Free Resources for the Online Writing Tutor

For the past ten years, I have been collecting various online resources. When I began this process, there was little available for adult students who needed to improve their writing skills. The few web pages online were geared more for children in the elementary school setting. Fortunately, times have changes and the web has evolved to include all ages.

This objective of this lens is to provide tutors and instructors with examples of FREE online resources that they can pass on to their students. The attached links are the ones that I have benefited me the most when working online. However, if there is an area that you would like more information or a topic that you would like to see added to this page, please send me a note in the "Reader Feedback" section. Thanks


There is a LOT of different ways to source information in a research paper. The more commonly used styles are the APA, MLA, Chicago, and CSE. However, there are also a variety of other methods, such as the CGOS and Harvard, which are also used. This portion of the webpage provides information about some of the more commonly used systems as well as sample paper.
Citation Methods - OVERVIEW
The great feature of this link is that is it lets users know which reference style should be used according to their subject. As well, there are links to some of the more commonly used citations methods, such as APA, Chicago, CSE, and MLA and sample papers.
APA - guidelines
Chick here for an updated list of the American Psychological Association citation method, otherwise known as the APA guidelines. The list includes how to format the paper to cite electronic resources.
APA - sample paper
Some students find the online explanations a bit confusing. Here is an example of a paper that uses the APA guidelines.
CBE - in-text guidelines
The CBE citation method, which stands for the Council of Biology Editors, uses two different systems to document information in an essay, the citation-sequence and name-year forms. Both focus on how to cite material in-text, seem to focus on footnoting, ans both of these methods can be accessed via this link.
Chicago - guidelines (general)
The Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide, otherwise known as the Chicago or Turabian methods, is yet another way information can be cited.
Chicago - guidelines (humanities)
If using the Chicago guidelines in for literature, art, or history courses, this link can provide specifics about how the bibliography should be formatted.
Chicago - guidelines (sciences)
When formatting a bibliography using the Chicago style, there are different guidelines for humanities versus science courses. This link forwards you to how to structure a bibliography if writing a paper in the sciences.
Chicago - sample paper
This link will forward you to an example of a paper that uses the Chicago citation methods. For more specifics about how to format the bibliography, please scroll up to the "Chicago - guidelines (humanities)" or "Chicago - guidelines (sciences)" link.
Harvard System
This system isn't commonly used. However, some institutions do prefer this citation method. Some specifics about how to format the bibliography can be found at the attached link.
MLA - guidelines
This link will provide you with an overview of the MLA guidelines, from what type of font to use to specifics about citing online resources.
MLA - sample paper
This is an example of a paper using the MLA guidelines.

Grammar - rules

free lists of grammar rules

There is a wide variety of site that focuses on grammar rules. However, the following are some of the more thrall links that I've found to date.
Chomp Chomp
This site may not be as thrall as some of the other links; however, it is DEFINATELY worth the time to take a look. This specific link forwards users to some grammar rules, such as adverb clauses and collective nouns. Even though some of the areas in grammar may appear more basic, this is a link that I recommend for advanced writers.
Edu Find
This is another site where users can search alphabetically. The explanations are clear because the site uses charts and colors to make different parts of grammar standout. However, it's easy a bit difficult to get back to the main page.
Guide to Grammar and Writing, the
This link includes over 425 different explanations to grammar and is really a well-developed system of information. One of the strengths of this site is that at the bottom of most of the explanations is a quiz to test user's understanding of the material.
Jack Lynch's Guide to Grammar
This is a straight forward site to use because it is easy to maneuver and locate the rules for a specific area in grammar.

Grammar - student errors

common student errors & what to look for

This lens discusses what to look for when providing feedback on papers and other common mistakes that students make.

Grammar - quizzes

free lists of on-line interactive grammar tests

Online, there are a wide variety of quizzes that people can access for free. The following is a list of some of the more developing websites.
Darling, Dr. Charles
This site provides links to quizzes in basic grammar and punctuation, such as basic sentence parts, verbs, verbal clauses, structural flaws (such as fragments, run-ons, and comma-splicing), punctuation and other basic mechanics, pronoun usage, and other types of stylistic considerations (such as sentence combining).
Chomp Chomp
This is one of my favorite sites to use for advanced writers. Chomp Chomp uses interesting graphics, sounds, and format to present grammar in a fun format.
The unique feature of is that the site is developing FREE diagnostic quizzes to beginning, intermediate, and advanced users. Also, like many of the other sites that include free grammar quizzes, this site also has a great variety of quizzes, such as adjective modifiers, adjective clauses, adverbs, subject-verb agreement, articles, conjunctions, gerunds, infinitives, modal verbs, noun, clauses, passive voice, past & past perfect tenses, prepositions, and so on.
Guide to Grammar and Writing, The
This is a list of quizzes such as basic sentence part, verbs, clauses & phrase, structural flaws (comma splicing, fragments, and run-ons), pronouns, and so forth.
Using English
This is really a wonderful resource because it breaks up the quizzes by level, from beginner to intermediate. The site also has a wide variety of quizzes, such as articles, conditionals, phrasal verbs, conditionals, spelling, vocabulary, and on, and on, and on ...

Grammar - quizzes by error

the most commonly made grammar errors

There is a wide variety of errors that students can make. This lens forwards you to a list of free grammar quizzes.


different types of college writing

There is a wide variety of free online resources! The following are some examples of the different types of writing that students to produce. If there are additional resources that you would like added or an area that you would like more information, send me a note in the "Reader Feedback" section.
This is an easy-to-read site that briefly gives readers tips about writing an abstract, such as motivation/problem statement, methods/procedure/approach, results/findings/product, and conclusion/implications.
Abstract - example
This has a sample format of an abstract as well as completed abstracts for the fields of dance, humanities, science, social science, and studio art
Argumentative Essays
This link forwards you to the traditional structure of an argumentative essay, aka persuasive essay. The link also explains the different parts of the essay and what material writers should include.
Annotated Bibliography
This is a bibliography and your comments about the sources. This link explains how to write an annotated bibliography and discusses other areas of this type of writing such as comparing annotations to abstracts and so forth. The link is very easy to follow.
Autobiographical Essays
Basically, this is an essay about the writer. For some ideas how to approach this type of a paper, go to the following link.
Block Method
This is sometime also called the block arrangement, point-by-point or alternating arrangement. (It's a LOT easier that it sounds!) For an outline of all forms, go to the following.
Business Plan
Some instructors ask students to write business plans. This link provides information about how to include marketing analysis; company description; organization and management; marketing and sales strategies; service or product line; funding request; financials and so forth. Granted, a student's textbook would also provide the above information. However, the above gives ideas where the writing can be expanded or an additional online resource for students.
Cause and Effect Essays
The link includes examples of cause and effect essays as well as links to process essays and thesis statements.
Compare and Contrast Essays
This resource offers a variety of examples how a compare and contrast essay can be structured.
Comparison Writing
This link provides information about a comparison essay, such as how to prepare, organize, and format this type of paper. However, my favorite portion is still located at the bottom of the page in the "Peer Editing Comparisons," which gives ideas how to read and respond to peer's papers, which is also known as peer editing.
Critiques - brainstorming
This is one of the clearest online resources that explains different points writers can discuss when writing critiques.
Descriptive Essays - brainstorming
For students who need to expand their essay, this link gives some ideas of what details can be included in a descriptive essay.
Journal Article
The link explains how to critique a journal article. However, it can also be used to help writers expand their own critique.
Journal Entries
The nice part about writing journals is that it doesn't need to follow the structure of an academic paper, such as having a thesis statement and topic sentences. This link provides examples of journal entries.
Letter Writing - Basic
This is a really nice resource that shows how to write formal letters. The link includes an example, outlines the paragraphs for both paper and email versions, and also includes commonly used abbreviations.
Letter Writing - Business
This link is a basic outline of a business letter.
This explains the purpose of memos as well as provides an outline. The link also includes samples and letters.
Narrative Essay
This link explains what should be included in a narrative essay and different principles that can be included, such as sensory details and I statements.
This shows three different examples of the structure of an outline.
Persuasive Essay
This link forwards you to the traditional structure of an persuasive essay, aka argumentative essay, and explains the different parts of the essay as well as what material writers should include.
Point-by-Point Arrangement
This is sometime also called the alternating arrangement; more details about this type of writing are explained at this link.
Reaction Paper
This link is an outline of this type of a paper and shows how each paragraph should be structured.
Research Paper Proposals
Research paper proposals are also called thesis proposals. This site explains how to focus the proposal, what to ask the committee, and an example.
Here are some prompts so to what to include in a self-evaluation.
Sensory Writing
Sensory writing is also known as descriptive writing. The nice part of this link is that it gives students examples of areas that can be developed using the RENNS model, which is short for reasons, examples, names, numbers, senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch).
This source provides the basic steps to writing a summary. The format of the paper may be a bit different however. For more specifics how to format the essay, scroll up to the "Reaction Paper" link.
Three-Paragraph Essays
This link is brief, to-the-point, and easy to read.

Writing - student page

the student page on writing a persuasive essay

This lens is an overview of writing persuasive essays and written more for students. However, some wording and templates may be useful.

My other sites ...

This is my homepage. It isn't linked referenced to the majority other sites but does have a cross-section of some of my photography and pottery.
Prints & Posters
For inexpensive prints and posters, click on the above link.
Click on the above link to be forwarded to various products, such as magnets, t-shirts, key chains, and other products.

Reader Feedback

Is there an area that you would like added to this page? Add a suggestion here!
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  • JoyfulReviewer Nov 09, 2011 @ 9:57 pm
    Thanks for compiling this really nice list of resources!
  • bolillie May 14, 2011 @ 6:20 pm
    This is quite a nice list of resources. Thanks!
  • GilWarzecha Jul 01, 2011 @ 9:27 am
    Thanks!!! If you have any to add, feel free!

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