Issue For December 9, 2004
Writing Question of the Week
I'm having trouble with "gerunds." What exactly is a gerund? --Cathy Ward, Florence, AL
A gerund is a verb that is functions as a noun in a sentence. They invariably end with an -ing. Here's a few examples:
Running was my sister's number one sport!
In the above example, "running" is the subject of the verb "was."
You can find out all you need to know about Gerunds by visiting "The Gerund" website: http://chompchomp2.com/gbfree/terms/gerund.htm --Chris Berry, Owl Coordinator
The OWL Help Nest
Each week we'll publish a request for advice or information. If you wish to contribute a response to the topic, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know if you want us to include your name and/or your email address when we publish your response. The following week, we'll publish the best information and advice that we receive in the newsletter. If you have a question for our readers, please send it to us at email@example.com.
Last Week's Questions
Question #1: Now that the election season has wrapped up, I'm trying to reevaluate how I teach political subjects in my introductory composition class, without becoming confrontational or being accused of being biased. Does anyone have any methods for teaching political discourse in composition in a way that challenges but doesn't anger students? Is such a thing possible?
Answer: My favored way of engaging students in political discourse is to frame the assignment as a critical thinking exercise in which the students must analyze a major political party's positions from the perspective of one of the more minority political parties (Libertarian, Green, Natural Law, and etc.) Though several students still find the assignment questionable, there are far fewer problems with their suspecting bias on my part. (Anonymous)
Question #2 I'm curious to know whether readers of this newsletter use the grammar checker on Microsoft Word. Does anyone find this useful? My grammar is sort of shakey, I know. But sometimes I feel like I write correct sentences and word thinks they're incorrect.
Answer: Egads! The grammar checker in MS Word is terrible. I almost never rely on it for anything, and always suggest to my students that they turn it off. (The same cannot be said of spell checking, which I find reasonably accurate if the students are using the correct word. It still won't help them, of course, if they're spelling the wrong word correctly.) I really suggest going with your instincts rather than using Word's grammar checker. (Chris Berry, OWL Coordinator)
What's Happening on OWL
- OWL Eye on...Possible New Formats for OWL News? As part of the ongoing (and so far, completely invisible!) redesign of the Purdue OWL, we're looking to change the way the OWL News is presented, its content, and how its loyal readers like you participate in its construction. We welcome your ideas for changing up OWL News -- send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye on...Grammar Hotline One of the many services the Purdue Writing Lab offers the world community is a grammar hotline, which has even fielded questions from researchers for game shows, including Who Wants to be a Millionaire! Feel free to call us with your burning questions at (765) 494-3723. The grammar hotline is open during normal Lab hours while classes are in session: 9AM-6PM EST Monday through Thursday, and 9AM-1PM on Fridays.
- OWL Eye on...End of the Semester in the Writing Lab Tutoring ends for Fall Semester 2004 at noon Friday; the Lab will be open during Finals Week for students to take advantage of our computers & reference library. Good luck on your finals!
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