25 Reasons to Read William Gibson’s Neuromancer 

For the writers (and readers) out there who have not read (or who have not finished reading) William Gibson’s Neuromancer

NEUROMANCER!   Well, I don’t want to come across as a book snob, but I will say: How can you call yourself a well-read fictionado without having read Neuromancer?  (In classic Lily-style) I can give you at least 25 reasons why Neuromancer is an amazing book, and a must read for anyone delving into the finer points of fiction-writing. Read more of this post

7 Types of Sentence Fragments and How to Use Them

This article is for beginner to advanced native and second-language English speakers and teachers. There are lessons to download, free of copyright.

The Importance of Grammar

Run! by Glenn~ on flickr

As an ESL teacher, I found that my own writing drastically improved once I started teaching grammar to my students–especially the 7 different types of sentence fragments. I had learned English grammar in high-school, but those classes were boring; I had more important things to concentrate on, such as the outfit I was wearing, or how dreamy Cory Haim was in License to Drive. When I started teaching grammar as an ESL teacher, I was actually re-teaching myself, and the most valuable aspect of grammar that I re-learned was the 7 sentence fragments.

Understanding how to use these fragments properly will help you:

  • Write sentences that are grammatically correct, because you will finally understand grammar
  • Write longer sentences
  • Write sentences that have different structures, which is important for rhythm and flow (the musical aspects of language)
  • Use commas properly, because you will finally know where to put them!

I am convinced that most writers–beginner and advanced–need more practice in understanding and using sentence fragments properly, and I hope this lesson will help you learn to write more eloquent and grammatically correct sentences.

Read more of this post

It's Time for Accountable Content on Blogs

Frustration, by Sybren Stuvel on Flickr

Information Overload

We live in what is called the ‘information age’ and the world has been called the ‘Content Nation‘; people are now able to create content at rates that were truly unreachable even 20 years ago, and share that with people on the other side of the world.  It’s amazing–and very overwhelming.  Pete Cashmore (of Mashable) predicted that ‘content curation’–organization and sharing of the ‘best’ content online–would be one of the biggest web trends of 2010. Read more of this post

It’s Time for Accountable Content on Blogs

Frustration, by Sybren Stuvel on Flickr

Information Overload

We live in what is called the ‘information age’ and the world has been called the ‘Content Nation‘; people are now able to create content at rates that were truly unreachable even 20 years ago, and share that with people on the other side of the world.  It’s amazing–and very overwhelming.  Pete Cashmore (of Mashable) predicted that ‘content curation’–organization and sharing of the ‘best’ content online–would be one of the biggest web trends of 2010. Read more of this post

Twitter for Beginners: Exploring your Interests & Making Connections

Learning & trying new things can be intimidating

Oh the Places You'll Go, by Bandita, on Flickr

Late last year, my friend Rebecca, an artist in Vancouver, told me that I needed to join Twitter because it would connect me with all sorts of people who are passionate about the things that I’m passionate about.  I had been a user of Facebook since 2007 and I enjoyed it, but I looked at Twitter as an application for 18 year olds, and ‘online addicts’.

It was around that time that I discovered Alex Samuel–one of BC’s most influential women in 2010–through some research I was doing on social media for work.  Her blog-post “10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for your Online Life” was a breakthrough for me, and it helped me to stop criticizing myself and others for being active online and to view my online life as real, meaningful and empowering. Read more of this post

The single biggest predictor of obesity is low income

This evening I watched the documentary, Food, Inc., which exposes huge flaws in our food system and explains why unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food (see this in-depth post).

Fast Food for Fast Living, by Imaging Dissent, on flickr

Somewhere near the middle of the documentary, they flashed the statement, “the largest predictor of obesity is low income” and it made a lightbulb go on in my head.   Was it true?   I immediately logged onto my university library website and did some research, to confirm if there was actual evidence to support this theory.  There is, and, in fact, there is so much and it is so conclusive that it is disturbing I hadn’t heard of it before (see here for lots of links). Read more of this post

Most frequently used words in English

Did you know that the average person uses only 2000-5000 words on a daily basis?  One of the most important tools I use as an English, ESL & Literacy teacher is a most frequently-used-words list.

It is possible to make countless vocabulary exercises & games from the crucial 2000 most frequently used words, and they are also the key words for learning the long and short vowels & spelling rules, for children grades 2-6, but also for adult English speakers that suffer from lower levels of literacy (80% of Canadians score 3 or lower out of 5 on the literacy scale, see here). Read more of this post