Friday, May 9, 2014


This blog has now been merged with ENGL 155 blog to form the new Effective Writing Blog ( 

Please go there for a visit and see the updates!

Friday, April 25, 2014


textbook imageWelcome to the English 177-189 Blog. English 177 is English for Academic Purposes; English 189 is English for Business. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program.The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and also provide you with an opportunity to communicate with each other. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be answered in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor. Note that some activities are more appropriate to one course or the other.


A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Next blog: Friday, May 9, 2014.


The commentator said its the most unique program was skated at the competition and they are skating unbelievable therefore it hasn't been surprised that the audience have given them the standing ovation.

1. Word choice:

We often use the phrase "very unique". But "unique" really means "the only one", so it should not be qualified. Delete the word "most" or change the description to something that can be modified, like "innovative". 

2. Pronoun reference: 

As a rule, the pronoun should refer to a previous noun. In this case, unless we assume the referent was established in an earlier sentence, we don't know what "it" is. To avoid confusion, it might be better to say something like "...the skaters' program was...". 

3. Apostrophe: 

If we decide to keep the word "its" in the sentence, we need to keep in mind that it's a contraction of "it is" and that we therefore need an apostrophe to indicate that a letter has been omitted.

4. Passive voice: 

The verb form depends on how we construe the subject. If we go with something like "...the skaters' program", we can use the simple past: "...the skaters' program was the most innovative...". Otherwise, we might use the past participle: " was the most innovative program skated..."

5. Pronoun  reference: 

Again, unless we assume the referent was established in an earlier sentence, we don't know who "they" are. It might be better here to make this clear by saying something like "the pair" or "the skaters".

6. Word form: 

"Unbelievable" is an adjective, but we want to modify a verb ("are skating"), so we need an adverb ("unbelievably"). Otherwise, we need to change the verb into a noun and say something like "...their skating was unbelievable..."

7. Verb tense/form: 

The action happened over a very short period of time, so it might be better to use the simple past tense ("wasn’t") instead of the present perfect ("hasn’t been"), and follow it with the present participle ("surprising") instead of the past participle ("surprised").

8. Verb tense: 

Again, use the simple past ("gave") instead of the present perfect ("have given").

9. Article use: 

“The” refers to something definite, but in this case "standing ovation" is indefinite (there could have been any number of standing ovations during the competition), so we need to use the indefinite article ("a").

10. Punctuation: 

We could use direct speech here (putting the comments in quotation marks), but we often report speech indirectly. In that case it might be helpful to put "that" after the reporting verb ("...said that... and that..."). Also, remember to put a comma before the dependent (after "competition").

Possible solution

The commentator said that the skaters' program was the most innovative one at the competition and that their skating was unbelievable; therefore, it was no surprise that the audience gave them a standing ovation.


Correct the errors in the following sentence:

Studying on my own pace is a lot of benefit for me do to I am not needing to be worrying about no time for attend class.

Solutions will be posted in the next edition of the blog.


Solution to the previous puzzle:  

1. prosecute     SUE
2. scoundrel     CUR
3. falsities         LIES
4. stockings      SOCKS
5. pantaloons    PANTS
6. brackets       BRACES

New Puzzle:

The last puzzle was a little too easy, so this time you will have to work for the solution.

Five words that contain GM as a letter pair have had all of their other letters removed and placed into a pool. 

You have to put those letters back in their proper places to find the words.

Here are the words: 

**GM*, **GM**, ***GM*, ****GM, **GM***

And here is the pool: 

A, A, A, A, B, E, E, H, I, L, N, N, P, P, S, T, T, U, Y, Y

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.


There are three idioms that use HEAD:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other posters.


Change the words in the following sentence as indicated.

Yasmin excitedly rode her new bicycle to school.

Please change only the exact word in the sequence given. Each participant should build on the changes made by the previous participant.

For instance, Participant 1 writes #1 Subject Noun, and changes the subject noun; Participant 2 writes #2 Direct Object Noun, and changes the direct object noun, etc.

Normally, I request that each participant make just one change at a time, following the order indicated below. Once again, you are free to make as many changes as you wish. Just remember to number each change so it is clear to everyone where we are on the list.

When all 7 changes have been made, return to the top of the list and continue.


1. subject noun

2. direct object noun          
3. indirect object noun                  
4. adjective(s)
5. adverb(s)    
6. verb name      
7. verb tense


The word stem -mit (meaning "send") occurs in many words. 

Add an affix (either a prefix or a suffix) to this stem to make another word. 

Each participant should add a different word to the list.


Follow the instructions below to create three different sentences from the following clause.*

... we are already one-third of the way through the year ...

Sentence 1. Add a phrase      

Sentence 2. Add a dependent clause
Sentence 3. Add an independent clause

*Add your words to the beginning or end of the clause (but not both).


If the sentence is singular, change it to the plural; if it is plural, change it to the singular.

Yesterday, I noticed a child in the park feeding bread to the pigeons.


Vocabulary building is important for both reading comprehension and writing. 

Use the following two words in one sentence (note the part of speech).

abdicate (verb)  +  democracy (noun)

To further improve your vocabulary, remember to check out the Word of the Day
The site also has word games and puzzles.


We can describe food as sustenance

Provide a synonym and an antonym for this word. Each participant should suggest a different word.


Write two sentences using the word take.

In the first sentence, use the verb in the active voice; in the second sentence, use it in the passive voice.


Change the time in the following sentence by using a different verb tense and replacing any necessary time clues. Each student should choose a different verb tense.

Easter came and went very quickly; even though it was a holiday, I was kept busy with work around the house.


Learning to combine ideas into more complex sentences is an important writing skill. There are many ways to do this. Try to combine the following three sentences.

Sentence 1Many people in Canada are looking forward to spring.
Sentence 2Spring is particularly appreciated in a country where most people experience a very long winter.
Sentence 3:This winter has seemed longer than most, with snow still on the ground in many parts of the country.


The following question is similar to the one in part 3 of the ENGL140 final exam. Write a sentence using the vocabulary and grammar indicated.

Write a sentence using dependent clause in the past perfect tense and an independent clause in the simple past tense.