Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Learning with Computers (1C)

Learning with computers

  • Academic work
    • writing classes
    • other classes
    • HW
      • Online study & practice
        • EnglishCentral
          • video viewing
          • vocabulary study
          • speaking practice
        • PowerWords
          • vocabulary study
      • Writing
        • formal
          • essays
          • reports
        • informal
          • book reviews
          • diary posts
          • movie reviews
      • Reading
      • Typing practice
        • touch-typing
          • typing games
    • Internet research
      • report writing
  • Home computing
    • portables
    • Internet connectivity
  • Office tools
    • Excel
    • Powerpoint
    • Word
  • Advantages
    • convenience
      • file sharing
        • Google Drive
        • YouTube
      • copy and paste operations?
      • email communication
        • Gmail
      • access to information
        • YouTube
    • interpersonal connections
    • entertainment?
  • Disadvantages
    • physical ailments
      • eyesight problems
      • other physical problems
    • difficulties
      • memorization
        • ?
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Learning with Computers (1A)

Learning with computers

  • Advantages
    • academic work
      • HW
        • reports
        • presentations
        • other assignments
          • blogging
      • dictionary work
    • developing job skills
      • learning to use programs
        • office tools
          • email
          • dictionaries
          • spell checkers
      • touch typing
      • Making files
        • presentations
          • graphs
        • spreadsheets
          • information processing
        • word-processing documents
          • reports
    • using the Internet
      • using paperless media
      • getting familiar with useful sites
        • news sites
        • language learning sites
          • English
            • games
            • jokes
            • news programs
          • other languages
      • getting authentic English input
        • YouTube
      • translating
        • phrases
          • E to J
          • J to E
  • Equipment
    • portable devices
      • working anywhere
    • storage capcity
      • local storage
        • personal information
      • remote storage
        • security systems
  • Disadvantages
    • developing dependencies
      • electrical power
      • mediated communication
    • minimal physical activity
      • developing physical ailments
        • eye problems
          • eye fatigue
          • bleary vision
        • back problems
        • neck problems
        • shoulder problems
        • (obesity)
    • time requirements
      • information overload
  • Coping strategies
    • using solar power sources
    • avoiding physical ailments from extended use of computers
    • other solutions to problems related to using computers
[208 words]

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Check out the eBooks @ KGU!

The link below is from the KGU Library site, eJournal[s]/eBook[s] page. It's supposed to point to EBSCO Host listings of a number of Macmillan LanguageHouse ebooks in the university library, 63 as of Oct. 2013 (KGU Library, 電子ジャーナル/電子ブック, 電子ブック).
However, Mr. T. informed me that "you have to be on our wireless or be using a computer hooked up to the KGU network" (personal correspondence, 2013.11.15). So the next time you're there, I suggest that you check it out.

If you find there are more ebooks (from more publishers) on the EBSCO host list, please post a comment to let everyone know how many (and which publishers) are currently listed.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

European etymology maps of common words

These cool maps show how words for nine common items (apple, bear, church, ...) vary across Europe. Thanks to Michael Kelley for pointing them out and providing brief explanations (These Fascinating Maps Show The Origin Of Words We Use All The Time, Business Insider, 2013.11.05).

Source: Europe etymology maps 1 by /u/Bezbojnicul (c. 2013.11.01)

[55 words]

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Flying Kittens vs. Flying Puppies (Slow Motion Battle)

Who has got the best moves – the pussy cats or puppy dogs? Check 'em out!


Winn, Scott (Producer & Director). (2013). Flying Kittens vs. Flying Puppies (Slow Motion Battle) [YouTube video]. United States: ScottDW.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Making Memorable Presentations

Taylor "Forget Me Not" Portrait Snuff Box

In that [Official SlideShare Blog] post,  provided "a few simple tips to make your [presentation] content more memorable" (2013.08.26).

Photo courtesy of the
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Design 101 for Educators: 5 Simple Typography Tips (CranfordTeague, 2013)

It's high time to return to blogging after an extended summer recess. To get rolling on this blog again, I'd like to point out an Edutopia post in which Jason CranfordTeague (2013.08.13) provided page design tips that may serve students as well as educators:
CranfordTeague focused on font styles as a typographical equivalent to voice, as well as on simplicity, contrast, column width, and my overall favorite–space. As I often tell students, and as a reminder to all who read this blog, "White space is golden!"

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prep. for exams in §§ 1A § 1C

At the end of class yesterday (July 10), one of your classmates asked what she could do to prepare for the exam on July 24. 

I told her, as I had told students who had asked earlier (about early exams for students heading overseas) that some previous exam items are accessible online in my Slideshare presentation library, which in turn is accessible from a gadget in the Writing Studio Blog (WSBlog) sidebar. That gadget, which is quite a ways down the WSBlog sidebar (currently on the right), looks like this:
All of you are welcome to review previous test items on Slideshare, as well as your predecessors' responses to them on the Writing Studio Blog. Please keep in mind, however, that:
  1. Not all previous exams are in that library;
  2. New exam items _will_ be different; and
  3. Exam formats may vary.
To find out more about previous exams in Writing III (and IV), it also would be a good idea to speak with your predecessors in person. Then I suggest that you share what you learn from them, and prepare jointly for exams with classmates or peers in §§ 1A or 1C. To get started, please tell your classmates and peers about this post!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Practically Perfect Predecessors' Portfolios

As part of preparation for creating your own portfolios, I'd like to ask you to do the following. Please:
  1. View the slides in the presentation embedded below, 
  2. Follow the instructions on slides two and three, and 
  3. Review the portfolios that you find through the links on slide four. 
Then please return to this post, and add a comment about which of your predecessors's portfolios you think is the best from each section (1A and 1C), and why you think so.

Thank you in advance for you cooperation.

[90 words]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Essay Topics: Preferences or Proposals

Please review the topics listed on the Writing Studio Wiki. They are on a page linked to section 1.5, Major class assignments. While you're there, please also review the Mail protocol section (§10),

Then, in a comment on this post, either:
  1. Express a preference for one (1) that you'd like to write about, or
  2. Propose another entirely different topic.

If you would like to write about one of the topics on the wiki, please explain in your comment why you would like to write write about it.

If you would like to propose a different topic, please explain in your comment why it would be a good topic for everyone to write about.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Writing Tips from Kasanoff (2013)

In the short slideshow below, Kasanoff focuses on five tips for improving writing (2013, June 4 [Slideshare]). He introduces and explains the tips in a separate post (2013, June 4 [LinkedIn]) in which he embedded the slideshow.

What other tips can you think of? Please feel free to share them in comments on this post.


Kasanoff, Bruce. (2013, June 4). Five writing tips that can double your salary [LinkedIn post]. Retrieved from

Kasanoff, Bruce. (2013, June 4). Five writing tips that can double your salary [Slideshare presentation]. Retrieved from

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tip Top Tip from Mike Lambert

Mike Lambert, the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Your Education Research Project (Lambert, 2012), has published ten tips in a paper on the site (Lambert, 2013). One of my favorites is number nine.

Tip 9: Use paragraphs

A paragraph is a section of text, usually dealing with a single theme and [usually] indicated by a line space above and below . . . . The use of paragraphs is an important way of structuring writing and making ideas understandable for your reader[s]. Here are some basic rules for using paragraphs in academic writing:

  • A paragraph always has more than one sentence[;]
  • A paragraph is never more than one page long[; and]
  • The first or last sentence of a paragraph is often a summary of the paragraph as a whole.

. . .

Lambert concludes that section of his paper with a brilliant suggestion for beginning writers: "Look at academic books and research articles to see how others use paragraphs to make the structure of their writing clear."


Lambert, Mike. (2012). A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Your Education Research Project. London, England: Sage Publications.

Lambert, Mike. (2013, April [n.d.]). Top Tips for Writing Up Your Education Research Project. Retrieved from

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tech tips from David Pogue

Here are a few tips to make working with technology easier and quicker.
Which tips do you find memorable and useful? What others do you suggest? You can let us know in comments.

If you find Pogue's delivery speed a bit challenging, subtitles and a complete transcript are available on the TED site: David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips (Filmed Feb. 2013, Posted April 2013).

[66 words]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ezine Article about Essay Writing (Bomfoco, 2007)

The purpose of this post is two-fold, namely to:

  1. Point out an article about essay writing for you to peruse (Bomfoco, 2007), and 
  2. Provide an example of an APA-style reference citation for a Nonperiodical Web Document, Web Page, or Report (Purdue OWL, Reference List: Electronic Sources (Web Publications), 2012).

You can find the article by opening the link in the reference below. The yellow backgrounds in the reference citation highlight extra information I've included that is beyond APA recommendations.


Bomfoco, Marco A. (2007, May 2). Essay writing technique - 7 simple steps. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Start-Up Labels (2013)

This post is a derivation from a previous post on the Writing Studio Blog, Start-up labels (2012), April 22, 2012.

Here are labels that you will need to use for required posts on your blogs:

  • books, brainstorms, drafts, essay prep., essays, fiction, free-writing, graphics, links, media, mind-maps, movies, non-fiction, outlines, quickposts, references, reviews, revisions, typing, websites (20)

For example, on book reviews, you will need to use at least four (4) labels, including:

  • books, references, reviews, ... (all comma-spaced values [CSVs]); plus:
    • fiction, OR
    • non-fiction.

The label "references," and the minimum number "four (4)" for book reviews (above), are new for 1st semester this year. All book review posts will need APA-style references, for which your instructor will provide models and templates, from 1st semester onward.

Please feel free to use other suitable labels, as well. For example, genre labels like "adventure," "biography," or "history" (one or another, without quotation marks) are welcome. That is, as long as they reflect the content of individual book review posts.
For details on how to use other required labels, please see Sheet 1 in the Labels and Links page on the Writing Studio Blog.

Now, to jump-start your labels collections, please:

  1. Copy and paste the 20 labels in the first list above into a new draft post on your own blog;
  2. Entitle the new draft post, "My Start-Up Labels" (in title case, without quotation marks);
  3. Copy and paste the labels in the list above into the Labels field on the draft start-up labels post;
  4. Publish the start-up labels post on your blog; and then
  5. Add a labels gadget to the sidebar of your blog.
Note: At present, the maximum number of labels that you can put on a post is twenty (20).

Once you've published your start-up labels posts, with 20 labels in the label field as well as in the body of the posts, the labels will show up in your Labels gadget. Then, when you compose new posts, you will be able to choose appropriate labels for required posts, rather than having to type them in by hand.

[357 words]

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mind-maps for Essays 1-01a: Letters to Host Families

Here are collective mind-maps from two classes today, showing related topics in connected branches of each diagram. Though many of the topics in the two mind-maps are the same or similar, there are topics or sub-topics and examples in each that differ.

Please note that the organization of elements on various branches is flexible. So is the order of presentation in general, though self-introductions came first, and were most detailed, in both maps. You should feel free to borrow and elaborate ideas and organizational schemes from both as you revise your letters to host families for Essays 1-01a.

Mind-map from §1C
Mind-map from §1A
[105 words]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grammar section of Course Links grows

Thanks to tips from a number of students who took part in Mr. W's class last year, the grammar section of the Course Links link list in the sidebar of the Writing Studio Blog has doubled in length. I've added a link to the home page (index) of the Grammar-Quizzes site, along with a deep link to a FANBOYS page there.

I found those pages after reading students' raves about learning to write paragraphs and theme posts using the connecting words (coordinators) from which the mnemonic FANBOYS comes:
    Screenshot only (no active links)
  • For,
  • And,
  • Nor,
  • But,
  • Or, 
  • Yet, and 
  • So.
If you know of any other useful websites for learning how to use grammar in writing, please feel free to point them out in comments on this post.

[127 words]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"If You Don't Try, You Never Know" (Ding Ding).

Talk about inspiration for additional language learners: "Growing up in China, all I did was study, study, study. I'd never done anything so outrageous, yet so rewarding" (TEDxTalks, If You Don't Try..., published Mar 5, 2013; 5:14+). Look at her now!

[48 words]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Did you ever wonder about ...

... the difference between Holland and the Netherlands? Well, this high-paced geography lesson covers not only differences between ... [two] Hollands [N. & S.] and the Netherlands, but also similarities among them ana other far-flung reaches of the world.

[38 words]

Monday, March 11, 2013

Text Correction in Google Docs

The five-minute video that I've embedded below shows how to use text correction tools in Google Docs. As I mentioned in a previous post, auto-correction functions can help you tidy up texts that you've typed quickly, as you do for typing homework assignments (Using Correction Tools after Typing Trials, March 7, 2013).

Instead of a typed text, for this demonstration, I've started correcting a short passage generated from a graphic by Google's optical character reading (OCR) technology. Yet, as the screenshot below the video indicates, the correction tools don't work perfectly.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Even after five minutes treatment with Google correction tools, a number of errors remained, some still marked by Google (dotted red underscores), but without suitable suggestions for auto-correction. There were others not spotted by Google at all. The latter I highlighted by hand either during the demonstration (yellow backgrounds) or afterwards (blue backgrounds). Those still needed hands-on checking and correction.

To make a long story short, after complete correction, and prettied up a bit for a block quotation, it looks like this:
... A fault line runs through the disciplines concerning culture. On one side are disciplines like history or cultural anthropology, rooted in a historicist logic of seeking local regularities within a bounded milieu. On the other are disciplines like economics, driven by a functionalist logic of seeking transhistorical generalizations. Organizational behavior involves both of these logics.... Yet, the emic and etic perspectives each provide only half of the story. ... / ... [A] richer account of culture can result when an integrative explanatory framework arises. 
(Morris, Leung, Ames, & Lickel, 1999, p. 790)

In retrospect, there seem to have been a number of OCR-generated errors in the passage, for example the two "cx" strings remaining in the second to last line of the first paragraph (one stand alone, and the other in the middle of an underscored word). I had corrected another instance of "cx" to "a" while making the video. If I had used the "Select all matching text" option the first time, I might have been able to correct all three at once.

The string "ol" appears to be another such OCR error, a misreading the word "of", as do the "lo" string, a misreading the word "to", and OCR-generated periods instead of commas (¶1, lines 2 and 7; and ¶2, line 1). For that particular typeface and layout (serif, with full-justification, in the original), Google seemed to have had trouble with commas, and with the letters a, f, and t.

Once you begin to recognize recurring errors, in your typing as well as in optical character read texts, it is possible to use the Find and replace function (Edit menu) to correct numerous errors at once.

For instance, the search shown above would:
  • Seek " ol " – with single spaces before and after the letters, to find only stand-alone instances of "ol" – not words like alcohol, oligarchy, or polyphenol; and 
  • Replace " ol " with " of " – similarly spaced.
If there are any hits on those search term[s], the buttons across the bottom of the dialog box will become active, and have dark lettered labels.

That fine-tuned search might be a safe bet for the Replace all function (circled in orange, but still grayed out, above). However, if you're not absolutely certain that your search and replacement terms are exact, it will be better to review and replace search strings one at a time using the Next, or Previous, and Replace buttons.


Morris, Michael W.; Leung, Kwok; Ames, Daniel; & Lickel, Brian. (1999). Views from inside and outside: Integrating emic and etic insights about culture and justice judgement. The Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 781-796. Retrieved November 15, 2012, from

[609 words]

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Using Correction Tools after Typing Trials

In the screenshot below, Mr. T. captured a stop-action view of Yukie's first typing trial, on the topic Self introduction. He was viewing a word-processing document with the grammar- and spell-checking tools on (activated). You can tell that the checking tools are on because there are squiggly green and red underlines visible under a number of words. Those are words that the word-processing program either: a) didn't recognize as correctly spelled words (generally red), or b) thought – if a program can think – were inaccurate (generally green).

Let me pause here for a moment to explain, and emphasize, that all of those underlined words appearing in a timed (five minute) typing trial are not a major concern, especially now, at the beginning of this writing course. This is simply a point of departure. Not only can you well expect to type more words in five minutes as the year progresses, but you also may find that you mistype fewer words, too, as you learn to both spell and type in English.

Even if you notice capitalization, punctuation, or spelling mistakes while typing, it's better not to go back and make corrections during timed trials. You should do that when you've finished each trial, both with computerized tools and without.

However, after churning out a certain number of words, it is important to clear up as many of those underlined passages as possible, before transferring them to new posts on your blogs. Mr. T. took the screenshot below to show Yukie how the checking tools work in a word-processing program, when they are turned on. This post explains a bit about how they work.

Mr. T. had just clicked on the word "my" that I've circled in red on the screenshot below, and emphasized with a pointing finger like one he may have seen just before clicking on that word ("my", line 4). Clicking on that word had opened a short, pop-open menu offering three basic choices for a point the program thinks of as a grammatical problem (capitalization):

  1. Change it to "My;"
  2. Ignore it (from now on); or
  3. Correct it yourself, which opens a dialog box for retyping.

In this case, the first choice is the best one. Capitalizing the first letters of words at the beginning of sentences in the passage that Yukie typed will clear up most, if not all, of the squiggly green markings, and some of the red ones as well, for example: "I'm . . . " (line 3).

Peoples names, like Yukie, and place names, like Kumamoto, also call for capitalization, but even if you capitalize those names, the word-processing program still may not recognize them. So, once you're certain that you've capitalized and spelled such names correctly, you may need to select Ignore from the menu of choices that the word-processor checking tools propose.

Let me draw to a close here with a couple of reminders regarding both word-processor and web-based grammar- and spell-checking tools, including those built into your blogs:

  1. You shouldn't count on those tools to catch every error or inaccuracy in your work; and
  2. They may flag words or passages that the programs don't recognize, but aren't necessarily incorrect.

Nevertheless, timely and regular use of those tools can help you improve your English, and should make your blog posts easier to read and understand. Finally, if in doubt about a particular point that may need correction, ask about it!


It is a pleasure to acknowledge contributions to this post from:

  • Yukie, who graciously agreed to let me share a representation of her early work in this writing course on the Writing Studio Blog;
  • Mr. T., who quickly captured an image of that typing sample before corrections occurred, and passed it along to me (personal correspondence, March 4, 2013 7:02:36 PM GMT+09:00), and who also provided additional suggestions on a draft for this post; and, last but not least,
  • gkrock, who shared the pointing finger graphic on the piq pixel art site, under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

[669 words]

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bruno's Little Dancers

Check 'em out!

TED Talks are among my favorites sources of inspiration. Not that this particular video has much of a transcript, but if you watch other videos on the TED website, you can read along, jump ahead, and review, all with the help of complete and interactive transcripts in various languages there.

[55  words]

Friday, March 1, 2013

Examples of Quotations and Ellipses

In this post, there are examples of quotations from an article on a website, and from a report published online in portable document format (PDF). Some longer examples include ellipses, or removals of words. There are short references in parentheses in the body of this post, and complete references at the end to point out the sources of the quotations.

Quotation within a quotation

In the passage below that I've quoted from the article on a website, Clark (2012) had quoted parts of the report (EF English First [EF], 2012). I've highlighted in yellow the parts of the report that Clark had quoted, both in my quotation from the website (below) and in another quotation from the original report (farther below).

". . . English will maintain and grow its dominance, moving from 'a marker of the elite' in years past to 'a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, in the same way that literacy has been transformed in the last two centuries from an elite privilege into a basic requirement for informed citizenship'" (Clark, 2012, ¶1, after EF, 2012).

Please note that Clark had combined phrases from two sentences in the original report into a single sentence structure of her own. The ellipsis, three spaced periods (". . . "), at the beginning of my quotation from the website (above) shows where I've shortened Clark's sentence.

However, I have replaced double quotation marks that were in the passage from Clark's article above with single quotations to show the beginnings and ends of Clark's quotations within my quotation (above). Replacing double quotation marks with single quotation marks indicates quotations within quotations.

  • Double quotation marks show the beginnings and ends of my quotations from the webiste (above) and from the report itself (below).
  • Single quotation marks within the double quotation marks above show the beginnings and ends of the parts of the original report that Clark had quoted.

Long quotation of the original

In the following quotation of the original passage from the EF report, and in the quotations with ellipses below that, please note that there are only double quotation marks.

"Today English proficiency can hardly be thought of as an economic advantage at all. It is certainly no longer a marker of the elite. Instead it is increasingly becoming a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, in the same way that literacy has been transformed in the last two centuries from an elite privilege into a basic requirement for informed citizenship" (EF, 2012, p. 12).

Original with ellipses

In both of the shortened quotations below, please note that ellipsis still shows where I've cut words out, and that I've shortened the quotations in ways that preserve grammatical units. Please also note that square brackets show where I've added words for clarification.

"Today English proficiency . . . is certainly no longer a marker of the elite. Instead it is increasingly becoming a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, . . . [and] a basic requirement for informed citizenship" (EF, 2012, p. 12).

"Today English proficiency . . . is increasingly becoming a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, . . . [and] a basic requirement for informed citizenship" (EF, 2012, p. 12).

Bits of the original recontextualized

In a message for prospective students that I prepared yesterday, I shared EF's assertions that English is not only "a basic skill needed for the entire workforce," but also "a basic requirement for informed citizenship" (EF, 2012, p. 12).


Clark, Dorie. (2012). English - The Language of Global Business? Retrieved February 28, 2012, from

EF Education First [EF]. (2012). EF English Proficiency Index 2012 [PDF]. [n.p.]: EF Education First. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from

[625 words]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KGUW_3-4_12-13_1C: Advice from §1C

Advice for students
taking Writing III and IV
next year (2013-14)

In comments on this post, students who have taken part in Writing IV, section 1C, are to provide advice based on their experience this year, for the benefit of their successors next year. The presentation below outlines the short essay writing task calling for the former to prepare, compose, and post their advice for the latter.

[69 words]

KGUW_3-4_12-13_1A: Advice from §1A

Advice for students
taking Writing III and IV
next year (2013-14)

In comments on this post, students who have taken part in Writing IV, section 1A, are to provide advice based on their experience this year, for the benefit of their successors next year. The presentation below outlines the short essay writing task calling for the former to prepare, compose, and post their advice for the latter.

[69 words]

Friday, January 25, 2013

Grammarist: resource site for writers

Though plain in appearance, the Grammarist site looks like a rich source of information for writers – on everything from punctuation and spelling to style. The site sports six categories: usage, words and phrases, spelling, grammar, style, and writing (sidebar, left).

There are numerous avenues into the site, in addition to previews of recent posts displayed 10 at a time in the main column. It has an alphabetical index (top left), as well as a glossary (lower left). "The date on each post reflects either the date that post was first published or the date of its last major revision" (About Grammarist: Colophon, ¶3, retrieved 2013.01.25). Colored tags next to previews of posts indicate to which category each post belongs.
[121 words]

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Advice on clarity and use of transitions from ULiveandLearn (2012)

Here's a snippet from a wiki for another course, pointing out a resource for business writing:
In ... [Effective Business Writing – Flow and Format (ULiveandLearn, 2012)], ... [the] editors suggest "[e]liminating wordiness ... [to] make your writing clear and direct" (¶1), as well as using "transitions ... to show the logical relationship between ideas" (¶3), especially in business writing. ... [That blog] post provides an example paragraph, along with lists of transitions for showing relationships such as additions, causes and effects, and contrasts.
(English V-VI,  ACTIVEBk1_2ndEdition2007,
Unit 05: Our Modern Lifestyle)

You can find other resources related to the use of transitions in writing, in that section of the English V-VI course wiki.


ULiveandLearn. (2012.12.27). Effective Business Writing – Flow and Format. Retrieved December 31, 2012, from

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