The Challenge of Using Prepositions

Grammar Hour topic: Prepositions Prepositions are one of the hardest concepts for English language learners because there are no hard and fast rules about how prepositions can be used across the board. Most rules are specific to one or two words, and often, there are multiple prepositions that you can use with one word, but each […]

Old Stuff Bring Me New Challenge

by Shirley Yang I look up the clock on the wall. Oh, My God! It’s almost 1am in the morning and I am still preparing for the tomorrow’s history mid-term exam. It covers severn chapters from colonial period to Civil War. I have to say I am not good at historical date, figures and events. […]

The difference between my first and second semester at JMU

By Talat Altayyar The difference between my first and second semester at JMU My first semester at JMU wasn’t an easy semester for me. As an international student who has English is his second language, it was really hard the shifted between being a student in an English school to an academic student at JMU. […]

Reflection on Recent English Conversation Club

by Shirley Yang Because of the mid-term pressure, we have noticed some of the students are too busy to join our conversation. However, there are students still coming here consistently talking about their study, exam and daily life. During our recent conversation, I have noticed a few of interesting topics so I am gonna list […]

Writing about writing, in community.

By Kristen Shrewsbury Shirley and Talat are back in my office, clicking away on their laptops, processing their thoughts in written English. I love this sound. I love the feeling this evokes in me, the communal effort toward individual creations. We all write what we want, how we want. We write what’s on our minds, […]

Diagnose Your Grammar Skills!

This past Friday, during Grammar Hour, we took a grammar diagnostic test from the Oxford Practice Grammar program. This type of test is designed to help you determine which grammar concepts cause you trouble, and which concepts you have mastered. We will use the results from the students who took the diagnostic last week to select […]

Whose, Where, When and Which in Complex Sentences

Grammar Hour topic: Forming complex sentences using adjective clauses Here is an example of using an adjective clause in a complex sentence: “I am friends with the people who live across the hall from me.” These clauses serve to modify the sentence to add a description. Typical adjective clauses use words like “whose,” “where,” “when,” “which” […]

Why Are You So Tense?

Grammar Hour topic: Perfect vs. Simple tense Knowing when to use a simple tense (I went to the store) or a perfect tense (I had been to the store) can be complicated. But, there are a few simple rules you can follow to keep things straight! Generally, simple tenses describe one event in at one […]

Using American Slang

This week in English Conversation Club, we learned a whole bunch of American slang! We thought it would be fun for everyone to discuss some of the phrases in English that might be slightly obscure or hard to understand. So, Shirley and Lani made a list of slang words and phrases we knew or had heard […]

A New Semester of English Conversation Club

Last Wednesday was the first session of English Conversation Club this year. Since José graduated, the program is under new management. Lani Furbank, the ELLS peer educator, and Shirley Yang, the ELLS international student liaison, are excited to be leading the group through another semester of great conversation. Here are their thoughts on the program so far: […]