Giving an adjective its due

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I haven’t posted on this blog for several weeks. And if I can’t write better than that sentence, I shouldn’t be posting at all. The point is to call your attention to the use, or rather misuse, of due to. It’s one of the most common mistakes in English, […]

That? Which? WHAT?!?!?

Relative clauses — those subordinate clauses that add information to sentences — can be confusing, even to native speakers of English. They can help you avoid monotony in sentence structure and achieve that variety in rhythm prized in English writing. Some relative clauses serve as giant adjectives or adverbs. For example: You’ll find the mailboxes […]

Political and printable

As we approach the first Obama-Romney debate and the home stretch of the 2012 election season, here are some resources for international students who could use a little guidance through the thicket of the American political system. First, remember from my orientation talk that AP has already set up a style guide to the elections, […]

The articles article

You know what articles are: those three little words, a, an and the, that precede nouns.  You know how to use them, at least in theory. But you may have trouble getting them just right or, if your native language has no articles, remembering to use them at all. In my first month coaching at […]

Introducing English for Journalists

International students at the CUNY J-school come from all over the world: Japan, China, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Russia, India. Their native languages are as diverse as their homelands and cultures. Since the Class of ’13 started arriving in mid-August for the fall semester, I’ve had the pleasure of working privately with at least […]