(other units are in revision, so check back periodically for updates)

Language Units | Grammar & Mechanics Lessons | Genre Units

Language Units (for building judgment about effective language choices)

Word choices for precision and accuracy – Introductory nontechnical level 

Word choice, precision and accuracy in technical information 

Effective sentence structure – simple sentences (one main idea per sentence)

Connecting ideas effectively in sentences – complex sentence structure

Active and passive voice -  how to choose what’s most effective for the context

Sequence of Information through a document (for reports and tech memos – not proposals)

Information sequencing in sentences - Known-new information structure

E-mail – Professional use of e-mail and special language considerations for e-mail

Answer keys available from Susan Conrad,

Grammar and Mechanics Lessons  (addressing common errors civil engineering students make)

1.  Sentence structure and punctuation: What's a complete sentence? How is it punctuated?

2.  Verb tense and reporting methods: What verb tense is needed to report data collection and analysis?

4.  Commas:  Where is a comma obligatory?  Where should it be omitted?  Where is it optional?

5.  Parallel Structure: How do you write grammatical, effective sentences that include lists of items?

6.  Semi-colons ( ; ) : What is the correct use of semi-colons?  


8.  Using "The" - The Definite Article:  How does the use of "the" differ between notes and formal documents?


9.  Apostrophes ('):  When do you need an apostrophe? When should you leave it out?


10. Figures and Tables: What makes visuals effective? How should you label them?

Genre Units (describing the typical purpose, content, sequencing, and formatting of common text types)

1.  Field Observation Memoranda (Note: This genre unit is designed especially for first-year course assignments that require students to visit construction sites, engineering firms, etc.). Additional for Genre Unit 1 - Unannotated Excellent Example, Unannotated Weak ExampleAnnotated Excellent ExampleAnnotated Weak Example and FOM Template


2.  Cover Letters and Letters of Transmittal


3.  Geotechnical Site Visit Investigation Reports


4.  Water Distribution Analysis Report


5. Proposals