University of Minnesota
student writing support
center for writing

Student Writing Support.Center for Writing's home page.

Especially for multilingual writers


Phrases to Use in Academic and Disciplinary Writing
This website is a resource of phrases that one can use when writing at the university level. For example, what are some ways to write a transition sentence? How do you introduce a series of examples? 

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.

Collins English Dictionary
This learner's dictionary provides thorough definitions for each word, along with parts of speech, sample sentences, and translations into over 20 other languages. Check out its section on English usage, too!

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.

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.

Videos on effective email, professional, and academic writing
From Sheryl Holt, TESoL scholar, instructor in the Department of Writing Studies and the Carlson School of Management, and author of Success with Academic and Scholarly Writing (2004).

Other resources on campus

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.

Additional materials

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.

Verb Tense Chart, based on the work of Betty Azar
Visual representations of verb tenses and their uses. In the chart, the y-axis represents "now," and Xs along the X-axis represent events over time.


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.

Watch our video about Student Writing Support:

Everybody writes. We'll help you you get better at it.


Watch our video about SWS especially for multilingual writers:

Student Writing Support for Multilingual Writers

Watch our videos about learning to write American academic English:

Voices of Minnesota’s Multilingual Writers

Link to multilingual voices page

link to article tutorialLearn 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

thumbnailRelevant quicktips:
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.