English Skills: Overview

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English Skills is a broad term, covering everything from spelling to sentence structure. On this website, we have focused on nine of the most troublesome areas for students:

Run-Ons Sentence Fragments
Subject-Verb Agreement Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Misplaced Modifiers Comma Use
Apostrophes Commonly-Confused Words

Before assigning any of the material, instructors may want to spark student discussion by posing a question such as this one to the class: Why do English Skills matter? The introductory video may also be used to initiate the conversation.

In exploring why grammar, spelling, diction, and syntax are important, an instructor should help students to understand the following points about adhering to conventions:

1. Ease of communication. As the introductory video demonstrates, sometimes, writers who make English Skill errors are misunderstood.  Errors can create a barrier between writers and readers, causing a breakdown in communication.

2. Establishing your credibility. Readers are likely to pay attention to the points made in a clearly-written, error-free essay. On the other hand, if a writer’s essay is filled with technical errors, readers may wonder, “If s/he has made these kinds of mistakes, perhaps the ideas in the essay are faulty too.”

3. Demonstrating that a writer is a member of an academic or professional community. While students have not (yet) earned the same advanced degrees as their professors, they are members of the same academic community. As such, students are expected to follow community rules when engaging in intellectual conversations with faculty and peers.

This video provides a humorous look at why English Skills matter…