Week 6: ESL Writing Lessons

This is week six of the university semester. On Friday we will have our first quiz. Two weeks later, we will have the mid term exam.


Here are a few comments on the student writing. The writing was good. It is getting better.

I thought the stories about the foolish man were generally good. That was a hard writing exercise because you had to make a story with the information that was collected from questions and answers.

Here are some general comments.

1. Please, remember to use past tense.

2. When talking about the message on a sign or a piece of paper, you can write something like this:

  • The note said, “There is no money here.”
  • The sign said, “No parking.”
  • His letter said, “Come to my office at 8pm.”

3. When talking about time in a story, you can say “One day” (not Some day)

4. Still some problems with pronouns. (e.g. Cats are easy to take care of because they clean itself.)


Here are a few comments about the paragraph you wrote about the medical clinic.


Look at these questions. How is the meaning different in each question?

  1. What does your best friend like?
  2. What is your best friend like?
  3. What does your best friend look like?

They are three different questions.

  1. LIKE as a verb.
  2. TO BE LIKE asks about general information about something or someone.
  3. LOOK LIKE talks about physical appearance.


  1. She is a doctor. She likes to help people.
  2. I think she is a kind doctor because she smiles when she helps patients.
  3. A girls looks like she has an earache because she is holding rubbing her left ear.

Here is the conclusion. To make your writing clearer and more interesting think about these three questions:

  1. What does the person (e.g. me, the doctor, the patient, etc.) like?
  2. What is it like?
  3. What does it look like? e.g. (It’s a busy clinic filled with many sick patients waiting to see a doctor.)


  1. take medicine (not eat)
  2. feel pain
  3. the broken leg is painful
  4. she hurt her knee (not hurted)


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