Issue For October 24, 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 have a paper due on Tuesday, and the sources I used do not seem applicable to the provided MLA format. One is a report from CNN that was posted on October 7, 2004. Another is a White House interview with President Bush conversing to a Polish television station on May 23, 2003. How would I go about citing these?--Julia
Thank you for your inquiry. The first is considered a television program, while the second is an interview. Examples of both can be found in The MLA Handbook (6th ed.), sections 5.8.1 and 5.8.7, respectively. We also have examples of these types of citations on our website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/10/
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.
I read about how to join two independent clauses using commas and coordinating conjunctions, but is it true for any number of independent clauses in a single sentence? Please explain.--Sunil, Hyderabad, India
I'm sure there are legitimate exceptions to this, but I suggest combining only two independent clauses at a time. Combining three or more independent clauses usually results in a cumbersome "run-on sentence."
I further suggest that you combine independent clauses only when they are related in some way. Two examples:
The dog was hungry; it hadn't eaten for three days. (both clauses refer to the dog)
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. (From The Gunslinger by American author Stephen King; one subject is pursuing the other).
Here is an example of three independent clauses combined into a single compound sentence:
Jane rode her bicycle, and her toddler dozed in the trailer behind her; they enjoyed the cool autumn air.
This is gramatically correct, but I would break it into two sentences:
Jane rode her bicycle, and her toddler dozed in the trailer behind her. They enjoyed the cool autumn air.
See http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/02/ for more information on run-on sentences and related issues.--Aaron Minnick, Columbus, OH
I hear people saying "these ones" all the time...it doesn't sound right to me. Is it?--Dolores Croth, Toronto
Technically, "these ones" is redundant because "these" implies a number of individual items or objects. However, use of "these ones" often suggests a structural problem in the sentence. People often use "ones" when it is unclear exactly what "these" refers to.
"These" can be correctly used either as a pronoun (third-person) or an adjective:
I don't know what to do with these. ("these" as pronoun with no antecedent, which is a problem)
I don't know what to do with these bricks. ("these" as adjective modifying "bricks"--a good construction)
--Aaron Minnick, Columbus, OH
"These ones" is redundant. One need only say "I want these," to get the point across.--Elise Hickman, Elkmont High School
Please clarify whether or not is ever appropriate to say "Me and my brother swam". Is it always correct to say "My brother and I swam"? What is a citable rule? Thanks.--Joe DiCola, Chicago
"Me" is an objective case pronoun and can never be used as the subject of a sentence. I hear educated people (my own lawyer daughters) use it all the time. To know which case of a pronoun to use as the subject of a sentence, break it up thus: "Me swam" and "my brother swam" and you will immediately know that the first is incorrect. If you don't want to begin the pair with "I," phrase the sentence as "My brother and I swam."--Ruth Ross, Chatham High School, Chatham, NJ
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_proncase.html covers this in detail. It is NEVER appropriate to say "Me and my brother swam" because "me" is in objective case and shoule be used ONLY as an object--of a verb, a verbal, or a preposition.
In your sentence, you should say "My brother and I swam." "I" is the subjective form and should be used in the subject of a sentence. I swapped the order of "my brother" and "I" because that is the most common usage in standard written English.--Aaron Minnick, Columbus, OH
Many media workers have lately been using this phrase: "... speak to the issue of ...," as in this sentence: "The Bill seeks to speak to the issue of stray dogs littering the city." Is that usage correct? I remember my grammar teacher stating that people do not speak to inanimate objects thus the correct usage should be: "The Bill addresses the issue of stray dogs littering the city." Which is correct?--John Mussington, Antigua and Barbuda
Although the use of "addresses" sounds "technically" correct, the use of "speaks to..." is also correct. When "speaks to" is used in the case of an appeal, or in relation to something, it is perfectly acceptable. As in, "The Church will speak to the real issue of..." or "The story spoke to him directly." Both are inanimate objects, however, they both relate and appeal to a specific topic/issue. So, in this case, since the Bill is an appeal for the rectification of a specific issue, then it is used correctly.--Suzanne Miskel
I would argue for "address" on the grounds of clarity. But here's an interesting experiment. Doing a Google search for the phrase "address the issue" (be sure to include the quotes) yields 7,500,000 page results; the phrase "speak to the issue" yields a mere 122,000 results. A similar disparity shows up with "addresses" and "speaks." So that's one indicator that "address" could very well be the preferred construction. A Google search should by no means have the final say in matters of usage, but its results can be interesting, particularly in this case.--Karl, OWL Webmaster
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...More Revised OWL Resources. New this week, a revised PowerPoint presentation on the Rhetorical Situation: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/625/01/
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, Purdue OWL Webmaster.