by Nathan Schiller on June 6, 2012 in Must Reads
The New York Times has always been good at coming up with intellectually relatable witty titles for the articles it posts to its website, and University of Delaware Professor Ben Yagoda’s recent post, “The Most Comma Mistakes,” is no exception. Now, before you do anything else, take a second look at the sentence you just read. You will notice that it is rather long (40 words) but that it contains only three commas. “How can that be?” you might wonder. “The longer a sentence is, the more commas it needs, right?” Well, that isn’t necessarily incorrect, but it’s not correct either. In fact, it’s one of those things people think is true when they don’t actually have any idea about what they’re talking about. For the truth is that if everyone took a moment to learn the basic rules of comma usage, they would find that it’s not all that difficult to master.
by Parker Pracjek on May 18, 2012 in Must Reads
Many parents love to tell stories of the formidable hurdles they faced growing up, like the classic “I had a to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school” tale. My mother’s version of this story harkens back to her time in graduate school. There, on numerous occasions, her art school profs would make an interesting comment about one of her works in progress . . . and then tell her to destroy it. Or they would destroy it for her. Entire clay torsos were lobbed off in anatomy sculpture class and canvases were whitewashed in color theory. She speaks of the shock this always produced, but then notes the invaluable lesson learned: her development depended largely on learning how to fail better and better.
by Sujey Batista on March 15, 2012 in Must Reads
Artist, web designer, and part-time grammarian, Matthew Inman, writes and draws all the content on his hilarious web page, The Oatmeal. His site features witty, satirical, comic-like illustrations ranging in topic from “Netflix splitting in two” to “What it’s like to own an Apple product”. Inman even has an entire category of comics dedicated to grammar. In the link below, he has put together a hilarious and informative comic on what he considers the “most feared punctuation on earth”, the semicolon. His illustration, which is available for purchase, reminds us that learning grammar can be fun!
Click here for Inman’s fun with the semicolon.
by Nathan Schiller on February 2, 2012 in Must Reads
One of the things I stress to all my students is the importance of reading outside of the classroom. Typically, we connote “pleasure” (or “leisure”) reading, as it’s so often referred to, with reading something simple and easy, like the sports page or a detective thriller. And while there is nothing wrong with catching up on the latest Girl with the Dragon Tattoo installment or getting some critical commentary about the Knicks’ woes, it is imminently possible to enjoy—or, dare I say, be entertained by—a somewhat more intellectual/educational reading. On that note, allow me to suggest Stanley Fish’s blog on the New York Times website.