Issue For October 29, 2004
Writing Question of the Week
I was wondering how you'd cite something from a dictionary? Thanks!
Answer: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers mentions the following about citing familiar reference books such as the dictionary or the encyclopaedia are.
"Treat [...] a dictionary entry as you would a piece in a collection, but do not cite the editor of the reference work. [...] if the dictionary arranges articles alphabetically, you may omit volume and page numbers" (160).
When citing a dictionary, do not give full publication information. List only the edition (if stated) and the year of publication.
Example: "Noon." _The Oxford English Dictionary_. 2nd ed. 1989.
Or if you are citing a specific definition, you should indicate the appropriate designation.
Example: "Noon." Def. 4b. _The Oxford English Dictionary_. 2nd ed. 1989.
The OWL Help Nest
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This Week's Questions and Answers
Question #1 In our study of the proper use of pronouns, the following question came up: What is the difference in meaning (if any) between the two sentences, "All of the employees should read their company manual," or "All employees should read their company manual." Is it more "modern" to avoid an "of the ..." phrase when possible? Paula Alves/Shasta College, CA
Answer: Literature in our present era favors concise writing. Even fiction writing favors the succinct. In any sentence you write, cut out the unnecessary. A basic rule is: mean what you say, say what you mean, and keep it brief. Exceptions exist.--Derrell B. Thomas, Freelance Writer
Question #2 How can I explain to my fifth grade ELL class the following:
Put the following sentences into the past tense.
1. We like to hear the bell ring for recess.
2. Mary blows the horn when she drives her car.
Nearly every student ansswered:
1. We liked to hear the bell rang for recess.
2. Mary blew the horn when she drived her car.
Answers: 1.We like to hear the bell ring for recess. When "hear" is combined with another verb, the other verb goes in the base form. Only the main verb, "like", is changed to a past form.
2.Mary blows the horn when she drives the car. Both actions take place simultaneously, so both verbs would be in the past tense.--Debbie Green (ESL teacher Ann Arbor)
This question made me ask "How would I explain this to myself?" and there was not an easy answer. The second sentence has the word "when" which could indicate a dependent clause and show that two actions took place at the same past time. "Mary blew the horn when she drove the car" would be an acceptable response to the question and show that Mary was probably an assertive, horn-blowing driver. The use of "drived" for "drove" seems to indicate lack of knowledge about some irregular past tense verbs. The first sentence does not have a conjunctive adverb, such as "when." If it did, it might be phrased "We liked it when the bell rang for recess" but the original version of sentence 1 could perhaps be explained as a colloquial expression. I am not sure that "ring" is a verb. It might be a shortened infinitive, without "to" or it might be a noun phrase.
The subjunctive voice is pretty much ignored in current writing instruction. Some handbooks don't even mention it; others as much as say, well, if you insist, then the subjunctive is used to show a condition which is not actually occurring, among other things. The example in the query seemed to refer to a situation which was not occurring since it was past, and which also was a bit nostalgic. It appears to be a present tense verb, but actually could be a verb in the subjunctive. Now, no reference which I have consulted has mentioned a nostalgic use of the subjunctive. It might be that the sentence cited omitted a subsequent dependent clause, such as "when I was in school" and that the "bell ring" might be a use of the subjunctive for a non-existing, past situation.
Can fifth graders understand something which does not exist? Yes. Can they feel nostalgia? Yes, albeit of a somewhat short sort. Is that a way to explain this unusual usage? Perhaps, but the subjunctive in English might be obsolete when the 10 year olds are 20, in 2014 or so.--Joseph (Jay) Howard, Ed.D., Community College of Philadelphia
What's Happening on OWL
- OWL Eye on...Technology Problems at Purdue The OWL News has been off the radar for the last few weeks because of severe security problems here at Purdue, problems severe enough that we actually made CNN.com's headlines. Check out http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/internet/10/22/us.purduehack.ap/index.html. We hope to have Purdue OWL News back on track from now through the end of the semester. Thanks for your patience and concern as we worked through these problems.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye on...November Workshops
Tuesdays at 12:30-1:20
- 11/2 - Research and the Internet
- 11/9 - Organizing your Argument
- 11/16 - Sentence Clarity and Combining
- 11/23 - Proofreading Strategies
- 11/30 - Using APA
- 11/3 - Visual Rhetoric (In the DLC/Hicks Undergraduate Library)
- 11/10 - Writing literary analysis
- 11/17 - PowerPoint
- 11/24 - **Thanksgiving Break**
- 12/1 - Using MLA
- OWL Eye on...ESL Conversation Groups Please join us for English conversation in the Lab! Fall 2004 M 1:30-2:30, Tu/Th: 4:30-5:30, W: 11:00-noon, F: 11:30-12:30
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