November 2016

Revisiting Google Ngram: What we can learn from Corpora

Ancient inscription captioned "It doesn't mean a thing, but boy, will it drive them crazy a thousand years from now?"

So I’ve been thinking about Google’s Ngram Viewer and how it applies as a teaching tool. Although it doesn’t directly translate, Ngram reminded me of a really handy tool that we use regularly at the Writing Centre. I’ve also realized that many people may not have encountered it before. So, I present to you: the Now Corpus.

Choosing Effective Transition Words: A DIY Guide

Matrix meme captioned "What if I told you not all transition words don't mean the same thing"

Seeing as I tend to write a lot of blogs focused on process/approaches to sustainable writing practices, it may be a good time to write something more applied (and plug some of the resources from the website). This post is inspired by a common experience throughout the semester; quite often, I find myself directing students to the Transition Phrase bank in our Resources section.

Why Goodreads Might Revitalize Your Interest in Recreational Reading

In my last post, I discussed how adopting a reading habit can help you strengthen your academic skills and become a better student in any discipline. However, making a commitment to recreational reading is often a challenging task. A common misconception seems to be that not reading regularly is a personal failing, as expressed in this simply-worded Tumblr post which resonated with hundreds of thousands of people:

Five Reasons Reading for Fun Will Make You a Better Student (in Any Discipline)

woman reading under tree

It’s widely acknowledged that the number of people who regularly read for pleasure has been in decline over the past decades (Flood). Accordingly, although today’s post-secondary students spend a great deal of time poring over academic articles and studying classic novels for courses on literature, they’re less likely to pick out a book that interests them and read it purely for entertainment and relaxation.

An experiment with Google Ngram Viewer or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

Dr. Strangelove meme captioned "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room"

At the Writing Centre, we’re always looking out for new teaching strategies and tools. So when one of my colleagues mentioned Google Ngram Viewer (I was shamelessly trolling for blog posts ideas, to be honest), I was intrigued. What is it? What does it do? And more importantly, how does Google keep creating these things?

9 Tips to Ace That Timed Essay

Image of a happy dog with the caption "Good luck on the exam, hope it isn't too ruff"

Exams are almost upon us, and a familiar sense of foreboding has settled over the campus. One exam element that can be particularly intimidating for some students is the timed essay: an exam question which demands a full essay on a topic that is typically revealed for the first time during the test. While these kinds of questions may seem scary, there are plenty of ways to make them easy for yourself. Read on for tips about how to prepare in advance of the exam and how to approach timed essays before, during, and after the writing process.

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