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All the English You Will Ever Need

 

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The English language is constantly evolving, both the words we use and the rules that control the usage of those words.  Therefore, it is impossible to ever have a definitive grammar guide, or, if you will, a Complete Guide of American English.  And that’s our excuse.

 

 

Word of the Every So Often

October 16, 2018 

beldame:  (noun)  an old woman, especially an ugly one; a witch.  This year for Halloween, I'm going to dress up like a beldame.

 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Citing a Lecture or a Presentation

If the Lecture has a title:

Pizza, Prof. Giovanni.  "Growing Herbs in your Crawlspace."  Ag. 102.  University of Milan, Milan, Italy.  20 Apr. 2012.  College Lecture.

For more specific information, such as what to do if the lecture has no title, or if it is a presentation other than a college lecture, just check out the Documentation file inside of the College Courses tab.

7:57 am pdt 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fresh from the Bard:

"He that wants money, means, and content is without three good friends."  (As You Like It, III.ii.25-26) 

8:08 am pdt 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Focus

“Focus” in writing deals with who you are addressing.  It is who you are specifically talking to.  In particular, it deals with the pronouns that you use.  Are you addressing people in general, or specific individuals or groups, or are you just writing about yourself?  To understand focus, let's take the following sentence: 

When you are pregnant, you often will have mood swings.

I have no doubt that pregnant women have mood swings when they are pregnant.  I live with my wife, and she has been pregnant more than once.  The thing is, I am a male.  I will never be pregnant.  However, when the author chose the pronoun "you," then that person was specifically referring to me.

Perhaps the easiest way to make sure your focus is consistent (and that it makes sense) is to imagine your audience as one person.  Because your audience is more than likely your teacher, then make that very specific person the only person in your audience.  Then, whenever you are tempted to use the pronoun "you," replace it with your teacher's name.  Let's try that with the above example:

When Mr. Soetaert is pregnant, Mr. Soetaert often will have mood swings.

Yeah, I imagine I would have mood swings if I were pregnant.  But that's not going to happen.  Ever.  By replacing "you" with the name of your reader (in this case me), the entire sentence becomes very silly.  Here's the thing:  It was silly to begin with, but just not quite so obvious. 

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9:38 am pdt 


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