Issue For September 22, 2004
Writing Question of the Week
I've just bought Ed McBain's latest hit, whose title is THE FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH. I asked my teacher, what "frumious" meant, and the same for "Bandersnatch," but she didn't know. She supposes they are some kind of invented words, so told me to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, where I found nothing as well. Could you help me in any way?--A Student in Italy
"Frumious" and "bandersnatch" are both nonsense words invented by Lewis Carroll in his poem, Jabberwocky. You can find Carroll's poem at http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html. It's a very famous poem; but the words are mostly invented (and have no definition, alas!)
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: Is it proper to use an exclamation point as in the sentence, "Mom! What's for dinner?" Does this make the sentence complete or should there be a comma after mom. I'd appreciate hearing from you. -- Glen Mayberry
Answer: Mom! with an exclamation point is a sentence itself. It's calling out for attention. Therefore, a comma is not needed to complete that sentence or the next one, What's for dinner? because that is a sentence. I would say that the exclamation point after Mom is either to get Mom's attention immediately (as if in an emergency). I don't believe asking about what's for dinner is an emergency; therefore, I would phrase the sentence, Mom, what's for dinner?--Lotte
Question #2: It seems only fairly recently that I have heard the word "grow" used in sentences such as, "We are going to grow the economy." This just doesn't sound right to me, but I suppose that if you can grow a garden you can grow the unemployment, etc. Is this a correct use of the word? --Sara from Lenoir, NC
Answer: I agree, this is a strange usage. It's probably a grammatical mutation from the phrase "The economy grew at .3 percent last quarter." The issue is that, in the "We are going to grow the economy," "grow" is used in the transitive sense, whereas "the economy grew" is being used intransitively. Put simply, we could say--in the transitive sense--"a farmer grows carrots," but we would think it strange to say "a farmer grew the carrots five inches." I personally wonder if this comes from sense that one can grow things, but things must grow on their own? At any rate, verbs like "stimulate," "enhance," or even "jump-start" are probably best suited for "economy."--George
What's Happening on OWL
- OWL Eye on...Organizing OWL A major part of our ongoing redesign involves organizing the materials on OWL so they are much easier to find. If you have any suggestions regarding organization and navigation, please send them along to Karl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye on...Fall 2004 Writing Lab Hours: Tutoring Hours: M-Th 9-4; F 9-1
OWL Eye on...ESL Conversation Groups
ESL Conversation Groups:
- M 1:30-2:30
- Tu/Th: 4:30-5:30
- W: 11:00-12:00n
- F: 11:30-12:30
- OWL Eye on...In-Lab Workshops for September
- OWL Eye on....Fall Semester In-Lab Workshops
- Tues. Sept. 28 12:30-1:20 - Using THOR
- Weds. Sept. 29 3:30-4:20 - Research and the Internet
- Tues. Oct. 5 12:30-1:20 - Using MLA
- Weds. Oct. 6 3:30-4:20 - Using APA
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