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Grammar, Vocabulary, and Citation Workshops

We offer workshops during the semester to address important issues related to writing for international students, as well as grammar, citation, and other topics. Please note that workshops are open to international and IELP students only unless otherwise specified.  All workshops will be held in room 201D in the Writing Center. Students interested in participating in the workshops should complete the Workshop Registration form up to two weeks in advance. For a list of current workshops, please see our workshops flyer.

You can also sign up to get bimonthly reminders about upcoming workshops through our listserv. To join, please email Liz at

If you’re a faculty or staff member and you’d like to schedule a workshop for English language learners in a particular group or class, please complete the In-Class Workshop Request form. If you have questions about in-class workshops, please contact Liz at

Below is a list of the workshops that are offered by the Writing Center for international students. These workshops cover not only writing, but topics related to reading, listening, and speaking. Instructors may request these workshops to be held in-class or in-center. All workshops are one hour long unless otherwise stated, and can be combined with other workshops. For customized workshop requests, email Liz at

Graduate Student Workshops

Research Methodologies

This two-hour workshop is an overview on the following topics: writing a good research question, conducting a literature review, choosing sources, and how to prepare a dissertation or other research paper for publication.

Publishing in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Abstracts

Students learn how to write an effective and attention-grabbing abstract by using proper sentence structure and cohesion strategies.  This workshop focuses on abstracts for journal articles, conferences, and dissertations. Intended for graduate students only.

Publishing in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Literature Review

A continuation of the abstracts workshop, this workshop offers guidance on polishing a literature review. This workshop is intended for students who have already chosen a research topic and done some preliminary research. Intended for graduate students only.

Writing Workshops (Grad and Undergrad)

Citation Workshop (MLA and APA)

This two-hour workshop explores the rationale behind why and when we use citations, and gives a brief introduction to the MLA and APA citation styles. Students also lean about online tools that can be used for citation, and are introduced to the topic of paraphrasing (which is covered in the follow-up workshop below).

Summarizing and Paraphrasing Technical Texts

In this workshop, students learn about how to properly cite and construct a paraphrase, the pros and cons of using a thesaurus, and receive guided paraphrasing practice. 

Paragraph Flow

A combination of the workshops above, this workshop talks about linking and sentence structure that creates cohesion or “flow” in paragraphs. A basic understanding of paraphrasing and citation is preferred for students who take this workshop.

Word Choice

This workshop covers linking, transitional phrases, and other strategies that help students with appropriate word choice in academic contexts, including how to best use resources such as a thesaurus.

Email Etiquette

Many international students struggle with using correct titles, greetings, and expressions in emails to faculty and administrators.  Students learn the different styles we use in English to email in both formal and informal situations, including salutations, openers, and closers.

Timed Writing Exams

This hour-long workshop will provide strategies for how to excel at timed writing assignments, especially in the context of a final exam.  Students learn about time management, pre-writing strategies, and study tips. 

Metaphor Madness

How can we use metaphorical language in our writing? How can we recognize metaphors in course readings? We’ll look at a few text excerpts and interpret the language in each one, then attempt to use our own metaphors in a brief writing exercise. This workshop also teaches students to identify and distinguish metaphors from similes, personification, puns, and hyperbole.

Resume and Cover Letter Writing Language

This two-hour workshop focuses on organization, format, and word choice in resumes and/or CVs, as well as pointers for how to construct a cover letter. This workshop was originally designed for seniors or graduate students, but can also be optimized for specific classes or programs.

Grammar Workshops (Grad and Undergrad)

Grammar Refreshers

These one-hour workshops typically cover a single grammar topic and are meant as review. Guided practice includes identification, rules of usage, error correction, and discussion-based and/or writing exercises. Previous topics have included:

  • Articles Usage
  • Adjective Order
  • Present/past perfect
  • Gerunds
  • Conditionals

Punctuation: Commas and Semicolons

This workshop prompts students to discuss the process of writing a research paper and writing personal reflections, essays, or even personal statements. Students will identify differences related to the use of citation, literature reviews, and stylistic variations related to structure and word choice. Students discuss the types of papers they might be asked to write, as well as differences in word choice and point of view.

Prepositions in Academic Writing

Prepositions are one of the most often-requested workshop topics among international students, and are frequently cited as a source of frustration in writing assignments. In this workshop, international students learn the following:

  • The difference between a preposition and a phrasal verb
  • Prepositions of process (by, through, via)
  • Prepositions of sharing, giving and receiving (to, from, with)
  • Prepositions after adjectives (of, to, with, at)
  • A guided exercise in using prepositions for academic writing

Slang and Idioms Workshops

 This one-hour workshop covers a range of fun, commonly used idioms and slang that students might encounter both in and outside the classroom. The selected vocabulary differs from semester to semester, but is intended to offer students an introduction to slang and idioms, as well as an understanding of when we use it in written and spoken contexts, including text, email, chat, and conversation.

We also offer in-center pronunciation workshops and an introduction to homonyms. Students can register on our website or email Liz at