Writer's Workshop

In this course, college-level writing is expected. Your writing should have three strengths: (1) grammatical sentence structure; (2) ideas supported by evidence from the text; (3) coherent argument presented in paragraph structure.


Grammatical sentence structure is crucial in expressing your ideas. Being grammatical not only commands the reader’s respect, but it helps you make your thinking clear. There is nothing more frustrating than having a profound idea and not being able to express it!


A complete grammatical sentence does not have to be long: but it has to have a SUBJECT AND A VERB. The subject and verb of the sentence must be in the MAIN CLAUSE, which is the central statement. There are also subjects and verbs in subordinate clauses, but they are not the subject and verb of the sentence.

EXAMPLE: “Although the hero of the poem made up his own mind.”

This is not a sentence. It is a subordinate clause that must be attached to a main clause. When you start a statement with words like ALTHOUGH, BECAUSE, IF, you make your statement a subordinate clause, and it must be attached to a main clause.

There are two ways to make our example a complete sentence: (1) Simply remove the relative adverb, ALTHOUGH. Now you have a sentence which stands by itself. Its subject is “hero” and its verb is “made.” The sentence is:

“The hero of the poem made up his own mind.”

The second way to make this sentence grammatical is making it a subordinate clause in a longer sentence:

“Although the hero of the poem made up his own mind, the Spirit inspired him.”

Now the subject of the sentence (the main clause) is “Spirit” and the verb is “inspired.”


The second common mistake in writing is the run-on sentence. This does not refer to a long sentence that just runs on and on! It is a grammatical term for two or more sentences that are run together as if they were one. They might be very short! The easiest way to correct a run-on is to turn it into two sentences, separated by a period (not a comma!)

EXAMPLE: “I really didn’t enjoy studying this religion it was boring.”

How would your make this run-on sentence grammatical? There are several ways. Here are some correct ways to express the same idea:

“I really didn’t enjoy studying this religion. It was boring.”

“I really didn’t enjoy studying this religion because it was boring.”

“I really didn’t enjoy studying this religion: it was boring.”

The simplest way is to divide the run-on into two separate sentences with a period. In the second example, the second statement became a subordinate clause, using the word BECAUSE. In the third case, a colon was used. A colon can be used when the second statement is directly related to the first one.


The first part of your post should deal with the subject matter of the forum. You should give careful definition of key terms and specific evidence from the text. Demonstrate that you have done the reading! Don’t be vague. In religious texts, the wisdom is in the details. When you polish a short quote or specific image with careful attention, it will shine with wisdom.

After commenting on details of the text, you can relate the subject to your own experience. Share your life’s journey and your deepest conviction. But still, support your opinions with evidence, clear explanation of WHY you believe what you believe.


A paragraph is a “block” of thinking that stays on one topic. When you change to a different topic, start a new paragraph. Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence. This sentence states an idea that will be supported in the rest of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph consists of argument and evidence supporting the topic sentence. The paragraph should not stray into other topics.

I hope this brief review of grammatical writing helps you. If you want more help, please consult the college website and you will find writing tools.