AngelicaGuzzo: March 2008 Archives

"Quotation Marks."

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“There is a huge amount of ignorance concerning the use of quotation marks” (Truss Eats, Shoots, & Leaves p149).

I have always struggled with using quotation marks. I have a hard time when there is a quote within a quote and the second quote is at the end of the sentence.  I never know if it’s grammatically correct to use a single quote followed by a double quote to end the sentence. In my papers, I will use quotes from a book, but it will have a quote in it. A lot of times I will avoid using it so I don’t have to worry about the quotation marks.

I also have trouble with punctuation around the quotes. For instance does a period go inside the quote or outside? I always need to review the rules. I have noticed that commas and quotations are the two most frequent mistakes I make in papers. Reading this book helped me to review the rules. I now have a better understanding of how to use quotation marks.

I’m really glad I got to read this book. Not only did it help me understand punctuation better, but it also made me feel good to see that someone else is as passionate as I am on certain grammar rules.


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“Most of us can’t remember a time before we learned to punctuate.” (Truss, Eats. Shoots, & Leaves p134)

“We perhaps remember learning to read and to spell, but not the moment when we found out that adding the symbol “!” to a sentence somehow changed the tone of voice it was read in” (135). This made me think of when I become a teacher and how I’m going to teach why we use the exclamation point. A period means the sentence and thought is over, the question mark clearly means a question is being asked, but an exclamation point? I know it changes the context of a thought. Truss mentions that it is a good thing we learn this in grade school so there.

I like how Truss mentions that a question mark takes up more space on a page than an exclamation point and yet it is less likely to get on peoples’ nerves. An exclamation point is used to grab the reader’s attention.  I also use them when I’m trying to be funny or sarcastic.

confusion with the semicolon

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“Colons introduce the part of a sentence that exemplifies, restates, elaborates, undermines, explains or balances the preceding part.” (Truss Eats, Shoots, and Leaves p120)

I learned more about the colon and semicolon by reading this book. I hardly ever use them. I never really understood why we use them. I especially get confused on whether to use a comma or a semicolon. I have used colons when I introduced a new speaker in a dialogue.

Colons are used to start off lists and sets off book and film titles. A semicolon suggests a connection between the two halves of the sentence. Then Truss introduces the dash. She says a dash could be used to separate a sentence when the connection is less direct.  I only use dashes when I am quoting lines from a poem to separate the lines. I never thought to use one when I’m separating parts of a sentence.

the comma

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“More than any mark, the comma draws our attention to the mixed origins of modern punctuation.” (Truss, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves p70)

Commas are used in lists. The rule is use a comma if it can replace the words and or or. I’m good at using a comma in this situation. One thing I was confused about was when Truss says, “Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, and dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous (88).” I thought a comma splice was incorrect grammar regardless of who uses them.

I was glad to read that two words that must not be used to join two sentences together with a comma are however and nevertheless. I always want to use a comma before and after however in a sentence. I think I have struggled with using commas because it takes a lot of thought.  I overanalyze if a comma belongs or if it doesn’t. It’s important to not use them “like a stupid person” (96)

What I liked best in this chapter on the comma is when Truss says, “I allude to punctuation marks as traffic signals of language: “they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop” (85).

It's about time

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“The rule is: the word “it’s” (with apostrophe) stands for “it is” or “it has”. (Truss, Eats. Shoots, &Leaves, pg 43)

If the word does not stand for either it has or it is then there’s no need for an apostrophe before the s. I like how she says, “This is extremely easy to grasp” (43).  She gives another example, “If you can replace the word with ‘you are’, then the word is you’re” (pg 62). This is a big pet peeve of mine. It drives me crazy when people us the wrong form of a word such as there, its, and your. I can maybe understand if you are in a rush sending a text, but not when you’re writing a paper that will be graded.

One time a received an invitation saying, “your invited.” I wanted to scream. How could somebody that has a college degree send that out? Sometimes it could be beneficial to ask yourself whether what you are saying means you are invited or “your invited” (spell check is going crazy because of my intentional errors right now).

I also like how Truss sys, “If I did not believe that everyone is capable of understanding where an apostrophe goes, I would not be writing this book” (pg 32).  Some of these rules aren’t hard to follow. It might just take some practice. If you’re not sure what form you should use or if you need an apostrophe, it’s okay to ask someone too.

punctuation please

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“Now, there are many people who claim that they do fully punctuate text messages.”  (Lynne Truss, Eat, Shoots, & Leaves p18)

Truss says earlier, “in the world of text messages, ignorance of grammar and punctuation obviously doesn’t affect a person’s ability to communicate messages ad ‘C U later’ (pg 17).’ I think text messaging, instant messaging, and emailing have hurt the need for punctuation. Text messaging is meant to get to someone fast and typing all the letters and using punctuation takes up time. Yes, it’s a great way to communicate, but when we leave that world and need to write a paper, we forget all the rules.  I know I catch myself typing ppl instead of people when I’m writing a paper and I stop myself.

I enjoy messaging my friends and some days I don’t know if I could survive without AOL, but I think we should pay more attention to grammar. In the book, she also talks about there not being enough time spent on grammar in schools, which I agree with. It seemed to me that there was a lot of attention devoted to capitalization and using punctuation at the end of a sentence.

I don’t remember having a lot of time in my English classes that was just devoted to teaching us when to use a comma and when to use an apostrophe. It seemed that in secondary grades, teachers review grammar rules when they notice there is a problem. When they would want to review, students would roll their eyes because they “knew” how to do it. I think teachers should start off each year with a lesson on grammar that way they can eliminate the times during the year when they have to stop teaching their lesson to explain basic grammar rules.

the flawed

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“Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people in such a constructive way that she had kept them four years.” (O’Connor 69)

It goes on to say “Nothing’s perfect.” Mrs. Hopewell is flawed and realizes life isn’t perfect. She isn’t fully supportive of her daughter even though she is well educated. Her name is Joy however, she is not joyful. She is almost bitter to me. Her artificial leg made her vulnerable.

I really enjoyed this story. It was again a bit different from O’Connor’s short stories. There was the theme of religion.

third person

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“The third person point of view, in contrast, presents a narrator that has a much broader view and, usually, an objective perspective on characters and events.” (Hamilton 114)

This narration can be categorized in two different ways. There is omniscient third- person where the narrator can enter the consciouses of the characters. The other category is third-person limited, where the narrator can only see through the perspective of one character. The narrator at times can see the perspective of a “select few characters.

In school that was one of the first things we had to point out in the story, point of view. Most of the works were third person omniscient. I think it helps the reader to get a look inside the characters’ emotions.

who's to say ?

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“She was the only one in her family who had been different, who had had any get.” (O’Connor, A Stroke of Good Fortune, pg 65)

For starters I would like to say that I felt terrible for Ruby. When she met with Madam Zoleeda, she was told she was sick. I found it interesting that O’Connor points out that “Rudy didn’t want to be told.” I think Ruby was trying to accept her illness on her own and doesn’t want to receive medical attention.

Ruby has had such a loveless life. She “had done alright doctoring herself for all these years.”  She had been in pretty good health up to this point. She even prevented herself from having a child.  I think she feels she’s alone and therefore should handle her ailment alone.  

i am not my degree

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“Regardless of your major, however, remember: Your major is not you. Nor is your future determined or limited by your major. If it were, every politician would have majored in political science” (Lemire 183).

I really liked this quote. Your major isn’t everything. You can change your major as well. By majoring in English, I am looking to teach elementary school children. So English does not define who I am. It’s only part.  It’s such an early time in our lives to be asked what is it you want to do for the rest of your life. Making a decision on what to major in was scary. I thought my decision was final. The truth is sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what we want. College is about experimenting and finding yourself.

No matter what you major in, it does not define you. Only you can define yourself. Just because you have a degree in an area does not mean you can only accept jobs in that area. With an English degree I can work at a bank or be a writer, if I decide teaching wasn’t the right choice. There are always other options. So keep your eyes open.

Magazine Desires

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“College students I meet who express a desire to writer for magazines usually want to write for consumer magazines they know and love (but don’t necessarily read cover to cover)” (Lemire 142)

I have always dreamed of writing for People Magazine, Us Weekly, or Rolling Stone. I have always been fascinated with celebrities and music. I love all types of music so I thought writing for Rolling Stone was my calling (if I wasn’t so nervous about talking to celebrities). I think it’s natural for someone who wishes to write for a magazine to want to write for the magazine they enjoy reading. It is easy to write about topics that interest you. Just because someone doesn’t read the magazine from cover to cover, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pursue writing for it. We all read the articles that are of interest to us.

Wring for magazines that are of interest to you is a way to get your writing career started in magazine writing. Because it’s easier to write about something that interests you and that you have a good understanding of, you could write for that magazine you enjoy and practice your writing for a magazine. Then you can move on to any type of magazine.


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”An epiphany means a sudden, overwhelming insight or revelation evoked by a commonplace object or a scene in a POEM or a work of FICTION. (Hamilton 102)

 I love reading a work of fiction when a character has an epiphany. Sometimes while I’m reading, I think, how can you not pick this up. It’s right in front of you. When the character finally has a revelation, it’s almost a sigh of relief.

I hadn’t thought about epiphanies in poems. Once I started to think about, it became clear to me that this is true. I just tend to read more fiction than poetry.

the working poor

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“The working poor, as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society.” (Ehrenreich 221)

 This quote stood out to me because it shows what a struggle it is to work low wage jobs and still raise a family. “They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high.” (221)

They give up many freedoms and happiness to survive. Unless you’ve lived through it, it can be hard to put yourself in these working poor’s shoes. “To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor to everyone else.”(pg 221)

That's not Fair

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” Mrs. W. is in the kitchen, so I have to go down on my hands and knees practically at her feet. No we don’t have sponge mops like the one I use at my own house; the hands-and-knees approach is a definite selling point for corporate cleaning services like The Maids.”(Ehrenreich Chapter 2 p 85)

When I first read this I thought to myself, I would never have put up with that, but I guess if I was in that situation where it’s do as I say or I can’t afford food, I probably would listen.

This quote stuck out to me because I was amazed that on top of having to scrub on her hands and knees, there are restrictions on how much soap and water to use. I think that cleaning on your hands and knees, day after day, is hard enough, without someone telling you how to do it. Especially knowing that Barbra and her co workers were at times working more than one job, made me even madder at how they were treated.

I could never imagine living life this way, but the reality is people do. Everyone needs a break.


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“Magazines are not for everyone, but for everyone, there is likely to be a magazine.” (Lemire 96)

I guess I should admit something, I’m a magazine junkie! I wait every Saturday for my People Magazine and Us Weekly. I realize that some may prefer to just read a newspaper because they can read what interest them. They may feel a magazine dedicated to one subject is too much. Even if they don't want to read an entire magazine about what they like to read in the paper, there is a magazine about the topics they like to read in the paper.

“Unlike newspapers, which appeal to a broad spectrum of interests and a more general reader, magazines are written, edited, and published to appeal to a very targeted relationship.”  (Lemire 96) Magazines appeal to a certain interest.  They apply to one topic. My magazines typically deal with celebrities; however I will occasionally read Newsweek.

When you buy a magazine, you know what you’re looking for and would buy what interests you. There are magazines about every subject. There are magazines on sports, fashion, celebrities, heath, babies, parenting, politics, religion, and cooking. There is something for everyone.

When you pick up a newspaper there may only be a few articles that interest you, but when you buy a magazine, you will want to read it cover to cover because the whole magazine is dedicated to your interests.


why teach

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“Knowledge of a subject- even expertise in a subject- does not, alone, qualify you to become a teacher: excellent, good or mediocre.” (Lemire 13)

Teaching is a completely different level of understanding a subject. I have had many teachers who have had an understanding in a subject, but simply could not teach it. My teachers would read the material and give us a test on it. I remember sitting in class wondering, when am ever going to use this in the real world? As an aspiring teacher, I can only hope I will not be the same. I hope to be knowledgeable and exciting.

Knowledge of a subject is important in teaching, but it’s not everything. A teacher needs to know the content and be able to implement it in real life situations. An important part of teaching is being hands on.  Students learn better when they can see what they are being taught and how they will use it in the real world, for instance experiments are great ways to teach a science and also show how it can be used.

Teaching and knowing about a subject matter are different. That’s why it can be hard to be a teacher. I know I understand math. I was in the tutoring center and a friend was asking me for help. I simply showed him what I did, but couldn’t explain why I did it that way.

On the first day of school, teachers claim that they will not be like our past teachers, they will be exciting and make what we’re learning fun. It’s a lot easier said than done. Teaching is something you should be passionate about. It shouldn’t be thought of as an experimental job opportunity.

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