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   Student Writing
    (April 7,2001

The following examples come from various exercises in the Advanced Composition class. The students volunteered sentences for correction and comment. Teacher comments are in italics.


Student Examples:

I always go home after I have finished my game.

It’s fun to play tennis, but not on a rainy day. 
It’s fun to play tennis, but not if it is raining that day. 
Playing tennis is fun, but not on a rainy day.

Start with a gerund noun sometimes. They are easy to make. Just take a verb and add “ing.”

I enjoy skiing whether it is raining or snowing. 
I enjoy skiing, even if it is raining. 
Even if it is raining, I enjoy skiing.

Thinking about the order in which you give information can help you to emphasize what you wish to emphasize.

I run over five kilometers, because I have always had very good stamina.

Try to avoid saying it twice. For example, the original sentence included “long distances over five kilometers,” but most people will understand that five K is long.

When I was a teenager, my parents and I went on safari in East Africa and we saw an elephant standing in the middle of the road.

Using a long sentence to give related details (age, who was with the student, what he was doing, where he was, and what happened) is a useful way to write.

I drifted towards this man, who was entertaining the crowd with his magic tricks and patter while my parents were busy taking pictures.

Using “this” makes the man seem more attractive than just using “a” or “the.” Being a bit more specific by changing “special” to “magic” and adding “patter” improves the sentence.

When I was back home, my brother was riding a bicycle in the middle of a football field and trying to entertain people, but he failed badly.

Don’t be afraid to include lots of details in the same sentence and remember that the final position, which in this case is “but he failed badly” is a very powerful one for emphasis. Now we are very interested in the next sentence.


More Student Writing:

Current Student Writing Example

A Place to Live
Atala writes a beautiful descriptive paragraph about her grandmother's house. Full of lovely detail using all the senses, it ends with song lyrics from Louis Armstrong.  February 28

Free Tranquilizer
An excellent descriptive paragraph about the delights to be found at Central Park in Burnaby. By a former student who wishes to remain anonymous.  February 1

An Ordinary Day
Far from ordinary, Octavia's paragraph captures the sights and smells and sounds of an outdoor market. Sensuous writing with excellent detail! January 16

The Place I Long For
Jana's rich description makes it easy to imagine the peace she finds at a favourite place.  December 13

The Mosquitoes on Campus
Couch writes an amusing story of meeting the new, much smarter, urban mosquito!  November 28

Nothing Came to My Mind
Tina has written an intriguing narrative paragraph about finding quiet contemplation time in her car on an autumn day. November 9

A Smart Pig
Annie's amusing paragraph contemplates what it would be like to be a pig, but only for one day! 

Hanging Up the Clothes
Short paragraph with lots of detailed description. 

How to Reduce Stress
    Short essay in five paragraph standard style.

Smells of the Sun
Short paragraph demonstrating the use of the senses in writing.

Advice to New Students of the PALC
Lucky gives some straightforward and useful advice to new students. 

The PALC for Improving Your English
Ciprian has some good advice on how the PALC can help you with your English skills.




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