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HACC Tutoring & Testing: English/Writing

English Resources

PREWRITING: This is the first stage of the writing process where you think about what the assignment is and what you plan to write about.

Writing Process Animation [13:12]

"This video describes the writing process involved in creating a good blog (or other writing endeavors, such as an essay). For other work from this artist, see"

Peer Tutor on Prewriting [2:41]

"Peer tutor Becky King of UC-Irvine explains the benefits of prewriting."

WRITING: Once you understand the assignment, you're ready to get your thoughts on paper.


Thesis Help:

How to Write a Thesis Statement [2:49]

"Find yourself stuck when coming up with a good thesis statement? Follow these quick steps from HACC Tutoring Services to write one!"


Introductions Help:

What Not to Do in an Introduction [3:03]

"You probably shouldn't talk about how irrelevant your topic is, or how illogical all your arguments are. Maybe avoid boring your reader to tears as well. But you knew all of that. If you want some useful advice, just click play!"


Body Paragraph Help:

How to Write a Topic Sentence [3:55]

This video gives tips and examples for effective topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph).

Paragraph Structure [4:26]

"In this video, we will discuss the structure and organization of a standard paragraph, as well as the importance of the topic sentence. After the video, students will have an understanding of paragraph structure and be able to write a strong topic sentence."


Transitions Help:


Conclusion Help:

Writing a Killer Conclusion by Shmoop [4:59]

"Conclusions are key. Without them, you feel incomplete, unfinished, lonely. Ok, well maybe that's a little dramatic, but you get the idea. Everything worth telling deserves a conclusion. Don't you agree? For more help check out our essay lab guide:"

REVISING: Getting your thoughts on paper can be messy, so now it's time to go back and polish your work.

Proofreading [6:19]

"In this tutorial we will show you how to proofread a paper."

How to Edit and Improve Essay Content [4:54]

This video helps you edit beyond fixing your grammar and mechanics to really revise your essay content.


Verb Help:


Punctuation Help:

Run-On Sentences and Comma Splices [2:42]

"In this video, we will discuss run-on sentences and comma splices in English. What are they and why are they important to avoid? Students will be shown how to identify this common problem in their own writing and how to correct it." The exercise he mentions can be found HERE.


General Grammar Links

Grammar's Great Divide: The Oxford Comma [3:25]

"If you read "Bob, a DJ and a clown" on a guest list, are three people coming to the party, or only one? That depends on whether you're for or against the Oxford comma -- perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time. When do we use one? Can it really be optional, or is there a universal rule? TED-Ed explores both sides of this comma conundrum."

How to Read Your Textbook Better [2:46]

"Find yourself reading your textbook but not remembering what it said? Read more carefully and create study notes with these quick tips from HACC Tutoring Services!"


5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments - College Info Geek [7:30]

"5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments... plus three books I'm reading, and how I'm applying said strategies."


Textbook Reading Strategies Playlist from Kirkwood Community College

  1. Preview the Text [3:05]: "Preview the Text before reading. Skim and scan the section titles and try to predict the kinds of information the authors are communicating. Take a few minutes to look at all the images, graphs, charts and graphics."
  2. Expand Your Knowledge [1:54]: "Expand your knowledge of the topic before reading the chapter. This is especially important for new material you have never been exposed to before. Search on Google, talk to others, or search YouTube for explanations and introductions to the topic."

  3. Annotate the Text [3:09]: "Throw away your highlighters! Pull our your pens and pencils and post-it notes and write your thoughts in your book as you read. Use a variety of annotations including questions, big ideas, and connections to your own experiences."

  4. Analyze after Reading [1:29]: "After you have read a chapter, take some time to think, talk and write about the major concepts and lingering questions. What has this information changed or confirmed in your mind? Talk to others, ask questions, share your learning, apply your new knowledge in your community."


Annotating Text [7:07]

This video was created by a professor for her students and shows how to meaningfully annotate a text for class.


NOTE: Remember that when it comes to actually doing research and finding sources, your best bet is to get help from the Library, not the Writing Center. We help with actually incorporating that research into your writing (or your speech).

How to Avoid Plagiarism: Part 1 [5:30]

"Ever wonder if you’ve been accidentally plagiarizing? Get on the case with Detective Johansson, and put the finger on the Plagiarized 5."


English Punctuation & Grammar: What is Paraphrasing? [1:01]

"Paraphrasing is when something is rewritten in the reader's own words. Be sure to give credit when paraphrasing with help from a certified tutor in this free video on grammar and the English language."


Class Presentation: Paraphrasing Strategies Part 1 [9:38]

"This video is designed to be used in the classroom, and it covers some basic information about plagiarism and paraphrasing, focusing on note-taking strategies that aid in paraphrasing later.  Accompanying handout:"



Class Presentation: Paraphrasing Strategies Part 2 [12:38]

"This video is designed to be used in the classroom, and it covers some basic information about plagiarism and paraphrasing, focusing on sentence-level paraphrases. Accompanying handout:"


How to Analyze Literature [4:20]

"Have a literary analysis paper coming up? This is one of the trickier types of essays for a lot of college students. Watch this video to learn a strategy for approaching literary analysis and to see an example."


How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step by Step Guide [10:18]

This video gives a more in-depth explanation of how to analyze literature, specifically looking at a very short text ("The Tortoise and the Hare").

7 Quick Tips for Better Business Writing [2:08]

"Quick Tips for Better Business Writing, Limit prepositions when possible. Avoid "very." Watch out for forms of the verb "to be" such as am, are, is, was, were, being, and been. Don't try to impress with jargon or big words. Use exclamation points sparingly. Limit emails to five or fewer sentences. Read it out loud."


Mastering Business Writing & Grammar [PLAYLIST]

"Good writing is one of the most neglected but critical ingredients for business success. Bad writing can compromise the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and risk your relationship with customers, clients and employees. Great writing, however, has the power to not only make an excellent first impression, but to persuade people to listen to you. This course will walk you through everything you need to know in order to improve your advertisements, Facebook and twitter posts, email newsletters, B2B communications, business proposals and much more. It will also address the most common grammatical errors that professionals make, and how to correct them"

Things To Avoid When Learning a Foreign Language [2:50]

"When learning a second language, don't think about home; don't even think about your friends or family. Trace explains why."


5 Tips to Improve Your Writing [12:12]

"Want to become a better writer? In this video, I will share five easy and quick tips that will improve writing in formal and academic settings. If you're in college or university or plan to study overseas, this video is for you!"


How to Increase Your Vocabulary [13:29]

"Here are some great tips for remembering your vocabulary and learning new words. This lesson will show you how to learn more than one new word at a time and how to practice learning and remembering words that will improve all areas of your English quickly."


Reading Comprehension in English [7:06]

"Instructions on how to understand what you read in English. We call this Reading Comprehension."


English 101: Sentence Fragments and Run-on Sentences [5:44]

"Students learn how to identify and correct sentence fragments and run on sentences. For free downloads and quizzes visit:"

How to Use Articles 'a', 'an', and 'the' in English - Basic English Grammar lesson [9:30]

"English articles ("a", "an", and "the") come before nouns. They help to communicate which thing you're talking about, similar to words like "this", "my", and "all". And they're confusing to a lot of English learners.
Articles are really, really hard!
If your native language doesn't use articles, they can be really confusing. The truth is, you might never completely master articles. Most non-native English speakers don't, even know if they're quite fluent and have spoken English for a very long time. That's mostly OK. Mistakes with articles don't usually get in the way of communication. Your listeners or readers will usually be able to figure out what you mean by guessing whether you meant "a thing" or "the thing".
So while you should try to improve your skill with articles, you shouldn't worry much about them. This video lesson by Niharika will clear your basic doubts for using articles correctly."

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iTunes U

iTunes U is a special part of the iTunes Store that provides free course materials like readings, videos, texts, and practice exercises for all kinds of courses. HACC has a strong presence on iTunes U, and you can use some of the resources available there to expand and practice what you're learning in class or to explore new content.

Check it out online today!


HACC provides all students with online tutoring through smarthinking, linked to your myHACC and D2L accounts.