Friday, November 16, 2007

Citations in the Paper*

Using Sources within your Paper

Here are some examples of how to use your facts, statistics, and expert opinion in the paper. You need to make sure you give proper credit. Watch how the citation in the text works. The bold sentences are the quotes and paraphrases and citations.


Anyone watching the news in recent months knows that the fast food industry has come under attack. There have been several attempts to sue the fast food industry for causing obesity and the health problems associated with it. According to Judge Sweet, who recently ruled in favor of the fast food industry, more than $110 billion is spent on fast food each year (Appleson 2). No wonder, then, that the fast food industry is the next victim of tobacco-type lawsuits.

Indirect Quote:

Someone might argue that individuals need to make the choice not to eat fatty fast food. But as Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, says, “[H]umans are hard-wired to prefer rich diets, high in fat, sugar, and variety” (Spake and Marcus 1). Our bodies, then, are naturally driven to want the food that fast food restaurants are offering, and it is difficult for many people to go against their nature and avoid eating fast food.

Direct Quote:

Fast food is causing an epidemic of obesity. And obesity is causing an epidemic of related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, and heart problems. According to Amanda Spake and Mary Brophy Marcus’s article, “A Fat Nation,” a “man with 22 extra pounds has a 75 percent greater chance of having a heart attack than one at healthy weight” (1). It is not merely the extra weight, which fast food eaters carry, that is a danger, but as research shows, “eating too many high-fat foods contributes to high blood cholesterol levels. This can cause hardening of the arteries, coronary heart disease and stroke” (“Fast Food Facts” 1). And of course, fast food restaurants have a high fat menu.


  • If the author is mentioned in the sentence, such as the first direct quote, then you do not have to use the author’s last name inside the parentheses.

  • If the author is not mentioned in the sentence, then you must use the author’s last name and page number in the citation.

  • No commas in the parentheses. No use of the word “page,” or the letters “p.” or “pg.” To indicate page. Use only the number—(23) or (Last name 23).

  • Period for the sentence goes after the citation (parentheses).

  • Use [brackets] to indicate changes you made to the author’s words or capitalization. See example above in “Indirect Quote.”
*from Mr. Lettiere's English website
the picture is taken from nationalpunctuationday website.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Most Common Punctuation Errors

Missing commas or extra commas
Incorrect: Avoid commas, that are not necessary
Correct: Avoid commas that are not necessary

Have you ever been advised to “add commas where you would take a breath”? Some-times this advice works—but sometimes it doesn’t. It’s especially dangerous when you’ve gone over and over your writing. At that point, nothing looks correct. To avoid confusion and frustration, don’t wing it. Instead, review the comma rules carefully. Use these rules as you write to help you correctly punctuate your documents.

Missing or misused apostrophes
Incorrect: Save the apostrophe for it’s proper use and omit it where its’ not needed
Correct: Save the apostrophe for its proper use and omit it where it’s not needed
The apostrophe (’) is used in three ways: to show possession (ownership), to show plural forms, and to show contractions (where a letter or number has been omitted). The following chart shows how its, it’s, and its’ are used:
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Misused exclamation marks
Incorrect: Of all U.S. presidents, none lived to be older than John Adams, who died at the age of 91!
Correct: Of all U.S. presidents, none lived to be older than John Adams, who died at the age of 91. Never overuse exclamation marks. Instead of using exclamation marks, convey emphasis through careful, vivid word choice. Exclamation marks create an overwrought tone that often undercuts your point.
Misused semicolons
Incorrect: Use the semicolon correctly always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it is not suitable.
Correct: Use the semicolon correctly; always use it where it is appropriate, and never where it is not suitable. A semicolon has two primary uses: to separate two complete sentences (“independent clauses”) whose ideas are closely related or to separate clauses that contain a comma.

*Taken from: ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR THE UTTERLY CONFUSED by Laurie Rozakis - 2003 - The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What is Diction?*

  • “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
  • “Get outta my way, bimbo!”

You likely recognize the first example: It’s the opening of “The Declaration of Independence.” The second example? It was yelled at me when a fellow driver decided that I wasn’t driving fast enough (and I drive plenty fast!).
These two selections are very different because of their words. Diction is a writer’s choice of words. Your diction affects the clarity and impact of your message. Therefore, the diction you want in a specific writing situation depends on context: your audience, purpose, and tone.

*Taken from: ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR THE UTTERLY CONFUSED by Laurie Rozakis - 2003 - The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

George Orwell on Style*

“George Orwell” was the pen name of Eric Blair, one of the most brilliant English stylists ever. In his landmark essay “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell wrote, “Modern English prose . . . consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.” He concluded: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

But Orwell didn’t just complain. Fortunately, he suggested a number of remedies. His guidelines have become the classic yardstick for a strong and effective writing style.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive voice when you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

*Taken from: ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR THE UTTERLY CONFUSED by Laurie Rozakis - 2003 - The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


From jobdig:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Look at this phrase! What does the writer mean by OUT OF THE BLUE?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Have you ever been out of breath?

How can you describe the state of tiredness after running?
Let’s see what Sarah Orne Jewett uses to express this mean;

“…She had climbed the steep road from the water-side so eagerly that she was out of breath, and was standing by the garden fence to rest.” [1]

Let’s skim some more:
“Don't you see I'm out of breath? Juliet How can you be out of breath when you've got breath to tell me you are out of breath? The excuse you're making to...”[2]

[1] The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett, Alison Easton - 2000 - Signet Classic - ISBN 0451527577 - pp. 68

[2] Romeo & Juliet: Shakespeare Ser - by William Shakespeare - 2002 - Barron's EducationalSeries - 302 pages - ISBN 0764120859 – pp. 135