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The Student Learning Commons blog is your online writing and learning community

Lost in Translation: Apna dhyaan rakhna in English

Published by Julia Lane

In these Lost in Translation posts you can expect to read about common words and phrases that result in interesting (and sometimes funny) translations when we try to explain them in English. 

Contributions to this series come from across the SLC and we also welcome submissions from the wider university community. 

Our second post comes from former Writing and Learning Peer Educator and frequent blog contributor, Deeya B., and highlights her mother tongue, Hindi. 

Grammar Camp: Verb tenses in essays -- chronology or relativity?

Published by Julia Lane

Guest blogger Deeya B. returns with a Grammar Camp installment that explains the difference between chronology and relativity as approaches to academic writing. How does that relate to grammar, you ask? She will show you how these different approaches to writing give you clues for how you should be using verb tenses in your papers. 

Check it out! 

Flowery Language: Does it really make your writing more beautiful?

Published by Julia Lane

Former Writing and Learning Peer Deeya B. returns with another post to help you do well in your writing courses this semester. 

In this post, Deeya debunks myths about "flowery language' and the value of such language in academic writing. 

As Deeya explains, flowery language occurs when elaborate words are substituted for simple ones and longer sentences are used to try to convey multiple ideas. However, flowery language often backfires and makes students sound less confident in their understanding of a subject.

In this post, Deeya will explain more about what flowery language is, why students choose to use it, and why it often has the reverse of the intended outcome. 

How to get your writing done this semester...

Published by Julia Lane

Imagine this: you’re typing away ferociously with the little time left for you to hand in your term paper. It’s due tonight, and although you had three weeks to write it, there were other more important assignments on your plate. It’s not that you didn’t know you had to write this paper too, but you were pretty confident you knew what you wanted to say and could put all of your ideas into words in one afternoon. It is now the afternoon of your paper’s due date. You’re scrambling, fumbling over the keyboard, ideas circling in your head but all of them sounding like a thought vomit on paper. You’re tired, overwhelmed and unable to comprehend your own words. You rush to the SLC for a drop-in session, praying that your peer educator can work a miracle and save your grade...

In this post, Writing and Learning Peer Deeya B. shares pro tips to help you get your writing done this semester and get the most out of the Student Learning Commons. 

It isn't a miracle, a magic spell, or a silver bullet, but if you follow these steps, you may find that your writing process this semester is that much easier (or, at the very least, slightly less painful). 

Grammar Camp: Common expression errors Part 3: Apostrophe angst

Published by Julia Lane

Does this word need an "s"? An apostrophe? An apostrophe "s"? 

If you often find yourself asking such questions, you've come to the right place.

And what better time to get those answer than when you are stuck inside between (the strangest) spring term and the forthcoming (entirely remote) summer term? 

Here to finally complete the promised three part series on common expression errors, it is Apostrophe Angst! 

If you want to review the previous two posts, you can read them here: 

Part 1: Subject-verb agreement 

Part 2: Pronoun Perplexities 

Enjoy! 

Be safe. Be well. Use grammar. 

Welcome Guest Blogger Eric Cai!

Published by Julia Lane

In Common welcomes former SLC Peer Eric Cai as a guest blogger. In his posts, he will focus on study and communication skills for students in math and science. Learn more about Eric in the following email interview.

I'm from...

Published by Julia Lane

“Hi, how are you?”

“I'm doing well. How about you?”

“I'm good too. Are you from here? Where are you from?”

In this submission to the SLC Multilingual Story Hub, Sneha Ralli digs into this familiar exchange and wonders about the ways that asking where someone is from can serve to accentuate our differences and interrupt one's sense of cultural belonging.  

Sneha Ralli is a PhD student at SFU who was born in Delhi and raised in Mumbai, India. Sneha participated in Dr. Timothy Mossman's non-credit course Academic Grammar and Writing for Multilingual Learners during the Fall 2018 semester. 

Filling the gap

Published by Julia Lane

In this submission to the SLC Multilingual Story Hub, Dr. Jean-François Bruxelle explores the elements that shape his own French identity, and realizes that he "is French not only because [he] was born in France and grew up in France, but also because [he] expresses [his] French culture and that his attitude corresponds to an external definition of 'being French.'"  

Dr. Jean-François Bruxelle holds a postdoc at SFU and participated in Dr. Timothy Mossman's non-credit course Academic Grammar and Writing for Multilingual Learners during the Fall 2018 semester.