Issue For September 11, 2006
Writing Question of the Week
This is usually a question submitted by an OWL user to the OWL Tutors. If you have a question you need answered quickly, ask one of our OWL Tutors or call the Writing Lab's Grammar Hotline at 765-494-3723. And remember, both services are free for everyone!
I do not know how to refer to blog entries within a paper. I have recently written a short assignment based on one blogger and quoted from various dated entries. I have not been able to find something that tells me how to correctly cite a blog, though. My lecturer advised checking the MLA site but I can't find anything there. Can you assist? Thanks, Robyn
Because blogging is a new phenomena, there is no specific rule for the documentation style. Thus, it will be best to use the format that is used for Web pages in general. You can read about citing electronic sources, including Web pages/sites, in MLA style at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/09/. Hope this helps!
The OWL Help Nest
Each week we publish Purdue OWL News readers' requests for advice or information and the responses from other Purdue OWL News readers.
Is there a rule that governs when to use an infinitive in place of gerund, and vice versa. For example, "Have you agreed 'to help' your aunt with the children?" My question is, can we replace 'to help' with 'helping', and if not then why? While in several other sentences we prefer gerund over infinitive. For example, "I suggest that you ask 'borrowing' the car". Here, 'borrowing' is used instead of 'to borrow'. Why is it so?--Hussain, Canada
I am not sure whether is a rule governing the use of an infinitive instead of a gerund but I do know that the gerund is usually used to start a sentence and therefore becomes the subject of a sentence. For example: 'Borrowing the car today may be a good idea.' rather than "I suggest you 'borrowing' the car today.' Both are 'verb nouns' but the infinitive lends itself to better use within a sentence. Ultimately, though ,I find that the gerund and the infinitive are interchangeable depending on the usage and the skills of the writer.--Esther Yates, Esa Communications, Bangalore,India
I have seen many objections to the phrase "one of the only." Supposedly, it should be "one of the few." But what exactly is wrong with "one of the only"? As an adjective, "only" can certainly modify a plural noun--"The Smiths are the only people I know who own a BMW." Isn't Mr. Smith one of the only people I know who own a BMW?--Alan Rutkowski
I would suggest that the word "only" indicates a singular case. It is used to refer to a case of which there is only one. If there is more than one case, "few" is the appropriate term.
That is, in your example, "The Smiths are the only people I know who own a BMW", the word "only" refers to the Smiths as a single unit. You could replace "people" by "family" without changing the basic sense of the sentence--then the sentence "The Smiths are the only family I know..." could also be stated as "The Smiths are the ONE FAMILY I know..." The Smiths, therefore, form the single group of people you know who own (share the condition of owning) a BMW.
However, if you try to apply this process to "Mr. Smith is one of the only people I know..." you would see that it is redundant: you can't say "Mr. Smith is one of the one people I know..." But you could say either "Mr. Smith is the only person I know...," which means that nobody else you know owns a BMW, or "Mr. Smith is one of the few people I know...," which means that there are other people you know who own a BMW--or, to relate it more closely to the Smiths, you might say, "Mr. Smith belongs to the only family I know who owns a BMW."
The more I try to explain this clearly, the better I understand your dilemma! I don't know how clear this is, but another example that may help is the following sentence, given in the Collins English Dictionary: "The only men left in town were too old to bear arms". Again, "only" here places the men togather in a single group sharing the same condition.
You could say the only GROUP OF MEN left in town..." and rephrase it as "The ONE GROUP OF MEN left in town..." In this case, the men all belong to the group of "men left in town" and share the condition of being "too old to bear arms".
If you wanted to refer to one of these men, you might say, "Mr. X, one of the few men left in town, is too old to bear arms" or "Mr. X, who belongs to the only group of men left in town..." I hope this helps!--Melanie, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I.
What is the difference between "opposite" and "in front of"? Which is correct, "my office is opposite the library"? or "my office is in front of the library"?--Vandana Sukheeja, Punjab, India
I'm not sure if it's a matter of correctness. I would expect "opposite" to compare two buildings, e.g., "The building where my office is is opposite the library," and that the library would be prominent and recognizable. "Opposite" also suggests some significant distance between the two buildings, and likely that the buildings face each other.
"In front of" a building seems more appropriate for something other than another building: "The bus stop is in front of the library." In this respect, the idea of your office being "in front of the library" evokes the image of you out on the sidewalk, sitting at a desk!
Ultimately, the choice between "opposite" and "in front of" is a matter of clarity; which phrase will help the person to whom you're speaking locate your office?--Gerald, Decatur, IL
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...More Revised Resources. Revision on OWL matierals continue. Check out Using Appropriate Language at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/608/01/, Paragraphing at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/, and Pattern and Variation in Poetry at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/568/01/
- OWL Eye On...Old OWL Links. Worried about old links and bookmarks to materials on OWL? Don't be! As we continue to revise matierals, old links will automatically take you to the revised material.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...ESL Conversation Groups. Conversation groups are held daily in the Writing Lab to help international students improve their English speaking skills. Learn more at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/topic/conversationgroups/. The Fall 2006 ESL Conversation group schedule is:
- Mondays, 9:30-10:30
- Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30
- Wednesdays, 3:00-4:00
- Thursdays, 2:00-3:00
- Fridays, 11:30-12:30
- OWL Eye On...Writing Lab Fall Hours and Locations. The Writing Lab's Fall 2006 hours of operation for Heavilon Hall are Monday through Thursday, 9:00-6:00 and Friday, 9:00-1:00. Writing consultants will be available in the Hicks Undergraduate Library/DLC on Monday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in Meredith Hall on Wednesday from 7:00-10:00 pm.
This week's OWL News was edited by Karl Stolley, OWL Webmaster.