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English 1, 2

English 3, 4
IES 1, 2
Course descriptions
John Holstein
Robert MacPherson





Catching Up



Essential Elements in Writing

Qualities of a Good Essay

The Standard Topic Outline

Topic and Closing Sentences

The Thesis Statement

The Introductory Paragraph

The Closing Paragraph



Developing an Idea

Limiting for Satisfying Discussion

An Example of "Less is More" (Limiting for fuller development)

Methods For Providing Full Development

Examples of Support

Maturity in Writing

Assertion or Fact?
Well-Supported Claims?
Citing sources: informal

Figures for Supporting Your Point


Focus (Central idea, purpose and method)
Point Fronting

Cohesion Devices Local and Global

Clarity Tags

Clarity: Even when you think the reader knows

Coherence and Content Schema

Transition: From one paragraph to the next

Stylish Global Transitions

For example...




An Essay's Introduction and Conclusion

Sexist Language (pronouns, 'man')

Why Study Writing? (from Virginia Tech's Writing Program)

"Hillary Bashing" (A great article about using nouns and verbs instead of adjectives to provide concrete quality support, from the Chicago Tribune.)

Qualities of a Good Essay

Writing a Summary

Technical Features in Written Work
Standard Formatting in the ELP

E-mail Ego
E-mail Tips (How to write e-mail in English; a summary of Internet articles, and results of a study of common mistakes in the e-mail messages of English learners.)

An E-mail Exchange: (An e-mail exchange that includes samples of common problems)

Tips on Taking a Writing Exam (Click on "Tips & Techniques" and then click for Tips on Taking an Essay Exam")

Hyphenation Guide

Check the Dictionary for Hyphenation (the Online Dictionary)

Proofreading for Commas (from Purdue University's On-line Writing Lab)
Punctuation: Purdue University Online Writing Lab.
Semi-colons: What they are and how to use them.

Change-of-state verbs

Passive Voice

Focus and Time Adjuncts in Tenses

The Grammar Exchange (Here you can find some very good answers to questions that you have about grammar.)

Relative Clauses (An explanation of punctuation for restictive/defining and non-restrictive/parenthetical clauses; with exercises.)
Relative Clauses EXERCISE 1

Relative Clauses EXERCISE 2

'This/That' or 'it'?

Infinitive or Gerund? The Bolinger Principle

Concord: Noun Number (Tell the children to blow their noses? Nose?)

Concord: Subject-Verb Agreement

Reported (Indirect) Speech

Misplaced Modifiers
Pronoun reference

Will or be going to?

Future in the past (would, was going to; knew, thought)

Some or Any?

Noun Classes


Good Readers Use Strategies
Why Read?
Reading S.O.P
Context Clues
Figurative Language: Metaphors
Using Structure for Efficient Reading
CNN Student News
Prefixes, suffixes and roots (A great site that provides a thorough list of affixes and roots, along with word examples and exercises.)

BBC World Service
(One of the best sites for supplementary listening practice. If you want to save the audio file, you will have to use the software ARWizard.)
The CNN Learning Resources Site
(Another great site for supplementary listening. Use ARWizard to save the audio file.)
Video from The New York Times
(The most interesting is David Pogue.)
CNN Student News
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
(Amazing collection of radio and TV reports.)
English Bites (Australian English; listening with scripts)
Discovery School (Easy listening, script not really needed)
Randall's Cyber Listening Lab (Lots of listenings with exercises)
Lingualnet. Learning English through movies (captions available!)

Word Choice: Finding the right word in the E-E dictionary
Word Choice: Longman Language Activator
Word Usage: The British National Corpus: Use this to find the correct grammar and lexical neighbors for a lexical.Just type the lexical in the search box ("Look up") and click "Go." Learn how to use the search tool: Click on "More information" and then click on "BNC Corpus Query Language" to find the tools and how to use them. One tool is the "wild card," which is a symbol that let's you search for a partial phrase. For example, to discover what article is used with ride and bicycle, type "ride _ bicycle."

Word Usage: Collins Concordance and Collocations
Phrases, Sayings and Idioms: Meanings and Origins
DENT: An example of a listing from the British National Corpus.
Reason vs. cause
Example Sentences in Dictionaries
Confirming Lexical Accuracy

Urban Dictionary.com: Find words and phrases that have been recently coined; entries are submitted by ordinary people, not experts.
OneLook.com: A site with several tools for finding the right word and using it correctly. Please check out and experiment with the reverse dictionary.
Lexical Choice and Usage
Synonyms: Thesaurus.com
Learning Lexicals
Lexicals: What and How?
(What are lexicals? Instructions for the Lexicals Exercise)
Review: make, get, let, have
Review: by and until
Adjectives and Descriptive Verbs: Rector
Phrasal Verbs: Using Your Dictionary
Phrasal Verb On-line Dictionaries
The Monolingual or the Bilingual Dictionary?
Arguments Against Using the Monolingual Dictionary
Affixes: Prefixes and Suffixes (If you are interested in a book on stems and affixes, ask Mr. Holstein to show it to you.)
Synonyms: Thesaurus.com

Other aids
English Safari (recommendations for getting practice with native English speakers)
TOEFL Practice Test (You need to download and install the "Macromedia Authorware Web Player" plug-in before you can view the practice questions, but it's pretty easy. Follow the directions at this link--you just have to click once.)
Distancing: Softening What You Say
Polishing Your Speech
The Best Approach (Tips on approaching your teacher or superior; includes "Getting Somebody to Do Something...the right way.")
Problems in Communication (Common mistakes made by English learners. Yours are here too! Read a few of these at a time. 10 pages; 184kb Adobe Acrobat file.)
Common Errors

Just for fun
Crazy English