Issue For September 1, 2004
Writing Question of the Week
[I need help] identifying collective nouns in sentences as well as proper and common nouns. Can you help in the identification of collective nouns (singular and plural)? The more I sit and think about the sentences, the more confused I get. Example sentence:
The ancient Greeks used the games to salute their god Zeus and to honor their cities.
Is "games" in the above sentence a plural collective noun? They include competition in music, oratory, and theater as well as sport. Is competition or sport collective? --Tom Silver
Answer I will try to help you in the following way: give you the definitions of collective, common, and proper nouns [using] examples.
1. A collective noun refers to a group acting as a unit, such as a committee, a herd, or a jury. Example: My FAMILY (collective noun) is moving to Colorado.
2. A common noun refers to thinks, objects, phenomena, relationships, animals, activities... Example: This DOG, PICTURE, PENCIL, SON (all common nouns) is mine.
3. A proper noun refers to particular persons, places, peoples and their languages, religions and their followers, members of national, political, racial, social institutions, trademarks, historical documents, days, months, ... Example: The SPANISH (proper noun) are a European people.
The definitions come from Muriel Harris' grammar guide, Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage. Oana, Purdue Writing Lab tutor
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Last Week's Question
I would like to ask about "storyboarding". To be more precise: how does this technique (which is universally used by film-makers, many writers...) promote creativity? Did anyone study this technique? What would be the best way to use it? Who could give me more information about it?
Answer: Storyboarding is used in the film industry for two main goals: organization and persuasion. Since each of these goals are shared with writing practice and pedagogy, it’s only natural that we might want to use storyboard techniques in our own classes. Essentially a storyboard is a visual picture of a narrative sequence which should capture a dramatic or effective point of communication; think of them as visual outlines.
Why might we want to explore storyboarding in our writing classes or in our own writing projects? Visual learners in your writing classes might benefit greatly from the use of storyboards for organization of their papers. Storyboards also lend an aura of “comic books” or “movies” to an organizational outline, which might inspire creativity and the exploration of other related themes through visual brainstorming – look at an individual storyboard and ask, “What else does this bring to mind?” Students who are unwilling to make or use outlines might embrace the storyboard as an alternative principle of organization. Finally, for instructors who are embracing visual rhetoric and attempting to incorporate visual elements into writing, composing, or learning, storyboarding can be used to teach traditional rhetorical persuasion strategies through the visual medium.
Links or books that might get you started
Straczynski, J. Michael. The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. Writer’s Digest Books, 2002. Excellent book on scriptwriting that covers the hows and whys of storyboarding (in addition to many other topics).
http://www.storycenter.org/memvoice/pages/tutorial_3.html This is a general introduction into how to create a traditional film or narrative storyboard.
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/adrian_mallon_multimedia/story.htm Using storyboarding in multimedia projects
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