Writing help service

During the fall and winter terms, graduate students from the Department of English are on hand to assist students identify grammatical, structural, and stylistic errors in their essay assignments. The Teaching Assistant can help you answer questions such as:

  • Where can I find information about how to create a works cited page?
  • Am I citing my sources properly?
  • Is my thesis focussed enough?
  • Do my paragraphs have appropriate transitions?
  • Do I use the semi-colon appropriately?

Clientele and Referal Policies

English writing help is made available to students in ENG courses with priority given to students in ENG 1100.

To meet with an English Teaching Assistant, you must register in person during their office hours. Walk-ins are accepted ONLY if the TA has no scheduled appointments. The English Teaching Assistant's office is in MRT005.

All other students are to be directed to the Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC), located at 110 University street. For details about AWHC services, visit the Academic Writing Help Centre Home Page or Telephone: 613-562-5601.

ESL students experiencing difficulty with English should go to the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI). Please call or e-mail Jennifer St. John, Director of Undergraduate Studies at OLBI, 613-562-5800 ext. 3386; jstjohn@uottawa.ca, who will advise you on how to obtain the ESL help you need. The Institute also has a Resource Centre for occasional help in ART02,  (phone: 613-562-5743). Another option is to make an appointment at the SASS Academic Writing Help Centre for one-on-one tutoring. See above.

Appointments are not made by telephone or by email.

Students can sign up to consult with a TA for a maximum of 2 half hour blocks per day with a maximum of 3 full hour appointments per week.

If you want to be certain to meet with us, do not wait until the last minute. Register in advance to make your appointment; no phone appointments will be accepted.

ATTENTION: The Writing Centre is not a proof-reading service. We do not correct your assignments for you; instead we teach you how to correct your writing errors.

What we DO and Do NOT DO

The Arts Writing Centre fosters an interactive environment where you work alongside the TA to improve your writing.
- We DO NOT provide proofreading/copy editing, so you must come prepared with a list of problem areas you wish to focus on. For example, you may need help with particular grammar or style problems; you may want help with your thesis, introductory paragraph, or conclusion; you may want to strengthen the topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph or to ensure that your in-text citations are accurate.
- TAs will work with you to explain or help ameliorate any of these problem areas. We will NOT point out where the errors occur throughout the text nor will we look at all of the above mentioned problems at once, unless they are pointed out to us by you (you must be aware of your own areas of weakness).
- TAs will NOT look at an unmarked essay from start to finish. We will focus on the paragraph, page, or section with which you are most concerned.
You are encouraged to bring marked assignments to the Writing Centre if you seek clarification regarding grammatical mistakes or errors in sentence structure, or if you require further elaboration on comments provided by the Professor concerning content/argument.
You must come in with written material, whether it is, for example, your thesis statement, an introductory paragraph, or a completed essay. You CANNOT simply arrive with a list of essay topics and ask for assistance in brainstorming. For effective brainstorming tools and interactive help from a tutor, you should consult your professor or the Academic Writing Help Centre.
We will be happy to help you with your work cited/bibliography page by consulting MLA or APA handbooks, and we will work alongside you to ensure that all the necessary information is included in the proper order and with the proper punctuation.
It is NOT the TA’s role to interpret professor’s comments or approve/interpret essay topics. You must contact your instructor for that type of assistance.
We provide resources (grammar books, style guide, MLA/APA format, etc).
You must NOT expect an A on an assignment just because you came to the Writing Centre!

For information about the French service go to this web page: Service d'aide à la redaction.

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