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  Notes from Writing Practice

The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

The World of Work:

 Student One:

I never imagined how hard it would be for me to have no local experience, no friends and to know nothing.

The writer has made a parallel list of three things that made life hard for her. She leaves the most important item for the last place on the list. Readers find this position most memorable. The three “nos” are powerful as repetition. Be careful, but not afraid to repeat for emphasis.

Everything is unfamiliar.

The third sentence after the topic and the above list is a three-word sentence. Students don’t dare do this often enough in my opinion.

The student uses more repetition in the paragraph, “waited and waited,” for example. Again, if you have a reason for repeating then it works.

Student Two:

One day we imported barley from France to sell in China, and I needed his signature and also needed him to tell the warehouse to prepare well.

All the information in the above sentence is related to one main idea. It is a bit complicated to tell us everything we need to know, but a student should try to incorporate related items into the same sentence if possible.


Teacher Sample:

Canadian Telephone and Supplies: My First “Real” Job

     The first job I stayed in for more than a year is still interesting to think about, even though I did it almost 30 years ago. At that time, I had finished my first two years at UBC and wanted time to sort out my life. So, I went to work! I started in the machine shop one Monday morning. That day my job was to take the burrs off metal rods. To do it, I used a large belt sander. On one side of me was a box to do; on the other side was a box I’d finished. Over and over again, I took a piece out of the first box, polished one end, turned it around, polished the other, and then threw it into the second box. It was very boring. Sometime that first afternoon I got distracted, slipped, and touched the knuckle of my hand onto the sander. I could see the dots of blood for each vein I had exposed and the white flesh all around them. Soon after, my hand was bleeding badly. My boss came by to see me and told me I should go to the first aid room right away. That was very embarrassing! In any case, I was soon transferred to the shipping and receiving department, far from the machinery. (220 words; first draft by Brad Hyde)


More Writing Practices:

Current Practice

The Best Gifts

Our Earliest Memories

Our Hometown

What We're Reading Now

Simple Sentences (Noun and Verb)

Writing about a Favourite Place

Making Sentences Longer 2

Writing about the Rain

Writing about a Person

Writing about Lunch

Writing about Snow

Making Sentences Longer

Food Words

Weather Words


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