General Writing and Grammar Help/Personal headline


Hi Roy,

I'm working on a scholarship application, and for one part, it asks for a personal headline of less than 160 characters.

Here are some biographical blurbs that I came up with so far:

-Service-oriented medicine
-Believe in relationships & the connection between people
-Passionate about learning about the human experience; understanding and facilitating what brings us together on a fundamental, everyday level

I'm worried it sounds too cliche and impractical. How can I come up with something that is concise, original, and that will capture the readers' attention?



Hi Lynne - and thanks for your question

Writing short and attention-grabbing statements of this kind is not easy

You probably need to start with a general statement (to avoid repeating 'I')

For instance

In my academic career so far I have been principally motivated by:

* human relationships and personal connections

* service oriented medicine

* learning about ...

Your last point is a bit wooly - Try to offer something more concrete and specific.

Here's a guidance note on writing lists:

Pay especial attention to 'grammatical parallelism'

I hope that is helpful.

Best wishes  

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Roy Johnson


I can answer questions on English language, grammar, writing skills, and study skills. I am particularly experienced in the writing skills required for academic essays, term papers, reports, dissertations, and post-graduate theses.


I have forty years experience as a tutor and as the author of books on writing and study skills. For thirty years I was a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association, which specialises in courses for adult students and preparing mature students for university. I was also a tutor for the Open University between 1975 and 2010. During that time I have also written a number of books on writing and study skills. In the last ten years or more I have specialised in creating computer-aided learning materials and online learning courses.

"Making the Grade" (Manchester University Press) 1990 "Studying Fiction" (Manchester University Press) 1991 "Marking Essays" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Revision and Examinations" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Writing Essays" (Clifton Ress) 1996 "Study Skills" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Electronic Writing" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Improve your Writing Skills" (Clifton Press) 2010 "Writing Essays 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "English Language 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "Study Skills 2.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program]

My first degree was in mechanical engineering (HNC). I then switched to literary studies and philosophy. My second degree was a BA in English and American Literature (from Manchester University - UK). I also have an MA in Comparative Literary Studies, and my doctoral thesis (PhD) was in the relationship between literature and politics.

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