would like you to improve your formal writing, and this section will give you information on that too.

Part 3: Style

There are quite a few differences between writing an email to a friend or an article on a weblog and a report for your courses, the most conspicuous one probably being style. In this part of the writing module we will look at this aspect more closely.

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