Writing Lab English Language Learner Workshop Series

September 29, 2013

This workshop series will clarify some of the mysteries of American English use for English language learners by discussing grammar, sentence structure, essay organization, and expressions.  Conducted by Jen McGovern from the Writing Lab, in conjunction with David Perez, these workshops will provide tools for English language learners to combine fluency in their native languages with an improved understanding of English.


Wed, Oct. 2nd at 4:15 PM – JRC 203

“Little Words Make a Big Difference”:  Use of Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions

This workshop will address common grammatical issues for English language learners, focusing on smaller words such as articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (connecting words such as “and,” “but,” and “yet”), and prepositions (as in “over” the river and “through” the woods, “to” Grandmother’s house we go).  Since these words are different or absent in other languages, they often pose a challenge to non-native speakers.  These little words make “a” big difference “in” understanding English sentences “but” are easy to overlook!


Wed, Oct. 16th at 4:15 PM – JRC 203

“Writing With an Accent”: American English Sentence Structures and Organization

This workshop will consider the differences between American English sentence structures and essay organization compared to those of other languages.  We will emphasize the use of active verbs, concise sentences, and thesis-driven organizational patterns that characterize American English academic essays.  English language learners often “write with an accent” by incorporating traditional structures from their native languages into English prose.  “Accented” writing can enhance both written and spoken English, adding international flavors to American fare!


Wed, Oct. 30th at 12 PM – JRC 224A (private dining room)

“Not My Cup of Tea”: American English idioms and expressions

This workshop will familiarize participants with American English idioms or expressions in which the literal and figurative meanings of phrases differ from each other.  Common examples of these phrases include “as American as apple pie,” “to bite off more than you can chew,” “the big cheese,” and “the whole enchilada.”  With such tasty expressions, it’s only logical to have this discussion over lunch—and a cup of tea!


Contact Jen McGovern at mcgoverj@grinnell.edu for more information about this event.

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