Showing posts with label ESOL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ESOL. Show all posts

Friday, 29 November 2013

Top Ten Writing Problems - a list

That's my last sentence on this topic. Ever.

In your view, what are the TOP TEN problems that students experience in their writing?

Obviously, it depends quite a lot on the age group, their experience, and whether English is their first language. In this blog I'm thinking about weaker students, aged 11+.

It is clear, however, that many of the problems also affect the work of undergraduates and adult business people. And we're constantly striving to improve our writing, as earlier versions of this informal post would undoubtedly demonstrate.

In my experience, many common writing problems are persistent and recurrent.

Is a quick fix really that difficult? Do you make of a checklist for your students?

How do you empower your students to take more professional care and control of their work?

Any ideas?

Here is my draft list:

Many sentences that need a verb don't have one.

There is a tendency to use phrases, or sentence fragments, rather than sentences.

The flow of ideas is restricted by a lack of connectives and transitional phrases.

Paragraphs are not used at all.

Essays show an inability to compose an effective introduction or conclusion.

There is a failure to vary sentence length, for example, by using a range of simple, compound and complex constructions.

The vocabulary is limited and many words are repeated.

The style of writing is colloquial rather than formal; the style does not suit the target reader, or is inappropriate to theme and/or genre.

A monstrous flood of words has replaced the punctuation of sentences.

What's the best way to fix these issues, in your view?

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(2013) ... also available on Kindle, or to download. A bargain!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Art of Connection: The Social Life of Sentences

Do you find that you waste time wondering how to start the next sentence?
Do you find yourself lost for words when you are required to link your ideas coherently and persuasively?
Do your sentences flow together and support the larger structure?
Do you want your writing to communicate more effectively and efficiently?

The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences is an innovative practical book that explains the Nine Arts of Connection: Location, Timing, Comparison, Contrast and Difference, the Supplement, Disputation, Sequence, Example and Illustration, and the Summary.

By following the easy to use guides and examples provided in this book, writers can learn how to write fluently and begin to enjoy the process of composition.

Whether you are a student or learning English for the first time, this book will assist you to write successfully to achieve your goals. By dividing the common words and phrases used to signal transition and connection into nine categories this book guides the writer through the principles of effective writing and outlines everything that you need to know about the Nine Arts of Connection. Two thirds of the book are devoted to tried-and-tested examples of practical usage. This approach enables the writer to identify the value and effectiveness of connectvity as an active principle in composition.

A thought-provoking critical introduction also outlines in detail how effective writing employs a balance between creative flow or spontaneity, and the need to provide coherence, logical and structure.

 The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences (2013) Also available on Kindle, or to download.


1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Social Sentence
1.2 The Use of Connection
1.3 Understanding the Psychology of Transition
1.4 Style, Oratory, Elegance
1.5 The flow of spontaneity and passion
1.6 Power, Rhetoric and Repetition
1.7 The Philosophy of Association
1.8 Beyond the Logic of Connection
1.9 Écriture féminine
1.10 Openings: the genesis of this book

2. The Art of Location
3. The Art of Timing
4. The Art of Comparison
5. The Art of Contrast and Difference
6. The Art of the Supplement
7. The Art of Disputation
8. The Art of the Sequence
9. The Art of Example and Illustration
10. The Art of the Summary
Further Reading

About the Author

Dr Ian McCormick served as a Professor at the University of Northampton until 2009. He holds degrees in English Language and Literature (University of St Andrews (M.A.) and a doctorate awarded by the University of Leeds (Ph.D).

Ian's published work has been featured on BBC Radio and TV; in the Times Literary Supplement, The Observer, The Guardian, TimeOut (London), and in several academic journals. Awards and Prizes include the King James VI Prize (1989); the Lawson Memorial Prize (1985); British Academy Studentship (1990-93). Ian has also published and edited books on Gothic literature and Romanticism; sexuality and gender studies; modern and contemporary literature; teaching and learning strategies; drama education; and literary, critical and cultural theory.