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Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are words that are used to show ownership or possession. In English, there are eight possessive adjectives: "my," "your," "his," "her," "its," "our," "your," and "their." "My" is used to show ownership or possession of something by the speaker....

Silver Linings Playbook – Credit for the Original Author?

Silver Linings Playbook is a huge cultural event. Are your students fans? Do they know it is based on a novel by the same name? Activity Summary: Set up a discussion of attribution; should Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell give more credit to Matthew...


In math, there can be more than one way to correctly solve an equation. Some might be easier or more difficult, but the most important thing is that you get the correct answer. For example, 2+2 and 1+1+1+1 and 2x2 and 22 all mean the same thing and will yield the same...

Nouns – Overview for ESL Learners

Nouns are words that represent people, places, things, or ideas. There are several types of nouns in English, including common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, and collective nouns. Types of Nouns Common nouns are general words that refer to people, places,...

The Three Ways to Pronounce the Letter H

The letter h in English can be pronounced in different ways. These don't follow a standard rule, so you will have to learn how to pronounce each h- word. The following guide covers pronunciation in North American English, but some accents follow different...

The Secret to Eye Contact

“Make eye contact” isn’t very useful advice or criticism. Most of use know we should be making eye contact, not looking at the ceiling or the floor. But how? Learn some concrete tactics to help you fake it until you can make it for real.

Use SEMICOLONS (;) For Emphasis

How do you properly use semicolons? More importanlty, how can you use them to help your writing, particularly to add emphasis?

Its vs. It’s, Their/there, Led/lead etc

Examples of words that sound the same but have different meanings – homonyms. Too/to, pear, pair, led/lead etc.

MLA Works Cited Page – Basic Formatting

Straight answers on the ‘Works Cited’ page requried by MLA. NOT a ‘Bibliography’!

Common vs Proper Nouns

Common nouns are words that refer to general things or ideas. They are not specific to any one particular thing and can be used to describe many different things of the same kind. Examples of common nouns include "dog," "book," and "table." Proper nouns, on the other...

Future Tense Verbs for ESL Learners

English doesn't have a way to conjugate future tense verbs. Rather, it uses different auxiliary words and tenses to indicate that an event takes place in the future.  Future Simple Tense One way to form the future tense is with the modal verb "will." This is...

Designing Sentences Using the Mighty Colon (:)

When do you use the two dots vs. the dot and the comma? All answers: here.

Adjectives – Overview for ESL Learners

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns or pronouns in a sentence. They give us more information about the noun or pronoun and help us to better understand and visualize it. For example, in the sentence "The red car drove down the street," the adjective...


An overreliance on the adverb “then” or on adverb phrases like “then proceeded” makes your writing sound less like skilled academic or creative writing and more like a police report. Police officers are notorious for writing in a stodgy, dry style, in part due to the...

Word Choice: Personal Pronouns

Using pronouns in the place of proper and common nouns can tie your writing together, but be careful to use the correct pronoun form for the structure of your sentence.

Know your audience – presentation skills

Presentation skills culture varies widely from industry to industry, organization to organization. In the absence of specific guidelines or expectations use our concrete guidelines to design and give great presentations. If possible, review examples of previous presentations given at your organization and adjust accordingly.

Elegantly Include QUOTATIONS In Your Writing

Including quotes in your writing is one of the leading indicators of an accomplished academic writer. There are rules, and they are easy to learn. Once you’ve got them down and you can sprinkle quotes throughout your writing to support your points you’ll be on your way to creating slam-dunk arguments with the ability to persuade any audience.

Quantitative Adjectives

Quantitative adjectives are words that describe the quantity or amount of something. These words are used to give more information about a noun, and they can help us understand how much of something there is. Types of Quantitative Adjectives There are several types of...

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place describe where something happens or is located. They can be used to answer the question "Where?" in a sentence. Here are some common adverbs of place: Here: in or at this place Example: I left my keys here on the table. (Here describes the location of...

Sentence Structure: For and Since

Use “for” and “since” with perfect tenses to talk about the duration of events which began in the past and continue until the reference point. Be careful to use the correct one for what you want to focus on: the length of time or the beginning.



One of the largest challenges to moving from high school writing to more advanced work is the challenge to write something original. This doesn’t mean you have to invent some whole new theory of life, the universe, and everything. Rather, it means you have to make your reader think.

You can’t just regurgitate a bunch of facts from the internet or your class notes. So how do you turn the general idea of “Holden Caulfield is alienated from his community” into something original? Something that hasn’t been written about hundreds of times already?

Read on Macduff…


Using Evidence to Win the Day

After developing an original, argumentative thesis, using evidence well is the key to academic writing. Dirty secret: many readers (yes, including teachers) will forgive grammatical errors if you’ve got a compelling argument, have thought deeply about the right evidence to use, and analyze that evidence.

The two are inseparable, really. If you think deeply about evidence – whether key quotes from the novel you are reading or statistics on the subject of your research paper – chances are an interesting, original angle will dawn on you…


Write with Style

What does it mean to write with style? Particularly in an academic environment?

It doesn’t mean:

  • Using big words
  • Padding your writing to reach word/page minimums
  • Picking the right font

Writing teachers joke that “flow” is the “other four-letter ‘F’ word” because students use it as such a grab bag catch-all…

Writing style is difficult to articulate. If you’ve ever listened to a master comedian parse what makes something funny you’re in the right ball park.

The good news? Style in academic writing has some pretty concrete and, honestly, low barriers to entry.

Research & documentation

MLA, APA, Rules Rules Rules...

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills

Presentation skills are crucial to success in today’s business world. While details change a lot from company to company and culture to culture, many skills are consistent: eye contact, slide design, handling questions.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Get a great gig with a differentiated resume

Fantastic tips and insights on writing modern, relevant resumes from 11trees’ partner Let’s Eat, Grandma – a resume writing and career coaching startup based in Austin, TX.