Examples of Student Writing with Teacher
Comments from Literature and Composition 4 Students
The students, along with their teacher, helped to revise student
work. Comments and suggestions are given in italics below.
This Wednesday evening was a little bit
boring as always. (We played with the ending of the sentence,
changing it from “to be” to “has been” and then decided to drop the
second verb entirely. The sentence, however, is a strong beginning
because it makes us a little bit curious.) In the McGill Branch of
the public library (we added the detail "public library" since not
everyone lives in Burnaby), a young lady in black, sat by the
window, staring at the crowd in the playground outside. The summer sky
in Vancouver was just like a sweet lady who always knows what a man
expects, blue and clear. (We joined two sentences together, took
out the adverb “winningly” and let the metaphor of the “sweet lady”
help us to understand Rosemary’s meaning. A metaphor is a comparison
between two unlike things to show they are alike.) She shows her
charming smile; we enjoy the wonderful sunshine. (The semicolon is
used to join full clauses [sentences] that have a strong relationship
in meaning.) No matter how nice the sky seemed to be, it was none
of my business! The lady didn’t know why she thought like this.
Stories are most often told in the past tense.
In all writing, you wish to have a variety of technique,
sentence styles, words used and so on. Having the ability to use all
kinds of punctuation gives you more options to be interesting.
My childhood is filled with memories of
playing soccer. In Ghana the first game a kid will think of is soccer.
Every community in our city had a team. The only game I know how to
play well is soccer. I played on the school team during my Elementary
and high school years.
For a short piece of writing, the background information
should be also short. In this piece, we may be interested in the
details BUT we are more interested in your personal anecdote. Avoid
doing too much “scene-setting” as you might lose the readers here.
It was a very hot and sunny day, and I was
watching from the bench. (We joined the two previous sentences
together using “and” as two details that are giving us the setting and
your situation.) The first fifteen minutes was tough. (Here,
the short sentence is effective to make a direct statement. Use short
sentences to “wake up” your reader occasionally.) The Nigerian
team was playing a far better game than us. (Strictly speaking, we
should change “us” to “we”; however, to suit Joejo’s tone, it is
better to leave it as it is. Otherwise, we could sound overly formal
in our sentence.) After twenty minutes, our midfielder got
injured. The coach called me: “Joe get up and warm up.” As soon as I
heard that, my heart started pounding and I was scared to death. (Here
Joejo both shows us “heart pounding” and tells us “scared to death.”
In this case, we feel it is necessary to explain the reason for the
heart pounding and so both are needed. However, be careful not to tell
when your showing is enough.)
Killing a Chicken
My husband and I are too kind to kill any
creatures. Many years ago, our company distributed two live chickens
to each employee as a bonus. We got four live, white-feathered and
red-headed chickens. We had to kill them, or send them to our
neighbours. (We combined the two previous sentences and dropped the
phrase “By the time” as it was incorrectly used.) First, we were
going to try killing them.
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