Issue For June 15, 2004
**During the Summer Session at Purdue (through August), we'll be sending out the OWL News every two weeks.
Writing Question of the Week
When is it appropriate to use contractions ? Is it correct to use contractions in cover letters or business correspondance ?
Answer As with so many issues in English punctuation, there is no set standard for the use of contractions. Traditionally, contractions were barred from formal writing on the grounds that contractions indicated a lack of formality. While in certain cases this might still be true, particuarly in business writing (e.g., "Here's my application for the position in..." is a little too casual for many tastes), the use of contractions is sometimes dictated by what would otherwise appear as stilted language and over-formality. For example, "Wouldn't we be better off pursuing a different course of action" exhibits none of the more stilted "Would we not be better off...". Bottom line: use contractions judiciously, at moments when they serve to keep your thoughts moving ahead yet don't call attention to themselves the way "here's" does.--KS
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Week's Question What is the difference between "any" and "some"? I need to teach E S L and my students want to know.
Answer: Generally speaking, "some" is used in affirmative statements and polite offers or requests when "yes"is expected as an answer, for example:
There is still some work to be done.
Some time ago I met an old friend of mine.
Would you like some more tea?
Could I have some more sugar?
"Any," on the other hand, is used in questions and negations, for example:
Are there any further questions?
There isnít any bread left.
Furthermore, "any" is used in conditional clauses (if-sentences) and positive statements implying "whatever"/"whoever", for example:
If you need any help, tell me.
Which bus shall I take to the center?
Take any bus, they all go to the center.
Any witness to the accident is requested to contact the police.
What's Happening on OWL
- OWL Eye on...What Are Your OWL Dreams? This summer marks the beginning of work to transform Purdue's OWL from a massive collection of HTML pages into a streamlined database that will deliver content dynamically to the Web. As we make plans for this transition, we'd like to hear from you as to what you'd like to see on Purdue OWL in the future. Please email Karl Stolley, OWL Coordinator/soon-to-be OWL Webmaster at email@example.com with your wildest dreams and suggestions.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye on...Summer Schedule
The Writing Lab will continue to offer services for students and
teachers in Summer Session courses. One-on-one tutorials, in-lab and
in-class workshops, lab tours, conversation groups, and Writing Lab
resources will all be available every weekday from June 14 through
August 6, except for July 5.
- Summer Session 2004 Writing Lab Hours:
- Tutoring Hours: M-Th 9-4; F 9-1
- ESL Conversation Groups: M & Tu 3-4; W & Th 11-12.
- OWL Eye on....Summer Session In-Lab Workshops
- Tues. June 15: The Writing Process
- Tues. June 22: Resumes & Cover Letters
- Tues. June 29: MLA
- Tues. July 6: APA
- Tues. July 13: PowerPoint
- Tues. July 20: Writing for an American Academic Audience
- Tues. July 27: Sentence Clarity & Combining
- Tues. August 3: MLA
Thanks for reading our newsletter. You can email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email the OWL coordinator, Karl Stolley, at email@example.com and the webmaster, Erin Karper, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Erin and Karl take turns writing the newsletter.)This issue you have attempted to reach could not be found. Please use the navigation to the left to locate the issue you are attempting to open. Thank you!