Thursday, December 10, 2009
Forster, E.M. A Room With A View. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"Today, there are many historic sites and structures that serve as a lasting reminder of that terrible time on our Nation's history."
Why would the word nation be capitalized? It's not a proper noun.
Correct to Today, there are many historic sites and structure that serve as a lasting reminder of that terrible time in our nation's history.
The readers need to focus on the subject of the sentence, not be distracted by unnecessary capitalization.
"Both Confederate and Union Forces used it as a hospital during the War Between the States."
Why capitalize the word forces? The word isn't part of the name of either of the armies.
Correct to Both Confederate and Union forces used it as a hospital during the War Between the States.
"During the Civil War the town was burned, had a visit by U.S. General William Sherman, and was the site of the largest cavalry force ever amassed in the Western Hemisphere."
Again, why the capitalization? The sentence is just referring to a region.
Correct to During the Civil War the town was burned, had a visit by U.S. General William Sherman, and was the site of the largest cavalry force ever amassed in the western hemisphere.
"The University of North Alabama was established in 1830, and is Located in the heart of Downtown Florence."
I'm assuming Located is a typo. The word downtown should not be capitalized unless it is part of the name of a specific historic district, which it is not, or at least that is not indicated in the brochure.
Correct to The University of North Alabama was established in 1830, and is located in the heart of downtown Florence.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
"Two hours of high energy family fun just one hour North of the Dallas Metroplex."
Now, the above sentence is a fragment that works because of the context. However, there needs to be a hyphen between high energy to make the sentence correct: Two hours of high-energy family fun just one hour North of the Dallas Metroplex. And there isn't a hyphen between energy and family because family fun works as one noun, even though family describes what sort of fun.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
"Pause for refreshment in the panelled splendour of the Kings Arms Kitchen and before you leave, visit the Conservatory Shop, packed with must-have souvenirs."
The above sentence needs a comma after Kitchen and after and because there is a natural pause in both places. Corrected, the sentence will read Pause for refreshment in the panelled splendour of the Kings Arms Kitchen, and, before you leave, visit the Conservatory Shop, packed with must-have souvenirs.
"March back in time with the Twentieth Legion to the military Fortress of Deva, and use today's technology to discover the lives of yesterday's people."
The above sentence does not need a comma after Deva, because what happens after the and is directly connected to what happens before. So the sentence should read March back in time with the Twentieth Legion to the military Fortress of Deva and use today's technology to discover the lives of yesterday's people.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
"Explore eyewitnesses throughout American history in the treasures from the National Archives, experience the landmark show Dallas and it's impact on television . . . ."
The sentence should read "its impact on television," since the impact that Dallas had on television is being discussed.
When we're looking over our work or someone else's and there is an it's/its problem, we need to look carefully at the context to see if the to be verb is is in use or if there is possession, as in the above example.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"This museum is geared to the preservation of the history of the Native Peoples of the Plains. Magnificent displays and art exhibits make this a jewel. Ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel reservations. Open winter Thurs-Sat noon-5 pm, Sun 1p-5-; summer Wed-Sat 11a-6p, Sun 1-5p. Adults $3.00, youth $1.50; 9151 I-40 East."
The sentences that contain schedule and price information are fragments and they're fine--we expect those sorts of sentence fragments in travel brochures. But the sentence "Ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel reservations" leaves us wondering about those things. And why are those even in the same sentence fragment, much less the same sentence, unless the sentence told where visitors could find out what they needed to know about those things at the visitors' center, i.e. The Visitors' Center has information about other activities and facilities, including the ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel room reservation instructions.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, we need to get someone to look over our work to see if there is anything that will confuse the reader and, if there is, correct it. Clear communication is important!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
2. "Shall be lifted--nevermore!"
3. "The only emperor is the emporer of ice-cream."
4. "About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
5. "Let's to the Prado and make the most of time."
6. "The throe of Second Manassas share."
7. "Is come, my love is come to me."
8. "He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'"
9. "And I eat men like air."
10. "And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
The Ring and the Book
2. "A toad the power mower caught,"
"The Death of a Toad"
3. "There is a singer everyone has heard,"
"The Oven Bird"
4. "I thought once how Theocritus had sung,"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
Sonnets From The Portuguese
5. "To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings,"
6. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God."
Gerard Manley Hopkins,
7. "There's a certain slant of light,"
"There's a certain Slant of light,"
8. "Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door."
T.S. Eliot, "Gus the Theatre Cat,"
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
9. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
10. "I must go down to the seas again,"
Friday, November 6, 2009
1. "Do you see this Ring?"
2. "A toad the power mower caught,"
3. "There is a singer everyone has heard,"
4. "I thought once how Theocritus had sung"
5. "To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings"
6. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God."
7. "There's a certain Slant of light,"
8. "Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door."
9. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
10. "I must go down to the seas again,"
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This first of The Chronicles of Narnia is fantasy, but it's also a bildugsroman, and a quadruple bildugsroman at that--all four protagonists grow and learn about themselves through the course of the story. And another central character recognizes their progress and sums it up for them in a brief, memorable description.
This book is an exciting read for anyone, but young people will learn a bit at the first of the book about evacuee children in World War II-era England and the people who took them in.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Before I voted, I read up on the items on which we have the privilege of voting.
The main reason I read up on the items is to find out what they really say.
Ballot language has gotten marginally better, but it still has to be put in general reader language in other places like voters' guides.
And it's good that the information is available a couple of other places other than the ballot when we get to the polls.
But it should be written in general reader language in the first place, i.e. on the ballot itself.
Why gum up the language on the ballot?
That's not considerate. Or patriotic.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
What makes MLA the most efficient is its simple internal documentation: you only include information relevant to that particular bit of secondary info--you don't have to include the year the work was published, which is something that can be looked up in the bibliography any time.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Bayan, Richard. Words That Sell. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"The nostalgic impact of the Dewey Hotel, the Tom Mix Museum and Prairie Song Village has served as a drawing card for history buffs and tourists to wander and browse the many antique shops and delightful specialty stores."
Now, are the Tom Mix Museum and Prairie Song Village connected? It's difficult to know since there isn't a comma after the word Museum, and that confuses the reader. If those places aren't connected, let the reader know by putting a comma in the proper place:
The nostalgic impact of the Dewey H0tel, the Tom Mix Museum, and Prairie Song Village has served as a drawing card for history buffs and tourists to wander and browse the many antique shops and delightful specialty stores.
Commas do not go between two independent clauses:
"Just prior to World War I, Joe Bartles went to Washington, D. C., to offer land north of Dewey for an airplane factory and flying school, the offer was accepted."
There is more than one way to correct that problem. You could turn the sentence into two separate sentences by adding a period, or you could replace the comma with a semi-colon, or the word and and a comma. Or you could use a dash, which would add some drama, but that is unnecessary given the context of the information.
Just prior to World War I, Joe Bartles went to Washington, D.C., to offer land north of Dewey for an airplane factory and flying school. The offer was accepted.
Just prior to World War I, Joe Bartles went to Washington, D.C., to offer land north of Dewey for an airplane factory and flying school; the offer was accepted.
Just prior to World War I, Joe Bartles went to Washington, D.C., to offer land north of Dewey for an airplane factory and flying school, and the offer was accepted.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
1. What does Eowyn call herself when she goes off to war?
2. What is Grima's nickname?
3. What is Saruman's nickname?
4. What name does Aragorn go by in childhood?
5. What does Sam call the two personalities of Gollum?
6. What is Merry's real name?
7. What is Pippin's real name?
8. What is Gandalf's name in the West?
9. What name does Frodo suggest that Sam and Rosie call their first child?
10. What is Boromir and Faramir's mother's name?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Readers will enjoy this book for the characters and the plot, but it is also interesting for the setting and time--small town life during the last years of World War One. Readers learn about rationing, Red Cross work, Victory gardens, and war stamps and war bonds. Younger readers will also find intriguing life when kids entertained themselves without benefit of radio, television, or the type of formal sports teams popular today.
Estes, Eleanor. Rufus M. New York: Harcourt, 1970.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"Since opening its doors in 1909, the historic and elegant St. Anthony has accommodated legendary personalities, including presidents and Hollywood's "Golden Era" celebrities. The elegant décor and historic value are present today to offer guests timeless elegance, comfort, modern conveniences, and a great location to experience the River Walk. Be a part of San Antonio's Grand Tradition, and reserve your place in history today."
Why tell the reader that the hotel is historic and elegant when the décor and value are better served by those words, especially when the reader will get the idea in general from the mention of the year of the hotel's opening and the reference to "presidents and Hollywood's "Golden Era" celebrities"? And why use "elegant" and "elegance" in the same sentence? The use of the word "history" in the last sentence works because it's tying in the readers with the guests in the first sentence to cause the readers to be even more interested in staying there on a visit to the city.
With changes, the paragraph reads
Since opening its doors in 1909, the St. Anthony has accommodated legendary personalities, including presidents and Hollywood's "Golden Era" celebrities. The elegant décor and historic value are present today to offer guests timeless glamour, comfort, modern conveniences, and a great location to experience the River Walk. Be part of San Antonio's Grand Tradition, and reserve your place in history today.
Repetition can also occur in ideas, rather than words, as in this sentence:
"With the support and commitment of so many community stakeholders, we continue to thrive as a competitive urban center, without losing sight of our historical roots."
The idea of history is inherent in the word "roots" as used in this context, so why include it?
The sentence without repetition reads
With the support and commitment of so many community stakeholders, we continue to thrive as a competitive urban center, without losing sight of our roots.
The semi-colon is for separating independent clauses. Any other use, such as in the following examples, doesn't communicate well:
"Our citizens come from diverse backgrounds, yet we were unified in a single promise; a promise for a better life here in our Kyle community."
Why the semi-colon? The words after it do not make up an independent clause, and besides being incorrect, the semi-colon certainly doesn't convey the strength of the idea that the author is looking for. There is, of course, more than one way to correct the problem, but the sentence as written below has the impact the writer seeks:
Our citizens come from diverse backgrounds, yet we were unified in a single promise: a promise for a better life here in our Kyle community.
(Why the past tense--"we were unified"? Shouldn't they still be "unified in a single promise" or has the sell-by date come and gone?)Semi-c0lons do not belong in lists of things:
"The district features a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center; a dual-language magnet program at two elementary campuses; advanced placement courses and a variety of career and tech courses at the secondary level; and music, art, library, and computer lab included in the weekly rotation at the elementary level."
Don't underestimate the readers--they can find their way through the listings when there is correct punctuation:
The district features a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center, a dual-language magnet program at two elementary campuses, advanced placement courses and a variety of career and tech courses at the secondary level, and music, art, library, and computer lab included in the weekly rotation at the elementary level.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Two good reference books are Karen Elizabeth Gordon's The Transitive Vampire and The Well-Tempered Sentence. The first covers all aspects of grammar and the first all aspects of punctuation. Both explain their subjects well and include gothicky, hilarious examples analagous to Edward Gorey's animations that begin episodes of PBS' "Mystery!"
Friday, August 21, 2009
1. What book did John Reed throw at Jane Eyre?
2. What type of product did Robert Moore's factory produce?
3. For whom does Lucy Snowe work before she goes to Villette?
4. What does Frances Henri teach when William Crimsworth meets her?
5. What book of Catherine's does Lockwood read at Wuthering Heights?
6. What is the name of the first family for whom Agnes Grey works?
7. How does Helen make a living when she and her son are on their own?
8. What is the alternate name of Moor House?
9. What play do Caroline Helstone and Robert Moore read?
10. Who impersonates the nun in Villette?
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre Quote Quiz--Identify the speaker
1. " . . . the fire and the chandelier were not sufficient company for me . . . ."
2. "Most things free-born will submit to anything for a salary . . . ."
3. "The human and fallible should not arrogate a power with which the divine and perfect alone can be safely entrusted."
4. "How could I possibly prefer the spoilt pet of a wealthy family, who would hate her governess as a nuisance, to a lonely little orphan who leans toward her as a friend?"
5. "Louisa and I used to quiz our governess too; but she was such a good creature, she would bear anything: nothing put her out. She was never cross with us; was she, Louisa?"
6. "You were born, I think, to be my torment: my last hour is racked by the recollection of a deed which, but for you, I should never have been tempted to commit."
7. "Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!--I have as much soul as you--and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you."
8. "Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses."
9. "The marriage cannot go on: I declare the existence of an impediment."
10. "They guessed, ma'am: they guessed. Indeed, I should say it was ascertained beyond a doubt. You are not perhaps aware, that there was a lady--a--a lunatic, kept in the house?"
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Though the narrator is male, themes similar to Brontë's other novels appear--self-reliance, women's roles, and the value of intellect. This book does not have the detective story-intensity of Jane Eyre or Villette, nor the political tone of Shirley, but a quiet, steadfastness that provides its own interest. It is a pity it was not published during Brontë's lifetime, as she had wanted.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
1. "It's been over six months since Hurricane Ike devastated our island. And with it, our homes, our businesses and our lives--all turned as topsy-turvy as the contents of our dwellings when the floodwaters subsided."
It's been over six months since Hurricane Ike devastated our island and with it our homes, our businesses, and our lives--all turned as topsy-turvy as the contents of our dwellings when the floodwaters subsided.
2. "In that time, we've seen remarkable changes occur, the result of the remarkable spirit of generostiy and neighborliness that represents the best of us humans. From the very beginning, with the army of boom trucks that descended upon us from, literally, all over the United States, to help begin to untangle the snarled chaos that had been our electrical grid, to the throng of young people here from various schools and churches during their Spring Break to help us clean up."
In that time, we've seen remarkable changes occur, the result of the remarkable spirit of generosity and neighborliness that represents the best of us humans from the very beginning, with the army of boom trucks that descended upon us from, literally, all over the United States, to help begin to untangle the snarled chaos that had been our electrical grid, to the throng of young people here from various schools and churches during their Spring Break to help us clean up.
3. "And yet it is just that--the impermanence of things, change--that I want to discuss as we move towards the creation of our own authentic homes. Because Ike has given us the perfect opportunity to rearrange our homes, our lives, ourselves into new arrangements and patterns that suit us more."
And yet it is just that--the impermanence of things, change--that I want to discuss as we move towards the creation of our own authentic homes, because Ike has given us the perfect opportunity to rearrange our homes, our lives, ourselves in to new arrangements and patterns that suit us more.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
1. "At Morgan Tile you won't find anything that is normally available at Home Depot or Lowe's; the inventory is quite unique."
At Morgan Tile you won't find anything normally available at Home Depot or Lowe's; the inventory is quite unique.
2. "Their focus is on porcelain tile that's different and just plain beautiful, such as the block panel or wallpaper tile."
They focus on porcelain tile that's different and just plain beautiful, such as block panel or wallpaper tile.
3. "The team of Morgan Tile puts first and foremost upscale design and products and wants to make sure all products in your home reflect their motto--creating great design."
The Morgan Tile team puts upscale design and products first and foremost to make sure your home reflects their motto--creating great design.
4. "A period parlor is complemented with tied-back lace curtains; recently milled window frames are indistinguishable from original."
Tied-back lace curtains complement a period parlor; recently milled window frames remain indistinguishable from original.
5. "This is extremely helpful in the instance you become lost or have an emergency."
This is extremely helpful in case you become lost or have an emergency.
6. "One of these brought in the home or left in a vehicle can begin to decay and smell horribly after a short time."
One of these brought into a house or left in a vehicle soon can begin to decay and smell horribly.
7. "Fred Brown, an architect from South Carolina famous for many award winning beach cottages, introduces his home in a Coastal Vernacular design which meets Galveston's historic Italianate."
Fred Brown, a South Carolina architect famous for many award-winning beach cottages, introduces his home in a Coastal Vernacular design which meets Galveston's historic Italinate.
8. "An open library concept, with built-in cabinetry located at the front of the home and direct access to the front porch, providing an exceptional indoor/outdoor space to sit, read, and relax."
An open library concept, with built-in cabinetry at the home's front door and direct front porch access, provides an exceptional indoor/outdoor space to sit, read, and relax.
9. "There is no better way to celebrate the rebirth of Galveston than showing off the Idea House, a masterpiece designed by a native Texan and built by the hands of our own Galvestonian trade."
There is no better way to celebrate Galveston's rebirth than showing off the Idea House, a masterpiece designed by a native Texan and built by Galvestonians.
10. "The homes are between 2,000 and 2,300 and offer three bedrooms with a ground-floor master unit and two-car garage with private back or side yards."
The 2,000-to-2,300 feet homes offer three bedrooms with a ground-floor master unit and two-car garage with private back or side yards.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Zinsser, William. Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2004.
Friday, August 14, 2009
1. "The first year that Mardi Gras was celebrated on a grand scale in Galveston was 1871, with the emergence of two rival Mardi Gras societies, or "krewes": the Nights of Momus (known only by the initials "K.O.M.") and the Knights of Myth, both of which devised night parages, masked balls, exquisite costumes and elaborate invitations."
2. "South Padre Island, the premier beach resort on the Texas coast, is just minutes from Harlingen."
3. "Experience the history and beauty of the Vatican through a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view its extraordinary collections of art and historical objects, including many never before on view to the public."
4. "With Brownsville's variety of lodgings, we can accommodate any budget, location, need, or lifestyle."
5. "Drop by the Alpharetta Welcome Center in the heart of historic downtown for a glimpse into the charm and vitality of our city."
6. "Chamblee's Rose Nursery is a family business that has been producing fine quality roses from our Tyler location since 1953."
7. "It is a premier North American site that documents a continuous human presence on the South Plains for the last 12,000 years, along with many extinct large animals."
8. "Located on an early settler's homestead in historic Independence, Texas, the eight acre retail display garden is beautifully landscaped featuring romantic old garden roses, native plants, old-fashioned cottage garden perennials, herbs and a wildflower meadow."
9. "In 1977 Georgetown wsa the recipient of the Great American Main Street Award, the first Texas city to achieve this honor for revitalization of the downtown area."
10. "Overnight guests of Keswick Hall are awarded temporary membership into the private Keswick Club and have full access to its outstanding amenities."
Remember, for the first person to send in correct answers receives one free hour of copyediting anything except homework!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Keith S. Hodges writes of how Simon Peter changed from a person of impetuosity to a person of steadfastness and servant spirit for God. Hodges adapts the “Peter Principles” from business as a frame for his discussion of the apostle. He takes each principles and discussses Simon Peter’s life and spiritual growth in its terms, making application from appropriate incidents in his life. He also applies each step in Simon Peter’s growth in terms of the lives of Christians in personal spiritual growth, evangelism, and edification of fellow Christians.
The book is realistic and encouraging. He writes in a conversational, accessible style and uses examples from Scripture and from contemporary life. He also encourages readers to go to the Bible and read for themselves the passages he discusses. This book could be used in Bible classes on Sunday or Wednesday, weekday studies, college classes, or individuals’ studies on their own.
Hodges, Keith S. The Simon Peter Principles. Hurst, Texas: Star Bible, 2007.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"Located south of U.S. 80, you will discover the 100 year-old "Old Forney," containing numberous turn-of-the-century buildings and homes. Strolling through this historic area, you will savor the ambiance and romance of an earlier time. In downtown, The 1889 Farmers Bank block and the 1900 Knights of Pythias block house a variety of stores and businesses to discover. Nearby Center and Bois d' Arc streets are lined with elegant houses, built by the early hay and cotton barons. "Old Forney," many say, is the undiscovered "jewel" of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Don't miss it!"
Nearly every sentence in the above paragraph starts the same way. The repetition does not add anything to the information. The paragraph can be written with more sentence variety:
Drive south of U.S. 80 and you will discover the 100-year-old "Old Forney," containing numerous turn-of-the-century buildings. Stroll through this historic area and savor the ambiance and romance of an earlier time. Downtown provides a variety of stores and businesses to discover, particularly in the 1889 Farmers Bank block and 1900 Knights of Pythias block. Elegant houses, built by the early hay and cotton barrons, line nearby Center and Bois d' Arc streets. "Old Forney," many say, is the undiscovered "jewel" of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Don't miss it!
Answers for Friday's Literary Quiz on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
1. Harry's owl is named Hedwig.
2. Hagrid's umbrella is pink.
3. Florian Fortescue runs the ice cream shop in Daigon Alley.
4. Barty Crouch, Jr. cast the Dark Mark after the World Cup Quidditch match.
5. Aunt Marge was inflated so much she rose into the air.
6. Fred and George Weasley's shop is Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
7. Hermione discovered that Rita Skeeter was an unregistered animagus.
8. Ginny and Hermoine's nickname for Fleur is Phlegm.
9. Harry drank Polyjuice Potion to attend Bill and Fleur's wedding in the guise of Barney Weasley.
10. Harry and Ginny named their oldest son James after Harry's father, their daughter Lily after Harry's mother, and their youngest son Albus Severus after Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
1. "Two restroom sites were also salvaged providing toilet and shower facilities."
Two restrooom sites providing toilet and shower facilities were also salvaged.
2. "Additionally, booths hosted hands on activities plus a petting zoo, a rock wall, mechanical bull rides and rides on the miniature train from the Railroad Museum were also available."
Additionally, booths hosted hands-on activities, and a petting zoo, a rock wall, mechanical bull rides, and rides on the miniature train from the Railroad Museum were also available.
3. "The cottage was surrounded by 4' of water during Ike, though sustained only minor damage, another tribute to its endurance."
The cottage's minor damage despite being surrounded by 4' of water during Ike serves as another tribute to its endurance.
4. Jon Doe "has researched its history, with documents and news clippings about its ownership; a single woman owned the home from 1924 into the 1960s, who originally purchased it for $2200."
Jon Doe has researched its history through documents and newsclippings about its ownership; a single woman, who originally purchased it for $2,200, owned the home from 1924 into the 1960s.
5. "So much in common with its sister next door, a freak May windstorm in 2005 brought both places to their knees, knocking them off their piers."
In 2005, a freak May windstorm knocked both houses off their piers.
6. "A colleague with whom I work has chosen to change the building materials in her living area as a result of Ike's passage."
One of my colleagues chose to change the building materials in her living area because of Ike's passage.
7. "Restored cabins on the rim of the canyon and in the Cow Camp area for overnight accommodations."
Guests can stay overnight in restored cabins near the canyon rim and in the Cow Camp.
8. "The Pratt Welcome Center and Gift Shop are where the Garden experience begins offering restroom facilities, meeting spaces, information, refreshments, great garden inspired gifts, and friendly docents."
The Garden experience begins at the Pratt Welcome Center and Gift Shop that offers friendly docents, information, great garden-inspired gifts, refreshments, meeting spaces, and restroom facilities.
9. "Currently there are 10 award winning beaches of which four can proudly fly the prestigious 'Blue Flag Award.'"
Four of our ten award-winning beaches proudly fly the prestigious 'Blue Flag Award.'
10. "Each time I drive past these facilities, I get excited knowing many generations of children will be impacted within the walls of these buildings."
Each time I drive past these facilities, I get exciting knowing that the activities within will influence generations of children.
Monday, August 10, 2009
This book was published in 1986, so some of the information is dated, including computer-related slang, but it still provides a detailed and well-written overview of the history of the English language, and readers will enjoy finding examples of their own region's speech, as I did in Dan Rather's description of dropping his regional accent for work and pronouncing ten with the standard pronunication instead of the regional tin.
The Story of English. McCrum, Robert, William Cran, Robert MacNeil. New York: Viking, 1986.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Once Saved Always Saved??? by Steve Cordle
Steve Cordle's book is both a refutation of the once saved/always saved teaching and a study of the book of Hebrews. He does not go through the book chronologically but discusses the details of his topic, including overconfidence, neglecting spiritual growth and faith, the importance of having a submissive heart, confidence in God's care for us, and restoring the fallen. Illustrations from Scripture give readers a reference point for independent study and illustrations from contemporary life help reinforce his thesis.
And now for this week's Friday fun . . . a literary quiz . . . .
Literary Quiz--J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
1. What's the name of Harry's owl?
2. What color is Hagrid's umbrella?
3. Who runs the ice cream shop in Diagon Alley?
4. Who cast the Dark Mark at the World Cup Quidditch match?
5. What happened to Aunt Marge?
6. What is the name of Fred and George Weasley's shop in Diagon Alley?
7. Who did Hermione discover was an unregistered animagus?
8. What's Ginny and Hermione's nickname for Fleur?
9. Who did Harry drink Polyjuice Potion to turn into at Bill and Fleur's wedding?
10. Who were Harry and Ginny's children named after?
Once again, the first person to send in the correct answers receives one hour of free copyediting on anything except homework!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"Tropical plants have fascinated us for years. They have been brought from other hot and humid parts of the world tempting local gardeners to give them a try in their own gardens and indeed many will not only thrive but will flourish with a little effort and even gentle care.
Tropical flowers are blessed with their own unique beauty. Most are highly colorful, showy and bright and pink varieties seem to be the most popular. Tropical flowers grow best in well-drained areas with plenty of sunshine. Pink tropical plants for zone nine include . . . [chart follows]."
The first paragraph ends with information about the care that tropical plants need. The reader expects the next paragraph to pick up that idea and contain information on how to care for those plants. But it begins with how beautiful they are, and only gets to the growing needs in the third sentence. Some arrangement is necessary, and actually the two paragraphs can be combined:
Tropical plants have fascinated us for years. They have been brought from other hot and humid parts of the world, blessed with their own unique beauty and tempting local gardeners to give them a try in their own gardens. Most are highly colorful--showy and bright and pink varieties seem to be the most popular. Many will not only thrive but will flourish with a little effort and even gentle care. They grow best in well-drained areas with plenty of sunshine.
When editing for cohesion, remember that paragraphs and even sentences can be combined to make the ideas and the sentences fit correctly.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
1. "The comfortable home is appointed with upholstered pieces of the period; his and hers chairs with finely carved wood trim in the front parlor room, mating tufted chaise lounges in a sitting room upstairs."
The comfortable home is appointed with upholstered pieces of the period: his and hers chairs with finely carved wood trim in the front parlor room, mating tufted chaise lounges in a sitting room upstairs.
2. "Be Safe on the Water is not just a catch phrase; it can be the difference between life and death."
Be Save on the Water is not just a catch phrase--it can be the difference between life and death.
3. "Very popular as a holiday gift plant the Kalanchoe blooms remain attractive through spring."
Very popular as a holiday gift plant, the Kalanchoe blooms remain attractive through spring.
4. "For nearly a thousand years this was both Minster Abbey and Minster parish church, but today it is one building."
For nearly a thousand years, this was both Minster Abbey and Minster parish church, but today it is one building.
5. "But the most obvious sign that summer is just around the corner, the lifeguard towers have been put back on the beach."
But the most obvious sign that summer is just around the corner--the lifeguard towers have been put back on the beach.
6. "So, if the layout of your rooms no longer suits you - if you had a formal living room and an adjacent formal dining room pre-Ike, but you and your family prefer - are more comfortable with - a large informal gethering space, consider making a change."
So if the layout of your rooms no longer suits you, if you had a formal living room and an adjacent formal dining room pre-Ike but you and your family prefer--are more comfortable with--a large, informal gathering place, consider making a change.
7. "The reverse image of its sister's stairwell graces the center of the house, this one decorated with a large multi-colored stained glass window, on which sash weights and cables have been replaced."
The reverse image of its sister's stairwell graces the center of the house, this one decorated with a large multi-colored stained glass window on which sash weights and cables have been replaced.
8. "Here, you'll discover one of the world's most beautiful natural wonders; giant columns stretching from floor to ceiling, delicate soda straws glistening with minerals, tiny cave pearls hidden in crystal-clear water."
Here you'll discover one of the world's most beautiful natural wonders: giant columns stretching from floor to ceiling, delicate soda straws glistening with minerals, tiny cave pearls hidden in crystal-clear water.
9. "This is a unique opportunity to discover the substantial Roman, Saxon and Medieval remains beneath Chester."
This is a unique opportunity to discover substantial Roman, Saxon, and Medieval remains beneath Chester.
10. "The murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on the instructions of Henry II in 1170, was a defining moment for Christianity in England, and specifically Kent."
The murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on the instructions of Henry II in 1170 was a defining moment for Christianity in England and specifically Kent.
Many of these sentences could be improved in other ways, but I'll save those for another blog.
Monday, August 3, 2009
This book is business-like in tone but not offputting. The business writing-specific information, especially the examples of jargon, and exercises in the appendices are particularly helpful. This is also a good reference book for those details of usage that are difficult to remember.
Murdock, Michael L. Writing Clearly and Effectively. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Transemantics Incorporated, 1987.
Friday, July 31, 2009
1. Change the word demonstrate into a shorter word.
2. Change the phrase in view of the fact to one word
3. Rewrite Thank you for your description of the merchandise.
4. Change to a positive statement or question All staff members are directed to report to the meeting at 4:00 sharp.
5. Choose the correct word and rewrite the following: His opposition to the proposals (convinces, convince) me that they are weak.
6. Correct the following sentence for correct grammar and conciseness: Accomplishment of only minimal progress was achieved by the company because the company was a victim of poor examples.
7. Correct any grammar errors in the following sentence: The used car only had miner problems.
8. Correct the punctuation problem in the following sentence: Strike three youre out
9. Correct any grammar errors in the following sentence: Martha must have forgot to pay the electric bill.
10. Correct any errors in grammar and clarity in the following sentence: The reason for his poor performance is because of the fact that he is lazy.
Remember, the first person who sends in correct quiz answers will receive one hour copyediting free--that's a $25 value!
Murdock, Michael L. Writing Clearly and Effectively. Washington, D.C.: Transemantics Incorporated, 1987.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Estes, Eleanor. Pinky Pye. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1986.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
1. "The Nature Center on the north side has been turned into a Welcome Center manned by volunteers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday."
The north side's Nature Center is now a Welcome Center staffed by volunteers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
2. "Sixty of the 150 original beachside camp sites have been salvaged fronting the road that runs east-west."
Sixty of the original beachside campsites fronting the east-west road have been salvaged.
3. "Or, take your kitchen, for example."
Consider your kitchen.
4. "Oak kitchen cabinetry reaches to high ceilings, and a hanging pot rack above accents a large central island, also of Ipe wood."
Oak kitchen cabinetry reaches to high celings, and a haning pot rack above accents a large central Ipe wood island.
5. "Wildlife is abundant in the rolling hills surrounding the cave, providing you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a whitetail deer, turkey, or other Ozarks' wildlife."
The rolling hills surrounding the cave provide you with glimpses of whitetail deer, turkey, or other Ozark wildlife.
6. "In addition to the three major lakes in our rea, anglers also have the opportunity to fish for rainbow trout in the clear waters of Spring Creek in Tuscumbia."
Besides our area's three major lakes, Anglers can also fish for rainbow trout in the clear waters of Tuscumbia's Spring Creek.
7. "At KA-DO-HA Indian Village, you will be able to gaze backward into time and see beautifully molded and decorated pottery, pipes and expertly chipped flint, all fashioned by hand by these artistic people."
At KA-DO-HA Indian Village, you will gaze back in time and see beautifully molded and decorated pottery, pipes, and expertly chipped flint, all hand-crafted by these artistic people.
8. "The Beck Building galleries are classically proportioned and designed as a vast sweep of rooms that lead from one collection specialty to the next."
The classically proportioned Beck Building galleries lead from one collection speciality to the next.
9. "The most complete collection in the world of Mr. Handy's personal papers and artifacts are housed in the museum."
The museum houses the complete collection of Mr. Handy's personal papers and artifacts.
10. "Deva is the Roman fortress built almost 2,000 years ago which now lies buried beneath the hustle and bustle of modern day Chester."
Deva, the Roman fortress built almost 2,000 years ago, lies buried beneath the hustle and bustle of modern Chester.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
When you finish correcting any problems in the details, go back and look for global problems--lack of cohesion, an introduction that doesn't quite work, transitions that don't bridge from one idea to the next very well, a conclusion that stops abruptly or trails off, lack of organization of ideas, a change in tone, wandering verb tenses or an inconsistent use of pronouns, etc.--then fix those, and after that, give the whole thing a once over in case you missed something.
Monday, July 27, 2009
As in the rest of the book, Altick gears his information to scholars and critics, particularly of literature, but this chapter focuses on the act of composition itself. Altick encourages readers to write lucidly and gives examples of what to do and what not to do. He discusses introductions, transitions, conclusions, organization, and, because he is writing to people who use secondary information, quotation and documentation. He cautions against rambling: "Say what you have to say, and when you've said it, quit" (Altick 210). He reminds his readers to think of their readers: "Never leave the reader uncertain to your--and his--destination or the relevance of each statement to your purpose . . . The sentences and paragraphs should fit as tightly as the teeth of a zipper" (Altick 213). He reminds writers to rewrite for clarity in their thinking and their writing because "it sharpens insight into the meaning of what has been said, suggests new sources of data, perhaps makes it possible to extend the argument a further step" (Altick 214). His concluding sentences on conclusions is a good example of his subject: "Instead, it should sum up without seeming to do so; it should be a coda, not an abstract, and it should leave the reader with a satisfying sense of gain--new information acquired, an enlarged historical apprehension, a stimulating critical perception" (Altick 218). Altick finishes up with four useful reminders for all writers:
"1. Accuracy of facts.
2. Soundess of reasoning.
3. Clear explanation of the topic's significance.
4. Unaffected, terse, LUCID prose" (229).
Altick, Richard D. The Art of Literary Research. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981.
Last Lines Quiz Answers
1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
2. Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson
3. Emma by Jane Austen
4. The Egoist by George Eliot
5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
6. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
7. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
8. Step To The Music by Phyllis A. Whitney
9. Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
10. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Friday, July 24, 2009
2. Then everybody began to talk in a great hurry.
3. But, in spite of these deficiencies, the wishes, the hopes, the confidence, the predictions of the small band of true friends who witnessed the ceremony, were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union.
4. But taking a glance at the others of her late company of actors, she compresses her lips.
5. I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists has risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.
6. Perhaps, so she liked to think, his career was biding its time, again like Grant's in Galena; his latest note was post-marked from Hornell, New York, which is some distance from Geneva and a very small town; in any case he is almost certainly in that section of the country, in one town or another.
7. The outlet to Deception Pass closed forever.
8. And now there was a special rhythm to their walk, as if they kept step with faraway music.
9. And over the river in the purple durance the echoes bided their time.
10. In your rocking chair, by your window, shall you dream such happiness as you may never feel.
Remember, the first person to send in the correct answers will receive one hour of free copyediting--that's a $25 value!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
From Design To Eternity: Thoughts To Consider As Life Progresses
In Hausmann’s From Design To Eternity: Thoughts To Consider As Life Progresses, he writes from a solid Biblical foundation on such topics as the origin of the universe, the unity of the Godhead, the authority of the Bible, salvation, men’s roles, women’s roles, worship, baptism, faith, maturity, and problems encountered in life and other topics. He covers each topic with tract-like economy, spending one-to-two-and-a-half pages on each topic and finishing with a question for readers to ponder in view of their own life. The information he provides is enough to answer basic questions while guiding the reader to the Bible for more detailed discussion and instruction.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"Probably your friend will put your letter away, and it'll be read again a few years from now--and it will improve with age. And forty years from now, your friend's grandkids will dig it out of the attic and read it, a sweet and precious relic of the ancient eighties that gives them a sudden clear glimpse of you and her and the world we old-timers knew. You will then have created an object of art. Your simple lines about where you went, who you saw, what they said, will speak to those children and they will feel in their hearts the humanity of our times.
You can't pick up a phone and call the future and tell them about our times. You have to pick up a piece of paper" (140).
Keillor, Garrison. "How To Write A Letter." We Are Still Married. New York: Viking, 1989.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
"Different subjects call for different approaches. Your job is to present your material in the way that serves it best: to find the right voice and the right framework. Maybe you should be strongly present in your story; maybe not. Usually the material tells you at the start how it wants to be narrated. But after that the writer must be in charge, shaping and organizing. Organizing is the most unsung and untaught of the writing skills, but it's just as important as knowing how to write a clear and pleasing sentence. All your clear and pleasing sentences will add up to chaos if you don't keep remembering that writing is linear and sequential, that logic is the glue that holds it together, that tension must be maintained between every sentence and every paragraph, and that narrative--good old-fashioned storytelling--is what should pull the reader along without his ever noticing the tug. The only thing the reader should notice, subconsciously, is that you have made a sensible plan for the trip and know where you're going. Every step should be inevitable" (Zinsser 244).
Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990.
Monday, July 20, 2009
With grace, elegance, and the conversational tone welcome from his other books, William Zinsser takes us to his offices at the New York Herald Tribune, at home, Yale, the Book-of-the-Month Club, rented rooms in New York Business buildings, and abroad as we follow his progress as writer and teacher. But this is more than a memoir, more than travel writing, more than an introduction to On Writing Well. We learn about the writer and the writing--the relationship to readers, the subject, and writing process as the writer works and the craft itself that comes down to language and its use, no matter what technology we employ.
Zinsser, William. Writing Places: The Life Journey of a Writer and Teacher. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
Answers to the First Lines Quiz
1. Romola by George Eliot
2. Howard's End by E.M. Forster
3. The Star of Gettysburg by Joseph A. Altsheler
4. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
5. The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
8. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
9. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
10. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The first person to send in correct answers to next Friday's quiz wins a free hour of copyediting on anything that is not homework!
Friday, July 17, 2009
1. "More than three centuries and a half ago, in the mid springtime of 1492, we are sure that the angel of the dawn, as he travelled with broad slow wing from the Levant to the Pillars of Hercules, and from the summits of the Caucasus across all the snowy Alpine ridges to the dark nakedness of the Western isles, saw nearly the same outline of firm land and unstable sea--saw the same great mountain shadows on the same valleys as he has seen today--saw olive mounts, and pine forests, and the broad plains green with young corn or rain-freshened grass--saw domes and spires of cities rising by the river-sides or mingled with the sedge-like masts on the many-curved sea-coast, in the same spots where they rise today."
2. "One may as well begin with Helen's letter to her sister."
3. "A youth sat upon a log by a clear stream in the Valley of Virginia, mending clothes."
4. "At the top of Agency Hill, Betsy Ray turned Old Mag off the road into the shade of an elm."
5. "This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child."
6. "Buck Mulligan came from a stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed."
7. "I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England."
8. "There are some fields near Manchester, well known to the inhabitants as 'Green Heys Fields,' through which runs a public footpath to the little village about two miles distant."
9. "Of late years, an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the north of England: they lie very thick on the hills; every parish has one or more of them; they are young enough to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good."
10. "On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
"At last came a time when The-Man-Of-The-Place proposed that we add another box room with a stairway, a loft and a fireplace. He could get most of the materials from the farm, he said, so it would not be very expensive.
But someway the idea did not appeal to me. I could do very well with two boxes, but two were enough. As usual when we disagree, The-Man-Of-The-Place and I talked it out. There was material on the farm to build any kind of a house, I argued, so why not build a real house instead of an addition that would make it look like a town house in the poorer suburbs? That kind didn't belong on a farm, I insisted. It wouldn't look right among the trees, with the everlasting hills around it" (Wilder 53).
In this example, no words are repeated, but with the word idea, the subject is, and so the transition from the paragraph about one way to make the place they lived in more liveable to the paragraph about building a house from the start is made, and made smoothly.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. A Little House Reader: A Collection of Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder. William Anderson, ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Return to Gone-Away picks up the story of the Blake and Jarman families and their friends as the surprise of the earlier book yields more adventures at Gone-Away. Better still, the adventures lead to a mystery that promises an even better surprise.
I also recommend Elizabeth Enright's The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spider Web For Two.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"The first two blogs were written at the computer. The first was about the copyediting blog and copyediting in general. The second discussed the reasons for copyediting and included the G3/FBurney conversation about proofing from The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes and two samples of my copyediting work. The third blog will be a review of the book The Elements of Style. The next will be a book review. I'm not sure about the rest. I know I want to discuss the two Zinsser books I have, plus the Gordon books, and Altick. I'm also going to include the book reviews/evaluations of the Star books I've reviewed/evaluated. And then other books. And then I also want to discuss writing and why it's not just for English majors and how you need to know how to write a good resume, cover letter, thank you for the interview letter, and now no matter what sort of job you have, you might need to write something . . . casual writing is fine for e-mails and letters to friends and relatives i.e. writing that uses slang or abbreviations or dialect words, but for formal things like job application letters, etc., you need to learn to write Standard English. I could also blog about diff aspects of writing, the nuts and bolts of it--what makes a good sentence, sentence variety, diff sorts of problems like grammatical errors, syntax errors, word usage/language awareness errors, then go on to discuss errors of cohension and organization, etc. . . . anything that'd crop up in an English Comp class, and all this interspersed with book reviews. First I'll use the reviews of Star books interspersed w/ reviews on writing, then I'll go on to other books like my favorite kids' books authors--Wilder, Lovelace, Montgomery, Enright, Alcott, Estes, Lenski--and then review more writing/grammar books, and then other books like Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling, the Brontës, Eliot, etc., history books, etc. I need to organize topics/days of the week, though."
Don't worry about anything in brainstorming, except perhaps being able to read your handwriting or making sure you saved the file . . . just get your ideas written down so you'll have some basic information for reference when you start writing.
Monday, July 13, 2009
William Zinsser's On Writing Well
William Zinsser instructs readers on different types of writing and grammar rules while taking them through the writing process from first idea to finished product. In Part I: Principles, he focuses on the aspects of composition applicable to any type of writing, including the relationship between writers and readers, conciseness, and word usage. Part II: Forms covers the larger concerns such as the introduction and the conclusion and different types of subjects, including regional, science, business, sports, and criticism. Part III: Attitudes emphasizes what happens after writers finish the first draft as he gives instruction and reassurance on word processor use during the rewriting process, how writers can trust their material to tell them when to omit passages, and details on the decision-making process. Throughout the book he uses examples to illustrate his instructions and explains them well. Some examples are from writing read by everyone on occasion, such as workplace memos, and others from specific works. Zinsser has new ideas for the readers but he gives these in a conversational "we're learning together" tone that, along with the information itself, makes this book helpful to anyone who wants to learn to write well.
Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990.
Friday, July 10, 2009
1.Translate this group of words into one word: due to the fact that
2. Rewrite by reducing or rearranging words: The order for Model X2 may have been misplaced by the Shipping Department, which is sometimes overloaded with orders during the first week of the month, and the overloading causes confusion among the employees there.
The confused Shipping Department employees, overwhelmed by orders, may have misplaced the Model X2 order.
3. Make the following sentence into a positive statment or question: Are you concerned about your sloppy, ungrammatical writing?
Make sure you write grammatically and concisely.
4. Rewrite the following sentence to correct errors in grammar and clarity: The sloppiness of her work was a specific factor cited as a reason for her dismissal.
They dismissed her because of sloppy work.
5. Correct any errors in this sentence: Will you wave your rights to keep the boundary line?
Will you waive your rights to keep the boundary line?
6. Correct the punctuation: Stop the meeting Its break time
Stop the meeting. It's break time.
7. Correct the wrong word: His mood on Friday had an affect on his productivity.
On Friday his mood had an effect on his productivity.
8. According to our records we are in receipt of your letter under date of July 8.
Our records show we received your July 8 letter.
9. Your appointment waiting to see you.
Your appointment is waiting to see you.
10. There is an air conditioner in the office, so the air keeps cool and fresh.
The office air conditioner keeps the air cool and fresh.
Murdock, Michael L. Writing Clearly and Effectively. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Transemantics Incorporated.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
To explain, I use an example from G.K. Chesterton's The Victorian Age in Literature in which he discusses Charlotte Brontë and her novel Jane Eyre. But if you haven't read the novel, you'll want to skip the following paragraph and the rest of this blog entry because there are spoilers--I'll be writing more about good paragraphs in another blog entry, so check back next week for more information about why good paragraphs are good.
"In any case, it is Charlotte Brontë who enters Victorian literature. The shortest way of stating her strong contribution is, I think, this: that she reached the highest romance through the lowest realism. She did not set out with Amadis of Gaul in a forest or with Mr. Pickwick in a comic club. She set out with herself, with her own dingy clothes, and accidental ugliness, and flat, coarse, provincial household; and forcibly fused all such muddy materials into a spirited fairy-tale. If the first chapters on the home and school had not proved how heavy and hateful sanity can be, there would really be less point in the insanity of Mr. Rochester's wife--or the not much milder insanity of Mrs. Rochester's husband. She discovered the secret of hiding the sensational in the commonplace; and Jane Eyre remains the best of her books (better even than Villette), because while it is a human document written in blood, it is also one of the best blood-and-thunder detective stories in the world" (Chesterton, G.K. The Victorian Age in Literature, 49).
Chesterton simply writes of Charlotte Brontë's importance to Victorian literature and he could have done so this way--
Charlotte Brontë was important to Victorian literature because she combined romance and realism. She did not use romance like is discussed in the story of Amadis of Gaul or realism like in Dicken's The Pickwick Papers. She was from a humble background and started with that in her writing. Her novel Jane Eyre begins with realism about Jane's home and school, then switches to romance at Thornfield Hall and pure excitement when she writes about how Mr. Rochester is married already and that his wife is insane. This combination and contrast of the commonplace and sensational makes her works special, particularly Jane Eyre because even though it talks about things that people can relate to, like difficulty at school, there is also the detective story aspect when we find out what is really in the third story of Thornfield Hall.
But he didn't, fortunately for him and the rest of us.
The paragraph works as Chesterton wrote it because of its transition in the thesis sentence and the imagination with which he elaborates on the thesis. He begins his explanation of Charlotte Brontë's importance by using a sentence with an active verb, "reached," and describing what was reached--"the highest romance through the lowest realism," while employing the implied metaphor of a journey (Chesterton 49). Then he goes on to define that by continuing with the journey metaphor with "She did not set out," and by setting up a contrast through references to the romantic story Amadis of Gaul and the prosaic Mr. Pickwick of Dickens' The Pickwick Papers. From there he takes the information back to Brontë to explain in a few details her own prosaic background that makes her venture into romance surprising, and all the more because she used herself and her background as not only the starting point for romance but the origin. Then Chesterton turns to the book itself and the realism and romance within it, again using contrasts to show how those instances of prose and romance work together to make the novel effective. After those details, he sums up Brontë's writing in general and her novel in particular, contrasting again the prose and romance in the work though in different words that reinforce the paragraph's theme: "because while it is a human document written in blood, it is also one of the best blood-and-thunder detective stories in the world" (Chesterton 49). It's not difficult to see how metaphor, allusions, vivid description, a careful use of comparison-contrast structure, and imagination makes this paragraph cohere much better than my imagination-less rewriting.
Chesterton, G. K. The Victorian Age in Literature. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
In Certain Victory, Dr. J. C. Davis writes of Jesus’ Second Coming and the certain victory that Christians will have on that day. He carefully goes through the Scriptures, putting them in proper context, as he discusses the general topic and subtopics. He begins by introducing the topic in general, then goes on in successive chapters to discuss the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that brings to Christians, and how the Scriptures refute false teaching of the Rapture, Premillenialism, the Thousand-Year Reign and the man-made religion of Islam. In the next few chapters he discusses heaven and hell, four views of hell and what the Scriptures teach, what heaven will be like, gospel certainties, and how Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
This book seems to be based on a series of sermons because it is repetitive in spots and conversational in tone, but those things aren’t a drawback: the repetitions only impress on the reader what has been discussed and the conversational tone makes the subject matter and author more approachable--it is like the author is speaking directly to the reader, kindly and seriously. Another thing that makes the book helpful is its focus on Scripture. Davis uses hardly any secondary sources to make his point. He also turns to the original text, but in a matter of fact way and using transliteration rather than the words in the Greek alphabet; the reader will not be intimidated.
Several things make this book helpful and necessary--his focus on Scripture that draws people back to the Bible, his timely discussion of end times and Islam, the explanation of Greek words, his discussion of heaven and certainties, and his emphasis on knowing Jesus as opposed to simply knowing about Jesus.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Well, we need to--for school, obviously, since so much homework involves writing, but there is also work. We need to learn to write an effective resume, cover letter, thank-you-for-the-interview letter, and any other writing involved in the job search. We also need to learn to write for the job, because no matter what sort of job we have, there's the possibility of having to write something, be it memo, report, or presentation, and poor writing skills will not impress our employer, no matter our talent for our particular job. It is fine to use slang, abbreviation, or dialect words in e-mails or letters to friends--I certainly do--but when it comes to formal occasions, we need to know how to write Standard English, just like we need to learn how to speak Standard English on formal occasions such as job interviews, meetings, etc.
Monday, July 6, 2009
P.S. E.B. White . . . yes, it's that E.B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and
The Trumpet of the Swan :)
Bibliographic information: Strunk, William, Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd edition. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1979.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Whether one arrives by car bus, plain, train or boat, the skiline will took your breath away. A single visit to New york will tell you why the city is both loved. And hated by so many people. And the streets seem so durty. cans and bags and newspapers lay in the guters an on the sidwalks, or somtimes fly acros you’re path. even the people who do not speek English won’t smile or say excuse me or give one good directions. The thril will only be hightened when you walk. Down the canyons formed by skyscrapers. look in the shop windows. go to the theatre, or a museum. stroll in the nayborhoods where no one speeks english. You starts to notise the noise of trafic and get annoyed at crowds. But all is not perfect--far form it. You has the same love-hate feelings as everyone else does. after a few days, when you’re reactions balance out.
In the revision, I have corrected the problems, including the global ones:
Edited and Revised
A single visit to New York will tell you why the city is both loved and hated by so many people. Whether you arrive by car, bus, plane, train, or boat, the skyline will take your breath away. The thrill will only be heightened when you walk down the canyons formed by skyscrapers. Look in the shop windows. Go to the theatre or a museum. Stroll in the neighborhoods where no one speaks English.
But all is not perfect--far from it. You start to notice the noise of traffic and get annoyed at crowds. Even the people who do not speak English will not smile or say "Excuse me." The streets seem so dirty. Cans, bags, and newspapers lie in the gutters, on the sidewalks, or sometimes fly across your path. When your reactions balance out after a few days, you have the same love-hate feelings as everyone else does.
So when you ask someone to copyedit your work or if you are copyediting someone else's work, remember to look for these global errors and correct them, for the writer's and readers' benefit.
Unfortunately I cannot remember the source of this editing sample, though I think I received it years ago from someone who taught composition.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
"GEORGE III ON PROOF-READING
The king had some valuable advice for the diarist and author Fanny Burney.
He laughed; and enquired who corrected my proofs?
'Only myself,' I answered.
'Why, some authors have told me that they are the last to do that work for themselves. They know so well by heart what ought to be, that they run on without seeing what is. They have told me, besides, that a mere plodding head is best and surest . . . and that the livelier the imagination, the less it should be trusted to. Madame d'Arblay, VI" (Longford 317).
Now, whatever you think about George III, he was right about proofing: "They know so well by heart what ought to be, that they run on without seeing what is" (Burney, qtd. in Longford 317). We know what we want to say, and our mind slots it in without us realizing it, so it is very difficult to proof what we've written and we always need someone else to read our work.
Copyediting is also important, and to begin I use more secondary information (with some names changed) in the form of a letter some friends received when they lived in an apartment and gave to me because they knew I could use it:
Dear Sir or Madam:
As we all know the Village at Central Park is a beautiful apartment complex which offers many amenities. However, one deficiency in the apartments is affecting most of us almost daily; the shower heads are positioned below most people’s heads, which makes taking a shower incredibly awkward and uncomfortable, compels the user to bend down and thus may cause back ache.
We, Bendi-stretch Advantage Company, feel that we have found a practical, inexpensive solution to this problem. We have developed a new, useful shower extension which was designed to free the user from the unhealthy necessity to bend down while taking a shower. Now, the user has the choice and flexibility to adjust the shower head height to his/her individual need.
We are happy to offer you this quality item absolutely free of charge for 5 days in your own shower. This free distribution is a part of our marketing research plan which is done in order to elect the correct marketing strategy for our newest product, understand our important customer needs and improve our quality service.
If you are interested in taking advantage if this exclusive offer, we will place our unique shower extension in your shower and will provide you with a market research questionaire to answer about your personal experience with it. The product placement procedure takes just a few minutes.
For showing you our great appreciation for trying our product and helping us conduct our marketing research, we will also give you a free gift out of a variety you can choose from.
To gain all these benefits, all you have to do is to call us at (817) 555-71 11 in order to set up the installment at a time convenient to you. If, after trying the shower extension, you decide to keep it, you will be elegible to own it for its wholesale price which is below similar but not identical products in the market. For this market research we need only a limited number of applicants. If we have covered our limit by the time you contact us, plese accept our apology. However, for such occurences we keep extra free gifts and we will happily give you the free gift mentioned above just because we appreciate your interest.
We thank you very much for your cooperation and are very confident that you will benefit greatly from this highly useful product.
Thank you again.
Bendi-stretch Advantage Research
It is difficult to copyedit what we've written, even for those of us who have writing skills, and not everyone has the same skills, so we need someone to look at our work to make sure it is clear and concise for the readers. The following revision of the "Bendi-stretch" letter shows how copyediting works:
Edited and Revised
The Village at Central Park Apartments provides many comforts and amenities for its residents. However, there is one problem that affects us on a regular basis: improperly positioned shower heads.
We developed a practical, inexpensive solution to this problem: the “Bendi-stretch Shower Head Extension.” This flexible shower head adjusts to any height and thus frees you from the bending and stretching that can cause backache.
We want to offer you the use of this product free for 5 days, with free installation provided at your convenience. We request that you fill out the accompanying questionnaire; customer feedback helps up fulfill customer needs for quality goods and services.
To show our appreciation for your participation, we give you the choice of a free gift from our catalogue.
To set up an appointment for installation of the “Bendi-stretch Shower Extension,” call us at (817) 555-7111. If, after 5 days of free use, you decide you want to keep this product, you can purchase it at the wholesale price.
Only a few applications are needed. If the number is filled when you contact us, please accept our apology and choose a free gift from our catalogue in appreciation for your interest.
We hope you will take this opportunity to try the “Bendi-stretch Shower Extension.”
Bendi-stretch Advantage Research
I'll let the example speak for itself. I know that we're apt to "File Thirteen" any direct mail, but we never know if something might be read, and since we never know, we need copyeditors to look over our work to make sure there aren't any problems or to solve any problems that are there.
Longford, Elizabeth, ed. The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
My interest in good communication for readers began in childhood, though I did not realize it then. When I wasn't with family or friends or watching tv, I was reading, and that was simply another form of entertainment. I read the My Book House Books series my parents bought for me at the State Fair, and kids' books--fiction and biography--with an occasional foray into the World Book Encyclopedia just for a change. Later I moved on to young adult fiction, more non-fiction while continuing with biographies, and poetry and plays. All that reading gave me a knowledge and instinct for what makes a good sentence and a not-so-good sentence, a knowledge and instinct for what readers should expect out of whatever they happen to be reading. Later on, my schooling gave me more knowledge and more practice writing, which also helped. I really don't remember what I copyedited first. But I soon realized that I loved that task.
Why do I love copyediting? Besides making sure a text communicates properly, my love for copyediting has to do with the creativity and problem-solving mystery of it all. Now, problems like subject-verb agreement or typos are clear cut--you fix the agreement, retype the word correctly, and that's it. But if a sentence is really snarled, or there are what one of my profs called "wandering verb tenses," or the pronouns go from singular to plural and back again, there's more than one way to fix the problem, and that's where the creativity and problem-solving mystery of it comes in. It's like, perhaps more prosaically, fixing a plumbing problem or filling the potholes in a road. It's like carving out what's unnecessary, to reveal the text. It's like putting a puzzle together and being able to change the pieces without changing the picture. It's challenging, creative, and fun.
But that's not all there is to it. Read this blog tomorrow for why copyediting is important. And have a good day!