Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Making Writing More Academic

The language we speak with friends and the language we use in academic/formal writing are quite different. Knowing this one of the first key steps in college success.

 How do we learn how to make our writing more academic? 

A few easy tips are:

1) Avoid contractions
2) Avoid the informal "YOU" pronoun (use WE or a specific noun to indicate whom you are referring to)
3) Avoid informal expressions such as "guy," "kid," and "stuff."
4) Don't start sentences with FANBOYS such as BUT, AND, SO. Instead, use clear transition words to link ideas (however, thus, therefore, in addition)

For more suggestions, visit these helpful sites:

The DC IELTS page
English Grammar page
University of Surrey (a helpful printable reference page!)
CPALMS Writing Tips
UMC Writing Center (information on word choices)
Purdue Owl Word Choice Tips

For practice with this skills, try these:

Practice 1
Practice 2 (word choice)
Practice 3 (word choice)
Practice 4 (word choice)

Looking for more? Check out these more advanced articles on how to become a better writer!

Article 1
Article 2
Article 3 (very advanced- more tips from the Purdue Owl)
Article 4 (Tips for ESL writers- advanced article)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Word Forms

Some of the most common mistakes for ESOL students are related to word forms.

These can include verb form mistakes, subject-verb agreement errors, or singular-plural form errors.
They also often include errors related to parts of speech.

How can we improve our skills in this area?

First, we can study what nouns, verbs and adjectives often look like (and what they do in a sentence).
For more information on this, and tips about common endings, visit this helpful page.
These activities ask you to identify which type of word would fit in each sentence (noun, verb adjective, etc.), or what part of speech a specific word is:

Practice 1 (Quia)
Practice 2 (a4esl)
Practice 3 (McGraw Hill)
Practice 4 (challenging but fun...and involves cartoon gorillas)
Practice 5 (Grammar Bytes)

We can also try these activities, which ask us to figure out which word form (Illustrate? Illustration? Illustrative?) fit best in each sentence: