ESL Student Resources


Student Resources:

Here you will find information about grammar, mechanics, writing styles and how to properly research information, among other things. For more information or assistance, contact Nancy Bell, head of the ESL Program.

Academic Writing and Reading Strategies:

Distinguishing facts and opinions, finding author viewpoints, considering audience, getting ideas, writing introductions and conclusions.

Critical Reading Exercises – Ideas and tasks to help you learn to read critically.

Reading To Write – Tips to help you read critically and prepare to write about what you read.

Audience – This link will help you think about who you are writing for and what kind of information they will need.

Academic Writing – This is an extensive description of academic writing. It includes exercises in many of the sections.

Key Terms In Academic Writing – Your professors may ask you to analyze, describe, interpret or summarize texts. This link has explanations for these and many other academic terms.

Where To Start a Paper – Activity to help you analyze and prepare for a writing assignment.

Prewriting Strategies – Ideas for getting ideas.

Writing Introductions – A good description of why and how to write a strong introduction. This link also includes tips of less effective ways to start a paper.

Writing Introductions II – Another source with tips and examples of strong introductions.

Strong Thesis Statements – Describes and provides examples of strong thesis statements.

Finding Your Thesis – Exercises to help you develop and write a thesis sentence.

Considering Structure and Organization – This page will help you think about the structure of your paper and how to develop your argument.

Writing Conclusions – Explains the function of the conclusion and provides ideas of what to do and what to avoid in writing your conclusion.

Writing Conclusions II – Another quick reference to help you think about how to conclude a paper.

Revision: Cultivating a Critical Eye – This resource explains the goal of revision and provides ideas on how to look at your writing objectively in order to make changes.

Conducting Research:

Finding and evaluating sources, doing interviews.

Finding Sources – Lists and describes many places to find material for a research paper.

Evidence – Explains what kinds of things count as evidence in academic research, as well as how to find and evaluate evidence.

Research Room – A step by step explanation of how to write a research paper. It begins with ways to develop ideas and ends with ways to revise your final draft.

Reliability of Internet Sources – Liz Siler, one of WSU’s ESL specialists, defines reliability and offers a step-by-step process for evaluating the reliability of a source.

Integrating Texts:

Documentation, setting up and discussing quotes, paraphrasing and summarizing, understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

Ways Of Integrating Texts – Discusses and gives examples of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

Paraphrasing And Quoting – A more thorough treatment of this topic.

Paraphrasing Practice – The first page describing paraphrasing. Click “next resource” at the bottom of the page for an exercise and then click again for possible responses.

How and Why to Paraphrase – An excellent resource developed by our ESL specialist, Liz Siler, on developing and using paraphrasing.

Summarizing – Liz Siler, an ESL specialist at WSU, has provided an excellent presentation on summarizing that includes “stories, examples, and details.”

Plagiarism – Several pages of information explaining what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. The fourth page also has an exercise for practice.

Plagiarism II – Another page describing the logic behind plagiarism and providing tips on how to avoid it.


Guides to using APA, MLA, and other common citation styles.

Quick Guides – WSU’s library provides guides to citing sources in APA, MLA, CSE, NLM, SSSA, and Chicago styles.

Using APA Style – Guide for using APA style.

Another guide to writing research papers using APA style.

Guide to writing research papers using MLA style.

Paraphrase, Citation, and Quotation – A resource developed by our ESL specialist, Liz Siler, discuss and provides a lesson on the subtleties of developing paraphrasing, as well as appropriate citing paraphrases and quotations.

More on Paraphrasing and Citation – Liz Siler, a WSU ESL specialist, breaks down the intricacies of paraphrasing in this well developed presentation on the conventions of introducing, paraphrasing, and citing others’ ideas.

Technical Writing:

Professional documents, resumes.

Professional Communication – Resources from Hong Kong University.

Business English – A variety of resources focused on reading, writing, speaking and listening in business environments.

Business Writing – The links on the left side of this page provide a number of resources for improving business writing.

Engineering And Science Writing – Discussion and samples of many types of writing in these fields.

Accounting – Writing skills for tax professionals.


Language use with an eye toward making choices for voice, levels of formality.

Academic Writing Style – Describes features of academic writing style in North America.

Style Seminar – Describes where “style” comes from and gives many examples of good and not-so-good word choices and sentence structures.


Grammar, punctuation, indentation, spacing and other formal conventions.

HyperGrammar – A free, online grammar course from University of Ottowa; use the links under the “HyperGrammar” tab on the menu.

Grammar Help – Explanations and online exercises.

Grammar Help II – More explanations of common grammar problems.

Grammar Help III – A few short, clear explanations of how to use articles, expressions of quantity and verb agreement, gerunds and infinitives, and verbs for referring to sources.

Grammar Help IV – Quizzes, practice, resources for improving all aspects of English; also has links to language-specific help (e.g., English for Japanese speakers).


Links to sites that will help you expand your vocabulary.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English – Online dictionary for English language learners. This dictionary uses a restricted set of vocabulary to explain words and provides helpful grammatical information.

General Academic Vocabulary – English learning site that helps with vocabulary and mechanics.

Business English – Lots of information and quizzes to help you learn common expressions used in business English.

Lextutor – This is an online concordancer. It shows the way that words are used in real life. – Not just a dictionary, this site offers a variety of tools and games to develop vocabulary.

Cultural Considerations:

Links to resources for learning more about cultural aspects of living and writing in the U.S.

U.S. Higher Education – Describes key cultural elements of life in American universities.

Values In Academic Writing – Several professors provide short explanations of what they see as important in academic writing.

E-mail Etiquette – Tip for communicating appropriately via e-mail.

ESL Contact Information:

Nancy Bell – ESL Coordinator
Department of English
Office: Avery 499
Office phone: 509-335-1322

Department of English Contact Information:

Main Office: Avery 202
Fax: 509-335-2582
PO Box 645020
Pullman, WA 99164-5020