Writing & Grammar


A Colon Does Not a Semi-Colon Make Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Guess what? There is a big difference between a colon and a semi-colon. they are not the same thing and they are not interchangeable. I saw a graduate student’s work recently. He did not know that a semi-colon joins two independent clauses and that a colon is good for when you are listing things or want to point something out. For example, one...

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Writing an Article Review That’s Not All About You Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: I recently assigned article reviews to one of my graduate classes. One of the students wrote one short paragraph about an unnamed article by an unnamed author and then q=wrote the rest of his essay about himself. By the time he was done, I knew quite a about him and almost nothing about the article. Here are the instructions I now give on...

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Quoting from the Holly Bibel and Other Wrods that Don’t Scene Quiet Write Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Oh, my, some of the wording I have seen in my time as a college professor! Where is spell check when you need it? Or, should I say, were is spiel chex when you kneed it? Yes, I have seen many things in my time. The old book “Strictly Speaking: Will America be the Death of English?” was one of my favorites as...

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Possessive versus Plural Nouns Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: One of the biggest and most often-committed crimes against the English language these days is folks who do not know the difference between a possessive noun and a plural noun. Heavens to Betsy! Some of the folks who commit this noun faux pas are juniors and seniors in college or graduate students. They should have learned this in 6th grade but apparently they...

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Recalcitrant Quotation Marks Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Lately, I have been seeing some very interesting uses of quotation marks in my students’ writing. So, just where do these lovely inventions belong? Surrounding direct quotes, hopefully. That is their rightful place. Let’s take a look at them for a few moments. Let’s say this is your sentence: Parmelee (2019) argues that “here is the direct quote” (p. 123). [Note that I...

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“How many bodies are we supposed to have” and other questions that don’t make much sense Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hi everyone: Okay, so I have seen some pretty weird questions in my time as a college professor but the one you see above takes the cake. [If you don’t know what that saying means, please ask your grandmother.] Students were required to write a business report that contained a cover page, letter of transmittal, Table of Contents, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Recommendations, References page, and...

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The Word’s the Thing: Part Two Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone: Today, my students suggested more words for our “The Word’s the Thing” blog posting from yesterday. They are fond of the misuse of the word “there.” Or is it “their?” Or “they’re?” The first incarnation means “over there, next to the really cute guy (or gal).” The second is possessive, like “their books.” The third is the contraction of “they are,” as in...

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The Word’s the Thing Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hi everyone: So, just how important is it that you use the right word? For someone like me, very important. For students, they are also very important. Here’s a sampling from this week: A student finished off her letter, writing the following: Respectively, Sally Student Huh? She meant “Respectfully” but didn’t quite make it. The word she meant is defined as “with deference and respect.”...

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