Issue For November 28, 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 am trying to cite a book called " Certain Personal Matters" By H. G. Wells and I cannot find the publisher. How do I cite the book?
Thank you for contacting OWL Mail.
First, have you looked on inside of the first pages of the books? Often, publication information is listed there, including year, publisher city and name, and ISBN number.
If you cannot find the publisher within the book, try these two steps:
1) Go to amazon.com/books and click on 'Advanced Search.' Enter the book and author information, then scroll down to the publishing information.
2) Then enter the publishing information into www.google.com, find the publisher's website, and click on 'Contact.' There will always be an address listed there.
Its important to realize that some books are published in different editions and throughout different time periods. Your H.G. Wells book has been in print for a while, so it is possible you will find many different publishers for the book. Try to match the edition you are working from to the correct publisher.
I hope this helps.
OWL Mail Tutor
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 is appropriate to use the standard letter closing for emails? What is a proper closing for a more casual email?
--Pam Schumacher, Althoff Catholic High School
Standard letter closings, such as "Yours truly" or "Sincerely" are good for formal emails to people you don't know very well. I often use these if this is the first time I'm contacting someone by email.
For "semi-formal" emails, such as an email to a coworker or professor, I tend to close with "Thanks," especially if I'm asking a question or requesting help.
For a very informal email to family or friends, pretty much anything goes: "Take care," "Have a good day," "Talk to you soon," "Hugs," "Love,"--whatever fits the tone of the email and your relationship to that person.
--Kelly Keck, Maryland
I've noticed that many people are using periods in place of traditional punctuation when displaying dates and telephone numbers (e.g., 12.1.07 or 904.123.4567)in e-mails, on business cards, on billboards, etc. Is this acceptable in business correspondence or should it be limited to graphic design elements?
--Karen Dawkins, Jacksonville, FL
I have seen this often in Europe, and it appears to be picking up here in the U.S. I think it is the influence of our access to global writing. Years ago, I went to Europe and saw the number seven with a slash through it. I thought it was very cool, so I started doing it just to be different. Now I see it quite often, so like the "slashed seven," I believe periods between phone numbers and dates are fine.
I'm puzzled by a particular grammatical expression. In writing, and even in speaking, individuals seem to incorrectly use "myself" in sentences. For example, they may say, "Please don't hesitate to contact a member of my team, or myself". Or "You can speak with the manager, or myself". In these instances, isn't "me" the correct pronoun?
I've also noticed this tendency. I've talked to some of my students about it and it seems to be an attempt to avoid the "I/me" decision when the pronoun comes after one or two other nouns. They've been told that "It's me" is wrong, and that "Peter and me went shopping" is wrong but that "Sally went shopping with Peter and me" is right. So having become totally confused they now just use "myself" as a safer bet than either "I" or "me".
--Elspeth Kempe, South Africa
Obviously you are correct about "me" as the right pronoun in your example sentences since it is in the object rather than subject position of the sentence.
I think there are several explanations for why someone would use "myself". For one, "myself" sounds more formal than "me". It also avoids the use of "I", which many speakers and writers have been trained to shun as being egotistical and too informal. Finally, even though "I" would obviously be wrong in your two sentences, many people are insecure about their pronoun usage and so "myself" seems like a foolproof way to avoid being wrong. I think it's an unfortunate trend because it is a misuse of "myself", which should be used as an intensifier or perhaps as a contrasting element to what has preceded it.
--John Riley, Univ. of Arkansas
My teacher said,"Your paragraph doesn't flow and rhythm is not good. How can I improve flow?
--Navdeep Aulakh, Abbotsford
I teach composition and advanced composition, and this is a problem I often encounter with students. I tell them (and show them through examples)how to use a variety of sentences to give flow and rhythm, and eventually style, to their papers. If you mix simple, complex, and compound sentences, and introduce paragraphs with good transitions, your writing will improve. I also suggest students read Strunk & White, The Elements of Style.
--Maria Murad, National American University
You might also want to check out our Purdue OWL resources on paragraphing: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/
--Dana Driscoll, OWL Webmaster, Purdue University
Next Week's Questions
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This Week's Feature Story:
Ensuring Global Engagement: Purdue Writing Lab Orders “$100 Laptop” from One Laptop Per Child (OLCP)
We are excited to announce that on Monday, November 12, the Purdue Writing Lab placed its order for an XO laptop, also known as the “$100 laptop,” through the Give One Get One program http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) http://laptop.org/ organization. The Give One Get One program (running until November 26) allows donors to purchase an XO laptop http://laptop.org/laptop/ and contribute a second XO to a child in a developing country. The Give One Get One program “…will initially distribute laptops to Cambodia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Haiti” (BBC News Online, 10-29-07).
The Writing Lab’s interest in the OLPC program stems from the OWL’s long history of global engagement and literacy education, which in turn aligns with Purdue’s land-grant state university mission. The Writing Lab wanted to develop a relationship with OLPC and contribute to its program while at the same time ensuring OWL usability on the XO. We anticipate that our large library of educational material may be useful to the millions of students, teachers, and administrators using the XO. We also believe that our graphical and user-centered design will work well with the XO’s child-friendly operating system and interface.
Writing Lab staff will use our XO to test the OWL’s usability because the XO uses markedly different software applications from standard commercial computers. We hope the XO will also generate interest for emerging engagement efforts in the English department such as the Professional Writing Program’s “Semester @ SEA” (Student Engagement and Activism) and the Community Writing and Education Station (CWEST). We will keep you posted on developments with our XO!
What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...New Resources. We have two new revised OWL powerpoints up: Sentence clarity found at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/711/01/ and Peer Review found at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/712/01/.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...Writing Lab End-of-Semester Schedule. The Writing Lab will not be open during finals week. Have a great break and we'll see you in the Spring 2008 semester!
This week's OWL News was edited by Dana Lynn Driscoll, OWL Webmaster and H. Allen Brizee, OWL Coordinator.