Issue For November 14, 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!
Hi! How available are you REALLY to help students from other colleges? I want to tell my students if you are available, and when.--Ms. Carol O.
Thank you for your inquiry. Our graduate tutors respond to OWL Mail messages as soon as possible, typically within 48 hours. Please visit the following link for a description of the kind of services we offer: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/topic/owlmail/
Editor's Note: Our OWL staff answered this email in less than 8 hours!
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 would be grateful to you if you answer my question concerning the wh-word 'who' used for the subject. What is the verb form to use in the question as in the following example: The children go to the seaside three times a week in summer. Is the question based on the subject as follows: Who go to the seaside three times a week... OR Who goes to the seaside...? My best regards. --Nacéra FSIAN, Algeria
You have to remember only two things when using 'who' for the subject question:
1. 'Who' is always third person singular, which means that "Who goes to the seaside...?" is the only answer. Another example:
2. In contrast to other wh-questions, you never use do, did or an inversion – you simply substitute the subject for 'who' , for example:
Hope this helps you.
--Angelika Weichhart, Austria
You are supposed to ask "Who goes to the seaside?" for the following reason: When you ask, you don't know the answer yet. In this case, you don't know whether one person or two or several people go to the seaside, or else you wouldn't ask. So the question is always in the general form, which is the singular, no matter what the answer will be.
The problem with a language exercise with "who" is that it gives you the answer, so you tend to think about it and not about the question, which in a real conversation comes first. --Tamara Adler, Switzerland, junior high school
Are both comma options correct for items in a series?
red, green, and white
red, green and white
Strunk and White pushes for the first, but I have heard colleagues pushing for the second option. --Elisabeth Clement, The English School (high school) Helsinki, Finland
Both comma usages are correct. The first use is called the "optional comma" or the "academic comma" because many academics prefer it (including me). I think it helps avoid possible confusion. A classic example is "For breakfast I had toast, cereal and milk" or "For breakfast I had toast, cereal, and milk." or In the former example, the speaker might have had milk poured over her cereal or she might have had a glass of milk. In the second example, the speaker had a glass of milk, a bowl of cereal, and toast. Admittedly, though, there are often few chances for confusion like this. --Steven Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I'm a Literacy Instructional Assistant at a small liberal arts college, and I'm at the beginning stages of researching quality resources for professional development. Since my own expertise is in an academic field, I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to start my search, so I guess I'm starting here. OWL is a treasure trove of resources for practical advice and information, but I'm also interested in other types of pedagogical resources. For instance: Journals that are invaluable to you? Conferences you've enjoyed? Web forums? I welcome any feedback. --Beverly, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University, Corner Brook, NL Canada
Assuming that you are interested in journals which inform our teaching and address issues of literacy in a variety of settings I would recommend the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and their journals. They often focus on reading, writing and communication. There are online forums for teachers which I have found useful for everything from content clarification and lesson plans to discussion of issues such as the teaching of evolution and how to motivate reluctant learners. --Jiiva Somerville, Peel District School Board, Ontario
Check out the program and workshop titles for the 2006 NCTE convention in Nashville this month. The descriptions for these great sessions have much information that you might want to use. --Bob Leslie, Jackson, Louisiana
I suggest you limit your search to a narrowly defined objective. I have made searches on many English topics and always learn that there are many opinions about what is correct. Today I am amazed at the metaphor content of everything I read. Please note the dozens of suggested 'approaches' to teaching English as either L1 or L2. Much popular theory at academic levels is fixed or 'frozen in time,' ignoring present actual use. --George Steed, Lodz, Polska
Next Week's Questions
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...October 2006 Breaks, Nay, Smashes a Record. During October 2006, users requested 9,373,851 pages, more than double the number of pages requested during October 2005. Thanks to all of our OWL users for making Purdue OWL such a popular site! Check out our usage statistics for yourself at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/usage/
- OWL Eye On...New/Revised OWL Materials. Fresh this week: Email Etiquette at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/636/01/ , and employment Reference Sheets at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/637/01/
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...End of Semester Appointments. Consultation appointments are filling up for the end of the semester! Beat the rush to get help with that final paper by making an appointment with the Writing Lab. Drop by Heavilon 226, or call the Front Desk at 494-3723.
- 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.
- OWL Eye On...Writing Lab Information Session. The Writing Lab will hold an Information Session on Thursday, November 16, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Ground Floor of the Purdue Memorial Union. If you're on campus, please stop by to learn more about our services.
This week's OWL News was edited by Karl Stolley, OWL Webmaster.