Posts for the Topic writing

Holiday Wrap: Reflecting on the Past and Planning for the Winter Term

New Yorker cartoon captioned "I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to pointless, incessant barking"

Seeing as this will be my final posting, this is a perfect time to reflect on the fall term and project to the upcoming winter term. Fittingly, one of the big takeaways from my experience with a vastly diverse group of students is plan ahead. And I don’t mean that in a remedial or punitive way at all. It’s more of a general sentiment on developing a process, a process which you’re concurrently tweaking as it develops. Perhaps this is too meta (considering this post is prefaced on looking forward), but I’ve heard that being self-referential on the internet is the thing to do.

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.

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.

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.

The First Word is the Hardest: How to Get Working on a Writing Assignment

Often, the hardest part of completing a writing project is getting started. Whether you’re working on an essay, a lab report, or an online discussion post, there are all sorts of problems that can prevent you from penning those first few words. Let’s break down a few of those problems and explore some solutions that can help get the sentences flowing.

The grammar of things: A (hopefully) logical digression

Grammar is a tricky, uh, thing?

Black tie blunders, part 2: how to correct formality errors

woman in puffy prom dress standing beside woman in business suit

In last week’s post, we covered the many misconceptions that exist around the concept of formal writing, with a particular emphasis on the belief that formal writing should be full of polysyllabic words and complicated sentences. As we discussed, formality in writing is all about following a specific set of conventions and has almost nothing to do with shoehorning big words into your work.

Black tie blunders: what formal writing really means

Man in formal suit beside man in ridiculous blue suit

Particularly for students who are new to university, formal writing can be an intimidating concept. Many students begin their first-year courses with the belief that the understanding of formality they developed in high school will be useless to them in this new environment.

Figuring out your ideal writing space: an excuse to go for a ramble

Following up from last week’s blog that dealt with procrastination and getting started, it seems intuitive to consider one of the (potentially) underrated parts of the writing process: finding your ideal writing space. Sometimes, I find that people identify their favourite writing space with a binary. They either like total silence and undisturbed time, or they need some kind of background noise and a bit of chaos to get motivated. However, this self-identified requirement for a writing space can get us into tricky situations. How so?

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