Issue For September 20, 2007
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 simply am so disconnected by my virtual teacher that I don't understand what she means when she says "I am asking that you integrate a point from a secondary source (a critical article by an accepted authority preferably from a database such as Gale) that further expands a point you are making in your essay." I don't understand if I am necessarily looking for a review by a person about this short story? Or can it just be a source to support anything I am saying in the story? Does "critical article" mean an article or review of the short story that is the basis of my essay? And who decides what is an "accepted authority"?
Thank you for your inquiry. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, but ideally you should ask these questions of your teacher as well.
I am assuming you are working on a literary analysis or some kind of argument about a short story. A critical article useful to your project might be anything from a short review of the story you are studying to a full scholarly journal article that focuses on the story itself or perhaps the genre or some literary device you are critiquing.
Your question "who decides what is an 'accepted authority'" is an excellent one. Your instructor seems to be stressing that she wants you to use sources from someone in the field of literary studies, not just a popular news source. One sign that you are using a source by an accepted authority is if you found the source in a peer reviewed academic journal.
For more information, please see:
The OWL’s section on Literary Analysis and Criticism: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/618/01/
The OWL’s section on Evaluating Sources: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/01/
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 need help with the rules for "who/whom," "which," and "that." I learned many moons ago that we should use who/whom for people and which and that for things. However, newer texts show that as also used for people. I can't believe this would be correct, or at least, it is more informal.
I would do:
(This seems as if we don't remember if who or whom is correct, so we put a "that" to play it safe.)
The relative pronouns "who" and "whom" (the latter no longer very much in use) are used for people, "which" for things and "that" for both. So yes, you can use "that" for people. How much and where exactly you use it is a question of style, but the grammar allows you to use it for people.
Which is the correct form of the verb: Why is this so? --Ronnie, Hong Kong
Which is the correct form of the verb:
Why is this so?
--Ronnie, Hong Kong
My understanding is that 'were' is used to denote groups of individuals and 'was' is used to denote an individual or single object. My suggestion is "The Police were in attendance".
--Rusty Gray, Georgia
In English grammar books "police" is always mentioned as a collective noun, that is, a noun which has a singular form and yet is used with verbs in the plural. So I think you should say "The police were in attendance"
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...New Handout on Essay Writing. We've developed a new handout that describes common essays found in first-year composition and high school English courses. You can view our new handout here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/01/.
- OWL Eye On...New Splash Page. Last week we announced our new splash page. We appreciate the positive feedback from our users that we've gotten since its release. We would love to hear from more users to know how the new splash page is working. Thanks!
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...Class Workshops. Purdue Instructors and Faculty from across the disciplines are encouraged to contact the Writing Lab to sign up for a short in-class workshop. Workshops are led by writing lab staff and can cover any writing-related topic. For more information, contact our workshops coordinator here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/email/workshops/
This week's OWL News was edited by Dana Driscoll, OWL Webmaster.