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Make Your Writing Funny: Adding Humor to Articles, Columns, and Blog Posts

Now we can actually slide some humor into your writing. Let’s keep it simple for now – we’ll start by adding some funny bits into articles, columns, blog posts…any kind of straight, informative writing. It’s all about using the right lines at the right times. Strategic application is key, like you’re going to war with your article or something. The optimal rule to follow: once … read more

Pronouns, Antecedents and Other Quirks

Here’s one you don’t think about all the time – do your pronouns match your antecedents? Consider the following sentence I used today in class: The squirrel attacked him, and he was frightened. Yes, yes – the old attacking squirrel trick. Subject aside, the pronouns are words like him and he. The antecedent in this case is the squirrel or an anonymous him. That’s the … read more

Everyone Get Their Red Pen – This Is a Big One!

It’s easy to get frustrated with the complexities of the English language, especially when it becomes clear that many native speakers still struggle with certain words and phrases. How is a non-native speaker supposed to handle herself with the language when the supposed experts can’t? So native and non-native English speakers alike – be aware of this (very) common usage problems: “Their” means MORE than … read more

Red Flags for ESL Writers

Those writers who speak English as their second (or third, or fourth) language can come from any country, culture or background, so everyone experiences different sorts of issues in their writing that stand out to native audiences. Believe me, the natives aren’t perfect either. Understand, of course, that native audiences aren’t always right, and they certainly aren’t perfect, but if you’re working for US-based clients … read more

Jokes I Can't Do in Standup

I hate being a writer sometimes. I hate it because it screws with my head. I hate that I can be funny, but only in that long, drawn out way that only writers can be funny. My dream career is performing standup full time, and I’m miles from making that happen because I keep writing these damn jokes that are funny but ONLY if you … read more

ESL Discrimination: Real or Ridiculous?

Non-native writers face discrimination online. Much of this negativity come for failing to write English “properly” – at least according to prospective clients. Looking been around various forums and markets, I’ve come across more than a few exclusionary advertisements about “native English speakers only” and such. Is there a reason so many jobs are asking for native English speakers only? Absolutely – and I’ll tell … read more

Humor for ESL Students

I know that Rebecca is the one who often teaches ESL but then I thought, well, I could unhelpfully contribute! So here I am! I’m going to write about how to do humor if you are not a native speaker of English but still want to be funny. I’ll teach you two different methods. Method number one: try to be funny like an American. This … read more

Want to Improve Your English? Please Skip MTV

It’s a joke on too many shows these days that the alien or the foreigner learns English by watching MTV or the equivalent. It might have been marginally funny the first time, but it’s way past time for that joke to be over, and the underlying message is actually rather dangerous for those who are trying to sound like professionals. It’s hard to learn real … read more