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

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

Published August 4, 2020 by Julia Lane
In this grammar camp post, learn about chronology and relativity in academic writing and what each approach can reveal to you about verb tense.

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! 

Challenge yourself with your academic writing: A Writing and Learning Peer's perspective

Published July 7, 2020 by Julia Lane
Challenge yourselves and each other to see what you can accomplish!

"Writing papers is either the bane of an undergraduate student’s existence or, for the few like me, it’s an experience that can be learned from. But I didn’t always think like this..."

 

Writing and Learning Peer Harvin B. shares his thoughts about how students can rise to the challenge of their term papers. 

This article was originally published in The Peak (SFU's student newspaper) and is re-published here with gratitude. 

 

Facing White Privilege

Published June 15, 2020 by Julia Lane
thank you to Henry V. Robertson Jr. from Alert Bay, from the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola whose art is featured here

In this blog post, SLC EAL Coordinator Dr. Timothy Mossman shares some writing that he did during his doctoral studies in a class (EDUC 925 - Critical Literacies in Multilingual Contexts) led by Dr. Dolores van der Wey. 

The SFU Library recently issued the following statement about anti-Black racism and white supremacy: https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/solidarity-black-lives-matter 

We in the Student Learning Commons recognize that race-based violence is not new, nor simply an issue for us to pay attention to during "flashpoint moments" like the one we are currently experiencing. With this post, Tim shares part of his journey learning to see his own privilege. 

We share this post as encouragement for others as we take on this troubling, difficult, and necessary work. 

Trigger warning: this post includes references to residential school trauma and to homelessness. 

Come OUT! and Write with us…

Published June 4, 2020 by Julia Lane
Sharpen your pencils and your writing skills with write OUT -- a joint SLC/OOC writing initiative.

SLC Graduate Writing Facilitator Kate E. invites folks to join her for the Write OUT program -- a joint initiative of the Student Learning Commons and Out On Campus. 

Summer WriteOUT! sessions will include tips and tricks for:

  • Time Management (June 8th)
  • Writing Logically and Cohesively (June 15th)
  • Offering and Receiving Feedback (June 22nd)
  • Writing for Different Audiences (June 29th)
  • Making your Writing Interesting (July 6th)
  • Writing in English as an Additional Language (July 13th)
  • Respecting Writing in Different Disciplines (July 20th)
  • Descriptive and Creative Writing (July 26th)

All sessions are 11-1pm on Mondays. 

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

Published May 19, 2020 by Julia Lane
Time to stop and smell the flowers... and to ask ourselves whether flowery language is really improving our academic writing

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 May 12, 2020 by Julia Lane
It isn't magic... it's the Student Learning Commons!

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 May 5, 2020 by Julia Lane
Finally, the final instalment in the three part series on common expression errors

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. 

Grammar Camp: Common expression errors Part 2: Pronoun perplexities

Published April 28, 2020 by Julia Lane
Part 2 of 3 of the Grammar Camp series focused on common expression errors

Way back in February, I posted a "Part 1" of this mini grammar camp series on "common expression errors." You were promised a Part 2 focused on Pronouns (and a Part 3 focused on apostrophes!)... 

Well, a lot has happened since February and it kept not seeming like the right time to bring the blog focus back to grammar. 

To be honest, it still doesn't feel like the right time to do that. But, the part of me that loves rules and structure is feeling all kinds of out of whack recently. Posting this blog entry helps to soothe that part of me in two ways: 

1. It corrects a lingering issue (i.e., that of a Part 1 with no Part 2 or 3) 

2. It puts my focus on the comforts of the system and structure of grammar. 

Of course, grammar rules (like other rules) are made to be broken, and so those comforts can only extend so far. 

But, I do hope that this momentary diversion into the world of grammar can provide some interest and/or clarity and/or curiosity and/or comfort for you too. Part 3 on apostrophes is also coming... 

Be safe. Be well. Use grammar. 

 

Grammar Camp: Common expression errors Part 1: Subject-verb agreement

Published February 25, 2020 by Julia Lane
Focusing in on common expression errors (first in a three part series!)

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series focused on common expression errors that can arise in writing. The focus in this post is on subject/verb agreement, and it highlights some types of sentences that can pose particular challenges for ensuring subject/verb agreement. 

 

The SLC Multilingual Students’ Story Hub: A place to share your stories

Published January 21, 2020 by Julia Lane
The SLC Multilingual Story Hub is a place to share your language learning stories

By Dr. Timothy Mossman, SLC EAL Services Coordinator 

In this post, Dr. Timothy Mossman introduces and invites submissions to the new Multilingual Students' Story Hub. The Story Hub is a forum for multilingual students to share their stories about events or critical incidents that occurred while learning or using English. 

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