University of Minnesota
CLA Media Mill

CLA Media Mill

Ka Po "Josey" Chow

Josey compares English and Chinese academic writing and suggests several reading and writing strategies for improving one’s writing.

Ka Po "Josey" Chow

Maija Brown
Johanna Mueller
Zack Pierson

Johanna Mueller
Zack Pierson

Farha Ahmed
Daniel Balm
Linda Clemens
Debra Hartley
Huy Hoang
Kirsten Jamsen
Katie Levin
Mitch Ogden
Kim Strain

© 2010, Center for Writing
Please do not quote without permission.

American academic writing you need to write everything really very clear. But, sometimes in Chinese, we will just quote something and then you understand what I mean. It is difficult to say, well, I won’t write exactly what, I will say something I tend to think about, but I may not write so clear the different transition, you know? In, in American writing you need to write a lot of transitional paragraphs and we still have transitional paragraphs, but the words that we use is not as clear as the American writing.

I am thankful that because my friends here, American friends, they help me to proofread the reading. But because, you know, everyone is very busy when they start the school year, so they no longer can help me. So that’s why, at that time I feel very, kind of anxious about, “Okay what is going on for the next...,” I need someone to help me proofread or help me to build up some kind of American sense about writing.

Reading aloud is really good for me because sometimes I don’t know whether it is listening connects to reading or writing, but sometimes when you read it, then you will think, “Okay, maybe I need to say some more things or details to my passage.” Oh, the other thing I’m thinking is really useful is read more with the journals because sometimes I find, when we read the journal, even though, because we have a lot of assigned reading. And so when you read the journal, don’t just focus on the content, you may think about some words they use in that passage. So when I, in the beginning of my semester—because I need some models to write— so that is why when I read the articles or the journals, despite reading the content, I’ll also focus on how they start the topic, how they made up the transitional paragraphs. I mean it is very good because you are reading in context.

After reading several passage, I will get some idea of what people think in that area. Then I may think about the other things I want to say, so that this is the collecting materials first, and then, and later on you think about your ideas, and then I will start to write the, the paragraphs. Something like, I will write something first, but not exactly as introduction or, or body, but write something, some ideas about what I think about that, these articles. Then, I will try to use the Microsoft Word to organize all the things together. And then, after I write the so-called “draft,” and I will ask the other one, I will read aloud to the other one. The other one will give me some comments about, “Oh, maybe it is not clear and you need to write in details or elaborate more.” Sometimes we will just ask for people’s help that I think for me, my goal is, I need to be an independent writer so I can write on my own.

Work hard! And the work hard is, when you need to write writing, don’t expect you can write within one or two days. Prepare ahead. Maybe you need to think about—because I think, writing you need time to think about. If you want to write a good piece of writing, you need to take time to think about the information, think about the process, and think about what word you want to use in order to get a good piece of writing.

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