Archive for September 2009

Avoiding Sentence Fragments

September 22, 2009

Avoiding fragments

We don’t always speak in complete sentences – usually we do not. We do not always text or email each other in complete sentences. However, writing in memos, letters, essays and reports has to be proper.  It is essential that we write in complete sentences. A complete sentence has a subject and a verb.


eg. Joshua plays football.

The verb, plays, tells what kind of action the subject, Joshua, takes.

Another way to identify the verb is to test if it can be changed to past, present, and future tenses. Joshua played football (past tense). Joshua will play football (future tense).


In each of the following complete sentences, draw one line under the subject and two lines under the verb.

eg.   1. Ozone levels are decreasing over the north pole.

2. A pizza slice  lies hidden in the refrigerator.

3. Many people read best-selling magazines during the summer.

4. The internet provides writers with useful information.

5. Exercise improves one’s health.


Mark “C” for a complete sentence. Mark “F” for a fragment.

Make the fragments into complete sentences by adding a subject, a verb, or both. Draw one line under the subject and two lines under the verb.

eg. 1. Doris rents rooms to international students.

2. in the library.

3. Had breakfast already.

4. They won the Super bowl last year.

5. Thomas must have left already.


The following examples are fragments: What could you add to them to make them complete sentences?

1. Sitting on the beach feeding the seagulls.

2. Wondering about his math mark.

3. The woman singing in the shower.

4. Was calling his friends, rounding them up, and handing out tickets for the game.

None of the above is a complete sentence. However, each can be completed by adding a subject and/or verb. Don’t be fooled by length. There is much action in the last example, but we don’t know who is doing all of it.

We will take this a step further in our next blog.


Planning leads to success

September 15, 2009

Hey there College and University students. Welcome to a new level of education and also a new need to organize and plan your schedule like never before.

You have had the introduction to your courses and have  some  idea of the workload you will have. This was covered in the outline and syllabus for each class.

Write the assignment dates in your agenda or day planner and create a schedule for the rest of the month.

You should for instance put your tentative work (part time or full time jobs) load into the calendar. If you have major assignments or tests, you should ask for a lighter work schedule (if possible) that week.

You should put in at least 2 hours of study/homework time for each class you are taking.

Planning like this will avoid rushing and trying to make last minute changes later. It seems practical and logical to do it. You will not regret it.

Oh, yeah – you should copy your professor’s office hours into your address book – along with the professor’s contact information. You want the professor to know your name.  It is good to establish relationship early on. Later, if you should need help, he/she will already know you.

Plan now and you will succeed later.

Welcome students and teachers Fall 2009

September 1, 2009

Most college and university teachers (and high school and elementary teachers) are busy preparing their materials because classes will start after labour day. We are busy making photocopies and planning and tweaking our lessons, estimating textbooks and all of the regular fun stuff we teachers get to do.

I can’t describe the excitement that fills me – except it might be as special as getting my driver’s licence. I always loved school. I always looked forward to the first day of school. It was fun shopping for supplies and all of that excitement occurs with each semester. It is exciting and awesome. I imagine that my colleagues feel the same.

I want to also be mindful of my students. The first year students will be nervous – excited and uncertain. This is a major life transition for them. They will not know where the bathrooms are, or where to buy their parking permits. They may get lost in the corridors searching for a room. They will wonder if the skills they have learned are enough for them to make it here in academia. Will they make friends?

1. I want to welcome them to the College/University and make them feel valued. I try to learn their names.

2.I give them some icebreakers. Most of them do not know their classmates and it gives them a chance to connect with their peers. Study groups and note taking backups are born here.

3. I want to assure them that they have the foundations, so I give them a diagnostic test and collect a writing sample. This helps me know if there are specific concerns, but also allows me to comment on their first attempt at college/university writing. Somehow it gives them confidence. It doesn’t count towards their grade but seeing a comment of good or well done lets them realize it is the same process they are used to.

Welcome students and teachers. I wish you the best this semester!