Spice Up Your Writing!
I am sure you have heard the following expression, “Variety is the spice of life.” In this blog, I am talking about using a variety of sentences to spice up your writing. I have made several blogs and videos about using a variety of sentences, so why another one?
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Useful Online Resources That Work
Now that all students have been forced back online for a while due to Covid, I thought it would be a good time to blog about some of the resources I use for tutoring my online students.  I have talked about some of these tools in previous blogs or videos, so you might want to check those out as well.I should note that some of these are very useful for in-person or printed material as well.When tutoring online, I want to talk to my students, see my students, and be able to work together with...
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Happy New Year! ~ New Lessons for Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing
I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2021 brings a lot more favourable memories and experiences.With that in mind, I am producing some new lessons for those who are interested in improving their listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills.These lessons will help ESL, EFL, and other English learners who want to improve one or all of these skills.  The texts I will be using are suitable for young adult and adult learners who have an average understand...
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Short Attention Span – Use It!
I often hear some version of the following question:“How do I study with a short attention span?”Sometimes, it is no longer a question but a statement:“I can’t study because I have a short attention span.”(I can’t study because I have ADD.  I can’t study because I have ADHD.  I can’t study because I have ___________.)This is worrying because it becomes part of a student’s identity.  Once you begin to believe you can’t, yo...
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Make Your Pronouns Agree!
When helping students with argument paragraphs, essays, or other writing, I often need to point out mistakes in pronoun agreement.When proofreading and editing your written work, check to make sure that your pronouns agree with their antecedents.The antecedent is simply the word or words (often a noun or noun phrase) that the pronoun is referring to (the word that comes before).In the following sentences, the pronouns “he” and “his” stand in for the noun “Tom.&rdquo...
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Get Interested
How can I be interested in class? Every teacher has heard this question over and over. Students often ask this question, and it came up again recently on Quora.At first glance, it might not seem like a serious question; however, people do struggle to get or maintain their interest levels sometimes. Here are a few tips to help.PrepareYes, it makes a difference!  If you are ready for the class, you are far more likely to be engaged when you get there.  You will have some i...
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Independent & Dependent Clauses
No! Not those kinds of clauses!I am often mentioning independent and dependent clauses when I discuss writing, especially when talking about sentence structure.What is the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause?One way to think of these clauses is to relate the words independent and dependent to something more familiar.An independent person is someone who can manage his or her own affairs without much assistance. (Hey, we all need help once in a while.)A dependent person...
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Take a Bigger Break, and Use a Semicolon
Do not underestimate the importance of accurate punctuation.  It can make a world of difference in your writing.Yes, I know that I said this in my blog on comma usage, but it still applies. Sometimes a comma just does not work. The semicolon is often thought of as a larger break.  While not entirely or always the case, it is a good way to think of it in general.This blog contains a few pointers about the use of a semicolon (and a bit more about commas as necessary) to help you get...
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Be a Mentor
If you want to learn more and solidify your knowledge, become a mentor.  Teaching others is one of the best ways to help ourselves on the learning journey.It is a Win – Win situation!You can help someone who needs it; while, at the same time, increasing and deepening your understanding of the material – whatever it is.  By taking the time to explain the procedures, concepts, themes, steps, and so on to someone else, you need to re-explain everything to yourself – ofte...
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Take a Wee Break, and Use a Comma
Do not underestimate the importance of accurate punctuation.  It can make a world of difference in your writing.The comma is one of the most important punctuation marks; however, it is commonly misused.In general, a comma represents a short pause.  If you read your work aloud, you can often determine where commas might be necessary. This, however, is not a foolproof method.  There are times when a semicolon or dash, or other punctuation might be better or required.Also, if English...
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