Issue For September 27, 2007
We are in the process of redirecting the old OWL pages to their new and revised counterparts as our handout revision process is nearing completion. What this means for you, our users, is that for pages that are on the new site and have undergone revision, you will now be sent to the new OWL pages rather than the old OWL pages. We stress that our new pages have been substantially revised and updated to reflect the most current rhetoric and composition pedgagogy. We also want to alert our users that a custom-designed search system and revisions to the OWL pages (including navigation, design) are also underway and will be available for your use later this fall. As always, if you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Thank you! --Dana Driscoll, OWL Webmaster and H. Allen Brizee, OWL Coordinator
We are in the process of redirecting the old OWL pages to their new and revised counterparts as our handout revision process is nearing completion. What this means for you, our users, is that for pages that are on the new site and have undergone revision, you will now be sent to the new OWL pages rather than the old OWL pages. We stress that our new pages have been substantially revised and updated to reflect the most current rhetoric and composition pedgagogy. We also want to alert our users that a custom-designed search system and revisions to the OWL pages (including navigation, design) are also underway and will be available for your use later this fall. As always, if you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Thank you!
--Dana Driscoll, OWL Webmaster and H. Allen Brizee, OWL Coordinator
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 am attempting to word a sentence with two questions within and am having a difficult time. The sentence is: Does this question mean, What is the best solution to make obesity known, or what is the correct method to fighting being overweight?
I am mainly unsure if the commas are in the right places and where the question mark should go. I could not find a reference for this situation.
Style guides fight over just this sort of question, mostly because it does not occur often. Writers get really scared when they see punctuation in the middle of a sentence. Can I do that? Does it end the sentence?
Interestingly enough, questions break all of the rules. For example, as you wrote in your example, a capital letter follows the period. Many style guides approve of this usage, but some do not.
The following are all correct:
"Does this question mean, What is the best solution to make obesity known? or What is the correct method to fighting being overweight?"
"Does this question mean, What is the best solution to make obesity known? Or, What is the correct method to fighting being overweight?"
"Does this question mean, What is the best solution to make obesity known, or what is the correct method to fighting being overweight?" (your original)
These look weird I'm sure. If you still have questions, check out the following site that deals specifically with questions about punctuating questions:
Best, OWL Mail
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'm a freshman student taking an English composition course. I'm confused about the different types of research. My instructor keeps talking about "Internet research" vs. "library research". Why does he make Internet research sound so bad? Isn't the Internet like the best invention that we have since sliced bread? --Jenny, Alabama
I think that your teacher wants you to look things the old fashioned way. As in going to the library, searching for books, etc. Libraries are there to be used!
The Purdue OWL has a great handout on evaluating sources, which includes descriptions of the differences between library resources/print sources and Internet webpages. You can find this resource here:
This resource on searching the WWW may also be helpful:
-Dana Driscoll, OWL Webmaster, Purdue University
Next Week's Questions
What's Your Question?
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This Week's Feature Story:
'Tis the Season for Job Fairs: The Importance of User-Centered Résumés
The Krannert School of Management held its 2007 Undergraduate Fall Career Fair September 10-14 here at Purdue University, and Purdue OWL staffers jumped on this opportunity to gather information on résumé writing. Career fair representatives from US Steel took time out of their recruitment to speak with us about the elements of a résumé they look for when making that first important contact with potential employees. Since many OWL users visit the site to receive assistance on writing résumés, our discussion with US Steel proved useful. The bottom line? Prospective employees need to create clear, concise résumés tailored to the company and the desired position. Résumés should outline education, in-major GPA, practical experience, and projects completed related to the desired position. In other words, prospective employees should compose user-centered résumés.
The Purdue OWL is committed to helping users improve many kinds of writing - academic writing in all its forms, as well as the writing required in the workplace. Often times, the first step into this world of workplace writing is creating a résumé. Writing a résumé can difficult and stressful for both students and professionals. The question we hear most from students is, "How do I write a good résumé without sounding self-centered?" The Purdue OWL maintains a number of resources on writing résumés and cover letters, but it's always good to collect information from the primary audience of these documents - potential employers. Tom Bilunas, Jessica Muhlenan, and Laura Kocel from US Steel are members of this audience, and they were happy to share their experiences from the career fair when we asked them some questions.
Purdue OWL: What are the most important elements of a résumé for you?
Mr. Bilunas: "Prospective employees need to keep it simple. They need to clearly outline their education and how long it took them to complete their degree. They need to show their GPA. Their in-major GPA is more important to us. They also need to show any practical experience related to the job they want and any projects they completed while in school or during an internship."
Ms. Muhlenan: "They should limit the number of fonts they use to two and not drop below 10 point [font size]. Arial and Times New Roman work well together. The résumé shouldn't be too busy, and it shouldn't go over one page."
Ms. Kocel: "Prospective employees should remember to leave some white space to make the résumé readable. Bolding important information is also helpful. As always, providing accurate contact information - email, phone number, and fax - is vital."
Purdue OWL: How important is it that résumé writers mention US Steel and explain how they will help your company?
Mr. Bilunas: "We understand that most undergraduates will have limited experience, and we understand that they're here to get a job. If they can show how they might help us, that's fine. But they shouldn't try to overdo it. We expect to see résumés that are more tailored to US Steel and that list more projects from graduate students. But if a résumé contains some information about US Steel, it shows the writer cared enough to do some research on us. That's really important."
Purdue OWL: How important is the objective? Should this contain the information tailored to US Steel and the job position?
Mr. Bilunas: "If the prospective employee tailors the objective to our company and the position they're interested in, then include the objective. If the objective is going to be general and vague, leave it out. We know they're here to get a job."
Purdue OWL: How important is grammar?
Mr. Bilunas: "Correctness is important."
Ms. Muhlenan: "Correctness in the résumé shows that the writer took the time to proof."
Ms. Kocel: "Spelling is most important for us. A misplaced comma isn't going to disqualify you, as long as there aren't too many punctuation errors."
When asked about the types of résumés they had received at the career fair, the recruiters pulled out a spiral bound notebook and flipped through examples of good and bad résumés. Résumés the recruiters considered bad were packed with unreadable information in tiny fonts. Résumés the recruiters considered good were easy to read and contained white space and clear headings. In short, the good résumés reflected elements of user-centered design. To read about user-centered design and other kinds of workplace writing, please visit the Purdue OWL's resources on Effective Workplace Writing at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/624/01/ and Professional Writing.
What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...New Resources at the Purdue OWL. The Purdue OWL has a new resource on essay writing. This resource contains informtaion on the traditional types of essays written for first-year English and high school English classes. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope our new resources will help. Here is a link to the new handout: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/01/
- OWL Eye On...Understanding Writing Assignments: We also are proud to announce a new resource on Understanding Resume Assignments written by Mia Martini. You can see this resource here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/688/01/
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 Lynn Driscoll, OWL Webmaster and H. Allen Brizee, OWL Coordinator.