If one writes daily, not aiming to strengthen any one writing skill of theirs, will they enhance their prose style? People are told often that daily writing will strengthen their writing skills. And among the skills required for good writing, there is skill with word-choice. While I suppose they can strengthen that skill by working on it during their daily writing, I reckon a person can enhance it more efficiently by practicing easier, regular, constrained writing exercises, focusing on one quality of writing or rhetorical device at a time, whether alliteration, assonance, consonance, meter, etc, to enhance their ability to phrase things, and to achieve many rhetorical tasks at once more easily while writing prose.

The reason I ask is this: I find my verbal skills lacking in the past couple years, perhaps always until now, and wish to strengthen them, desiring to do so efficiently, though I know it may take me some time to strengthen them well enough.

  • Can you cite any writing exercise that won't improve verbal skills? Consider, for instance, re-phrasing that whole exposition at least two ways, and getting anyone fluent in English to critique the differences. Mar 2 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


What do you mean by "verbal ability" and "verbal skills"? The faculty of speech consist of many components, each of which can be trained separately:

  • If you want to enlarge your vocabulary, you need to learn new words and practice using them.
  • If you want to be more creative in, as you mention, lyrical aspects such as alliteration or meter, you need to read poetry and try to write it yourself.
  • If you want to aim for a clear, concise and precise language, you need to read and practice that.
  • And so on.

Constrained writing are exercises that force or limit the writer in a certain way. Examples are

  • writing from a given prompt (a sentence, a scene, a theme)
  • writing without using certain words, letters etc.
  • creating certain forms (anagrams, palindromes etc.)

All of these are useful in that they force you to employ your skills and hone them. But they do not train what they aren't: If you avoid certain words, you will have to be more creative using other words, so you train your vocabulary, but you don't train your syntactic skills.

I wouldn't therefore do random exercises just because someone on the internet writes that they exist or where done by Shakespeare's contemporaries, but carefully choose my exercises accoring to my goals.

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