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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. 

 

Become part of the SLC team (virtual interviews available!)

Published April 14, 2020 by Julia Lane
Apply now to join the Fall 2020 cohort of EAL and Writing and Learning Peers at the SLC!

The Student Learning Commons is scouting out new talent for our Writing and Learning Peer and English as Additional Language Peer programs. 

Both positions will allow you to develop transferable skills in the areas of client service, interpersonal skills, giving effective feedback, and cross-cultural communication, and will give you access to a professional reference as well as a private study/social space in the library.

We hope you will join our team! Apply now through http://myinvolvement.sfu.ca as part of posting #5254. The posting will be available until April 20, 2020.

Maintaining social cohesion in a time of social distancing

Published March 20, 2020 by Julia Lane
As we have gone virtual, maintaining social connection in our networks is important to us. We are still available to help you achieve the academic success you want!

Graduate Writing Facilitator Kate Elliott and Writing Services Coordinator Julia Lane provide you with some information about how the Student Learning Commons has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent closure of our in-person services. 

In this blog post, you will get information about how you can continue to get support through the SLC, remotely. 

We hope everyone is keeping well - physically, emotionally, and mentally - during this time of increased stress and isolation. 

If you have questions, please reach out to us at learning-commons@sfu.ca 

(content reposted from the Canadian Writing Centre Association Blog

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. 

Reflecting on English as Additional Language Peer Educator Training

Published November 12, 2019 by Julia Lane
EAL Peer Educator Ashley K.'s reflections on her training experiences

Guest blogger and English as Additional Language Peer Educator, Ashley K. writes this week about her experiences with EAL Peer training. In particular, she reflects on a lecture presented by Dr. Ena Lee, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education. Dr. Lee's talk focused on the "commonsense discourses" of English language learning, and how these "commonsense" ideas are often actually wrong. 

Ashley connects this talk with her experiences doing a "Pluriligual Identity" exercise and reflecting on her own connections with language learning, identity, and culture. 

 

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