Cultures of Writing: How First Language Can Affect a Non-native Student’s Writing in English

Problems in academic writing in English for non-native students can be the result of the transfer of their first language. Have you ever wondered why no matter how much time you spend learning the English grammatical rules or how hard you pay attention in your English classes, you are still unable to produce an effective English paragraph? When it comes to real writing, you tend to forget the rules of grammar you have learned and end up repeating the same errors again and again. For many ESL students, writing an English paragraph can be problematic. Some students tend to unconsciously produce the same errors repeatedly each time they write. Why is this the case? It is said that writers usually integrate into their …

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Theirs a bare in they’re! Or, just because it sounds write doesn’t mean its bean written the rite weigh.

It doesn’t really matter to a two-year-old watching a certain classic Australian pre-school TV program whether the lyrics of the introductory song read ‘theirs a bare in they’re’, ‘there’s a bare in their’ or ‘there’s a bear in there’ (the correct version); because they all sound the same. English has an abundance of groups of two or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings and/or spelling. These are called homophones. They can have the same pronunciation and spelling but different meanings—for example, bear (the animal) and bear (to carry), or have identical pronunciation but different spelling and meanings—for example, bear (the animal) and bare (devoid of covering). Usually there are two or three words that are differently …

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Academic Writing: Some General Guidelines

Have you ever been told that your writing style is not academic or that it is too informal?   Are you unsure what rules to follow, what you can do and what you should not do?   Formality   Academic writing needs to be formal and impersonal. This means that your writing should be clear, concise and professional. It needs to follow certain rules (such as those outlined below) in order to ensure that it meets academic standards. Supported by evidence The most significant difference between academic and non-academic writing is that academic writing puts forward arguments and ideas that are supported by evidence, most often in the form of citing other research or studies. Learning how to reference correctly …

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