With generous support from the CLA Student Technology Fee Committee, the Center for Writing is developing resources to support the needs of multilingual writers.
We believe these tools will be valuable for all writers—and instructors who teach with writing—at the University of Minnesota, but we have focused here on some of the greatest challenges multilingual writers face when learning American academic English.
Everybody writes. We'll help you you get better at it.
Link to a higher-quality version: This version can be played in full screen and includes a transcript of the audio.
Student Writing Support for Multilingual Writers
Learn about when to use a, an, or the: ARTICLES: Choosing a/an, the, or nothing (Ø) with common nouns (pop-up) Please note: If the audio in the tutorial goes silent, please restart the tutorial.
In this self-study module, you learn more about solving the mysteries of using a, an, and the by reading explanations, examining examples, and completing some exercises. The exercises include some work with your own writing.
- Using articles with proper and common nouns
- Practicing with an undergraduate text
- Practicing with graduate texts
- Practicing with your own text
- Dealing with exceptions
- Getting more information
Using an articles chart with common nouns (PDF)
Articles: Choosing a/an, the, or nothing (Ø) with common nouns (PDF)
Articles: Choosing a/an, the, or nothing (Ø) with proper nouns (PDF)
For more quicktips on grammar, style, punctuation, and documenting sources, click on the links on the left.
ESL Consultations—Student English Language Support
The Minnesota English Language Program offers free, face-to-face English as a Second Language support to international undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota.
ESL Resources—College of Continuing Education
This website highlights many forms of support for students, including courses, conversation practice, and one-with-one consultations and services.
Academic Resources for International Students
The aim of this online guide is to help students, staff, instructors, advisers, faculty, etc., navigate a wide variety of services and support for international students at the University of Minnesota.
Google It Up! A Tutorial on Selecting Just the Right Phrase
Former Student Writing Support writing consultant Juan Diego Fernandez explains a two-part method to use Google searches to test if or confirm that a phrase has a correct structure and is commonly used by speakers of Standard American English (SAE) in writing.
American English for Learners
This learner's dictionary provides thorough definitions for each word, along with parts of speech, sample sentences, and translations into over 20 other languages.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Online
An invaluable resource for learners of English, this dictionary provides information on which words take articles and on what prepositions to use, and it provides several sample phrases and sentences to help writers check usage.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
A dictionary designed specifically for English language learners. Not only are words explained in simpler language, but Longman also includes usage examples, common grammar patterns, and collocations (words that are commonly used together with the word being looked up).
Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary Online
(Type the word or phrase you want to look up into the box "Look It Up" box.) A resource that helps with usage more than with definitions, this dictionary provides users with context for their word choices. To see how this dictionary works best, look up the word “fire,” for example.
English language opportunities at the University of Minnesota, ESL resources in the Twin Cities community, and tips for sharpening language skills
From International Student and Scholar Services, a page of useful links to resources for multilingual writers.
Academic Resources for International Students
A guide to help students, staff, instructors, advisers, faculty, etc. navigate a wide variety of services and support for international students at the University of Minnesota.
Support for international students and non-native English speakers
Part of the Graduate School Writer's Nexus, another page of links to useful resources, mainly at the University of Minnesota.
Valuing Written Accents: International Voices in the U. S. Academy
From the Diversity Research Group at George Mason University, an in-depth look at international students’ experiences writing in English for academic audiences.
Working with Non-Native Speakers
Primarily directed toward writing consultants, this handbook includes valuable information on how to best work with multilingual writers on their writing. Its Verb Tense Chart based on the work of Betty Azar is especially useful.
Formatting a document in Word (in Chinese)
Illustrated instructions on how to format a double-spaced document with 1-inch margins and indented paragraphs using letter-size paper.