Idiotic Idioms

While we all love a good colloquialism, there is most certainly too much of a good thing at times. Idioms, or those charming expressions that don’t make any sense to anyone outside of your area, can be overused. We’ve done a bit on the more offensive and odd slang in the (American) English language, but there are plenty of more polite, if occasionally idiotic, expressions

Organization in Writing: A Lost Art

Remember the days of the five-paragraph essay? We started in elementary school learning about topic sentences and then main ideas. We threw in some supporting details, restated that topic statement and rounded that paper out. It was clean, it was simple, and yet it is fast becoming a relic we need to bring back! When you’re learning to write in a different language or looking

Help! I Is Missing Again!

At lunch the other day, a group of English teachers were laughing about some of the things we find funny in student papers. Note that we weren’t laughing at students, but at how often we see the same mistakes, and one of the funniest is that we often have no idea who is writing a paper. I fully understand why this would only be funny

The Six Biggies in Writing

There are six key strategies I teach students as they improve their basic writing skills. As a writer, it’s interesting to me how well these six elements still translate to improving my work at a professional level. When you’re paying attention to these areas of your work, you’ll start to see ways to tweak your work to make it more readable. Learning more about how

Using Academic Language to Improve English

There is a strong correlation between how well you know your native language and how well you can write in English – at least formally. In essence, being highly educated in one language will make it far easier to become proficient in the English language. The root of this is the academic language that is surprisingly common throughout the world languages. Take the word “academic”: