Quick Links

Looking for one-on-one help? Reserve a consultation session.

Non-native Speaker? The Writing Center hosts a workshop series on grammar and English language usage. For one-on-one weekly tutorials, refer to the English Language Programs

Writing Workshops

Fall 2018

Fall 2018 Grammar Workshop Schedule (SIGN UP ABOVE or HERE)

Introduction to Grammar: Parts of Speech and Terminology

Our first session will focus on the fundamentals of grammar: the language we use to talk about language. Knowing how to classify words helps us use them, so we'll be referring to this terminology all semester.

Sentence Structure: What Makes a Complete Sentence? 

After classifying words in the first session, this week we'll classify parts of sentences. We'll talk about independent and dependent clauses, sentence patterns, and how to avoid fragments and run-ons.

General Punctuation 1: Commas and Apostrophes 

Ever heard of a comma splice, shared possession, or the interrupter rule? In our first general punctuation workshop, we'll make these terms less frightening and look closely at how to use commas and apostrophes. Articles (a, an, and the) will also make an appearance!

General Punctuation 2: Semicolons, Colons, and Parentheses 

Continuing our focus on general punctuation, in this session, we'll master semicolons, colons, and parentheses. We'll also go over more rarely used punctuation like hyphens, brackets, and ellipses. These two workshops will help you be comfortable and confident when punctuating your sentences.

Word Choice and Verbs 

Verbs are a fundamental part of communicating, and knowing which tense will best convey your meaning can be tricky. In this workshop, we'll break down verb tenses. We'll also talk about how to declutter your writing by choosing "strong" words.

Active and Passive Voice 

Many students have been taught to avoid using the passive voice at all costs, but following this rule doesn't always make an essay better. In this workshop, we'll learn when it's appropriate to use the active voice and when it's appropriate to use the passive. We'll also talk about overall tone and different levels of formality.


Transitions are the joints that both hold an essay together and let it move. To learn how transitions work, we'll look at "signal" words and talk about how to structure your essay so one idea leads to the next. We'll also learn about and and but, the conjunctions we use for transitions within a sentence.

Increasing Sentence Variety: Compound and Complex Sentences 

Part of writing well is keeping the reader engaged - no one wants to read the same type of sentence over and over! In this session, we'll learn how you can take your writing to the next level by changing up the sentence structures in your essay.

Quoting Effectively 

This workshop will address everything related to quotations: from where to put quotation marks to block quotes to the "literary present." We'll also talk about paraphrasing and how to make sure we give credit where it's due.

Grammar for Presentations and Final Papers 

For our final workshop of the semester, we'll talk about grammar in presentations: how to use your PowerPoint most effectively, levels of formality, and more. We'll learn how to make the most of final edits, then there will be a longer Q&A time than usual to address specific concerns with final papers.


Class Visits

If you would like a Writing Center consultant to personally introduce our services to your students, please email Courtney Pina Miller and Brenden O'Donnell, Writing Center Co-Directors, at writingcenter@brandeis.edu.

We would be happy to visit your class and help your students get the most out of their time at the Writing Center.