Everything listed under: Writing

  • The English Sentence

    Most people have an Achilles heel: an area of weakness or vulnerability. According to the ancient Greek myth, Achilles, the Trojan War hero celebrated in Homer’s Iliad, was invulnerable—except for one small spot on his body: his heel. Paris, a warrior for the other side, shot the poisoned arrow that killed Achilles when it pierced his only weak spot.   Read More...

  • Your Resume, American Style

    A resume is a lot like a CV, or so many people believe. Both are supposed to give employers a clear picture of your education, qualifications, and job history. But there’s a big difference between the two documents. 

    A CV is normally written according to a strict formula: biographical information + dates + places + your job responsibilities + your skills, educational background, and qualifications. Gaps between jobs must be explained and justified. Your employment history needs to be squeaky-clean, or else!   Read More...

  • Where the Action Is

    With all their variety, English sentences tend to follow a fairly strict pattern—especially in writing. “The woman shot the burglar” is a more satisfying sentence than “the burglar was shot by the woman.” Both versions mean the same thing—but the English-language tradition demands that we express most of our thoughts in the active voice instead of the passive. We want to know who or what performed the action right away, rather than having to wait for that important information to come at the end of the sentence.   Read More...

  • How to Overcome Page Fright

    Some people are natural writers, but that doesn’t mean they write perfect first drafts. In fact, bad first drafts are the norm, not the exception. Most writers have to revise their work several times before they consider their draft “final.” 

    Even if you’re a writing natural, you may still find it hard to get started, especially in a second language.  And some of you may never feel completely comfortable with the written word, like my student Ivan, who loves numbers and formulas but shuns words and sentences. 

    Like an actor with stage fright before a performance, many of us experience page fright when we find ourselves face-to-face with a blank page.   Read More...