Minor English: Grammar and Writing 1

Course code:
Period 1
Language of tuition:
Faculty of Humanities
dr. G.A. Dreschler
dr. G.A. Dreschler
dr. C.A.M. de Jong
dr. G.A. Dreschler
drs. I.M.W. 't Hart MPhil
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Seminar, Instruction course, Study Group

Course objective

After successfully completing this course you will have knowledge of and
insight into the language which typifies academic writing in English and
into English requirements of text structure, as well as into how these
aspects are different from other languages, most importantly Dutch. You
have knowledge of and insight into the most important aspects of English
grammar, particularly those which typically cause students problems when
writing formal English.

You will also be able to write a well-structured English text in a
formal style about a subject related to your own study programme, free
of serious lexical and grammatical error which would have an adverse
effect on the readability of the text. In terms of the Common European
Framework of Reference [CEFR], successful completion of this course will
bring you to level B2 in terms of communicative competence and B2i in
terms of grammatical accuracy and vocabulary control. You will have
greater insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your English
writing skills, and knowledge of how to further develop your strengths
and reduce your weaknesses.

Course content

The course consists of a writing and a grammar component. In the writing
component of the course the emphasis is on (a) identifying the paragraph
structures, sentence structures and kind of language used across a range
of academic texts in all kinds of disciplines, and (b) getting to grips
with the basic problems involved in writing good, formal English (e.g.
differences between English and Dutch/other languages, the essentials of
punctuation, formal style). The grammar component consists of a
practical introduction to basic aspects of the grammar of contemporary
English, with special attention for the problems that students typically
have when writing formal English.

Form of tuition

For the writing component: 1 hr per week lecture; 2 hrs per week
For the grammar component: 1 hr per week lecture; 2 hrs per week

Type of assessment

(i) a text of 1000-1200 words on a subject related to the student's own
discipline (50%); (ii) a multiple choice computer test on grammar (50%).
In order to pass the course, you need a 5.5 minimum for each component.

Course reading

Hannay, M. & J.L. Mackenzie (2009). Effective Writing in English. 2nd
edition. Bussum: Coutinho.
Mackenzie, J.L. (2014). Principles and pitfalls of English grammar.
Third edition. Bussum: Coutinho.
Additional materials will be made available on Canvas.

Entry requirements

At least one year of university study, including experience in writing
academic text; premaster students may also follow this course as long as
they have completed an academic skills course.

Target audience

Bachelor students across the university who want to improve their
written English in an academic context; the course is not open for
students who have done academic English in their academic core. The
course is part of the [Minor Engels/Minor in English] but can also be
followed separately.


Attendance is obligatory (80% minimum). If you miss more classes, you
may still be allowed to finish the course if you submit an alternative
assignment, but only if you’ve attended 70% of the classes.

Note that this is an English writing course rather than simply a writing
skills course. The
assumption is that participants have already successfully completed an
academic skills course in their first two years of university study.

© Copyright VU University Amsterdam
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