Writing tips from UIC language students
WRITING TIPS FROM UIC LANGUAGE STUDENTS
The day you get the writing assignment instructions:
- Note when the project is due (on syllabus, ask instructor).
- Give yourself time to do a good job.
- How long will it take you? If you are not sure, ask instructor for an estimate.
- Read the instructions carefully to understand what to do.
- Not sure what the instructions mean? Ask your instructor right away (email or office hours).
Before starting to write:
- Be confident: the writing assignment is for the level you are learning. You can do a good job if you give yourself enough time and ask questions.
- Plan to write in the language you are learning (NOT ENGLISH!)
- Use the class materials: textbook, Blackboard, whatever: start there.
- Don’t plan to look up tons of words: If you start doing that, think about changing what you say so you can say it using mostly the vocabulary you are learning this semester.
Preparing to write:
- Find a quiet place with few distractions so you can focus.
- Plan to write for no longer than an hour at a time.
- Have all the materials you need with you.
Start to organize:
- What format is the writing in? If you aren’t sure, ask your instructor. (For example, is it creative writing? A news article?)
- What tense?
- What kind of vocabulary (usually from current chapter/semester)?
- What kind of grammar?
- Is it a thesis paper? Any questions about that, ask your teacher.
- Write in the language you are learning. Leave blanks when you have a question or need to look up a word.
- Avoid the pressure to seem more advanced than your level, or write as you would in your native language: you are learning and will succeed by writing at your class level.
- Anything you don’t understand? Ask your instructor right away (email or office hours).
After finishing the first draft:
- Re-read it to see if it makes sense and to check the grammar.
- If possible, get a classmate to read it. (Don’t have anyone except your instructor correct your paper!)
- Take it to your instructor’s office hours or tutoring hours.
- Email your instructor with any specific questions.
- Make sure that anything you turn in for a grade is 100% your own work.
Pay attention to:
- Does it make sense?
- Format (does it look like a recipe? A thesis paper? An article about sports?)
- Accent marks
- Gender (masculine or feminine)?