Posted in English 1103, Scrabble

ENG 1103: Four-Letter Words with Three Vowels

In my sample final essay, I noted that “[d]etermining how to move forward with only consonants or only vowels—or nearly all consonants and vowels—serves as some of Scrabble’s best opportunities for creative problem solving.” Here I offer a list of possible solutions: twenty-five four-letter words with three vowels:

  • aeon: a long period of time (also eon)
  • agee: to one side (also ajee)
  • agio: a surcharge applied when exchanging currency
  • ague: a sickness associated with malaria
  • ajee: to one side (also agee)
  • akee: a tropical tree
  • alae: wings (pl. of ala)
  • alee: on the side shielded from wind
  • amia: a freshwater fish
  • amoa: a kind of small buffalo
  • awee: a little while
  • eaux: waters (pl. of eau)
  • eide: distinctive appearances of things (pl. of eidos)
  • emeu: an emu
  • etui: an ornamental case
  • euro: an Australian marsupial, also known as wallaroo, for being like the kangaroo and the wallaby; also a unified currency of much of Europe
  • ilea: the terminal portions of small intestines (pl. of ileum)
  • ilia: pelvic bones (pl. of ilium)
  • jiao: a Chinese currency (also chiao)
  • luau: a large Hawaiian feast
  • meou: to meow
  • moue: a pouting expression
Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Strategies for Analyzing Sources

Rosenwasser, David, and Jill Stephen. “Six Strategies for Analyzing Sources.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. p. 219.

Using the six strategies that follow will help your develop a nuanced revision:

  • “Make Your Sources Speak
  • Attend Carefully to the Language of Your Sources by Quoting or Paraphrasing
  • Supply Ongoing Analysis of Your Sources (Don’t Wait Until the End)
  • Use Your Sources to Ask Questions, Not Just to Provide Answers
  • Put Your Sources in Conversation with One Another
  • Find Your Own Role in the Conversation”

Work Cited

Rosenwasser, David, and Jill Stephen. “Six Strategies for Analyzing Sources.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. p. 219.

The Writing Center

Remember that you have the opportunity to earn extra credit for your essay if you consult with a Writing Center tutor. To schedule an appointment, go to

Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Integrating Sources and In-Text Citations

Today in class you will complete two exercises that offer practice in integrating sources and creating in-text citations in MLA style. One of the exercises features the excerpt above, from Malcom Gladwell‘s New Yorker article “Big and Bad.”

For more information on integrating sources and in-text citations, see the MLA Style Center and OWL, Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab.

Next Up

In class on Wednesday, November 10, I will return your handwritten drafts with my notes, and you will have the class period to continue drafting and begin revising on your laptops.

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble

ENG 1103: Words With No Vowels? Hm, Hmm . . .

In a 1954 interview for Look magazine, Duke Ellington observed that “Playing bop is like Scrabble with all the vowels missing.” If you find yourself faced with a Scrabble rack full of consonants, you can play bop with these words:

  • brr: used to indicate that one feels cold (also brrr)
  • crth: an ancient stringed instrument (pl. -s) (pronounced to rhyme with booth)
  • cwm: a cirque (a deep, steep-walled basin on a mountain) (pl. -s) (pronounced to rhyme with boom)
  • hm: used to express thoughtful consideration (also hmm)
  • nth: describing an unspecified number
  • pfft: used to express a sudden ending
  • psst: used to attract someone’s attention
  • sh: used to urge silence (also shh and sha)
  • tsk: to utter an exclamation of annoyance (-ed, -ing, -s)
  • tsktsk: to tsk (-ed, -ing, -s)
Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Using First-Person “I”

During Wednesday’s class, while you were planning, drafting, and researching, some students asked whether it was acceptable to write your final essay in first person. Yes, you are welcome to write in first person.

Some of the writing you produce as a college student and as a professional will require third person, but writing in the humanities—fields such as English, history, philosophy, religion, and art—often features first person. Although “I” is far less common in the sciences, some science professors advocate a less personal “I.” Richard Neisenbaum, a professor of biology at Muhlenburg College, guides his students toward a more formal “I.” In his words:

“The biggest stylistic problem is that students tend to be too personal or colloquial in their writing, using phrases such as the following: ‘Scientists all agree,’ ‘I find it amazing that,’ ‘The thing that I find most interesting.’ Students are urged to present data and existing information in their own words, but in an objective way. My preference is to use the active voice in the past tense. I feel this is the most direct and least wordy approach: “I asked this,” “I found out that,” These data show” (ctd. in Rosenwasser and Stephen 335).

Keri Colabroy, a professor of Chemistry Muhlenburg College, favors a different approach. On the subject of pronouns, she tells her students, “[I]t’s safer to avoid them” (ctd. in Rosenwasser and Stephen 335).

Work Cited

Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Chapter 11: “Choosing Words, Shaping Sentences.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. pp. 299-340.

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Starting Points for Research

Yesterday in class, I demonstrated a variety of starting points for your research, including these:

  • The English 1103 Research Guide, which is linked to my blog (see the list of links on the right).
  • The HPU Library home page, which is also linked to my blog. At the library’s home page, you can conduct searches by source type (articles, books, etc.), you can search for articles in particular publications, such as newspapers of record–including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post—and you can search by keywords or by an author’s name.
  • An article you have read may offer a starting point. For example: If you’re interested in writing about the harmful effects of Instagram reported in September 14 Wall Street Journal article, you might look for research by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego Sate University, who is quoted in the article.

Though you will plan and draft longhand in class tomorrow, you will have the opportunity to use your laptop to conduct research. Your revised essay will include a minimum of three relevant sources, but the notes and any draft work that you produce in class tomorrow, November 3, does not need to incorporate three sources. You may devote a significant portion of class time tomorrow to research itself.

Stephen King’s “Strawberry Spring”

King, Stephen. Night Shift. Doubleday, 1978.

To earn an extra-credit course work assignment, read Stephen King’s short story, and publish a response to it of seventy-five words or more on your blog no later than Wednesday, November 10. Questions to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What, if anything, in Stephen King’s story prepared you for its ending? (What, if anything, would you point to as foreshadowing?)
  • Where in the story did you encounter references to war? Why might King have included so many references to Vietnam and the U.S. Civil War?
  • How is “Strawberry Spring” similar to or different from another horror story of Stephen King’s? How is the story similar to or different from a horror story by another writer?
Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: A First Sentence

The “stanzas” below and the two paragraphs that follow them are my version of the English 1103 creative project.

A First Sentence

Although many moments of my childhood are lost to me, the memory of writing one of my first sentences resurfaces in my mind because it marks a turning point. Before that sentence-writing exercise, I had recorded letters on a page, but I had not truly written. When I looked at the words on the chalkboard and said to myself, “The pig wore a wig,” I had formed an idea. I composed it in my mind and wrote it on the page.

I  cannot return to the pure joy of that moment whenever I sit down to write, but I try to remind myself often that all writing is creative. We always begin with a blank page or screen and create.

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching

ENG 1103: Leveling, Sharpening, and Assimilating

The fake photograph of Biggie Smalls and Kurt Cobain featured in Lesson Five of Check, Please!

At the beginning of class today, you submitted your worksheet for the fifth and final lesson in the Check, Please! series. My version of the assignment, which I wrote along with you, follows.

Check, Please! Assignment for Lesson Five

In the fifth lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, covers the final step in the five-step SIFT approach: “Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to Their Original Context.” Caulfield outlines the process of locating the original context as an antidote to the issues of accuracy that occur when information passes through intermediaries.

One of the most instructive portions of lesson five features a passage in which Caulfield cites a study of how stories evolve as gossip through the processes of leveling (stripping details), sharpening (adding or emphasizing details), and assimilating, which combines the two. In the process of assimilation “the details that were omitted and the details that were added or emphasized are chosen because they either fit what the speaker thinks is the main theme of the story, or what the speaker thinks the listener will be most interested in.” Similarly, leveling, sharpening, and assimilating all figure in the altered photographs and memes in lesson four. The abbreviated speech of the NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, which omits commentary, inaccurately indicates a contradiction in his stance on the presence of guns in schools.

Kawika Singson’s real photograph–real but reposted with inaccurate commentary–featured in Lesson Five of Check, Please!

The image of photographer Kawika Singson with flames at his feet serves as an example of leveling. Although the flames are real, they were not caused by the heat of the lava flow where Singson stands with his tripod. Instead, to create the image, a friend of his poured accelerant on the lava before Singson stepped into the frame. The deception wasn’t intentional; Singson simply wanted the image for his Facebook cover photo.

Unlike Singson’s photograph, the altered photograph of the Notorious B.I.G. with Kurt Cobain was created with the intent to deceive. Cropping and merging the two photographs illustrates the assimilation process adopted by photoshop users to appeal to music fans eager to think that such fictional meetings of icons took place. Krist Novoselic, who founded Nirvana with Cobain, replied to the is-it-real question with his own fake photo, making the claim that the hand holding the cigarettes was Shakur’s, that he had been cropped from the right.

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021,   

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Beginning Your Creative Project

Collage image: an illustration by Alice and Martin Provensen for the poem “Rebecca” by Hilaire Belloc

Today in class you freewrote on seven prompts to generate ideas for the creative project that you will produce this week. The project is a variation on a literacy narrative, which the authors of our text book refer to as “an acount of how you came to think about writing in the ways that you do” (118).

Your project is a variation on the literacy narrative; it’s a piece of imaginative writing–in prose, verse, or a combination of the two–that recreates a memory of one of your reading or writing experiences and conveys the significance of that experience in your development as writer, a reader, and/or a critical thinker.

At the beginning of class on Wednesday, you will receive the assignment, and you will have the class period to continue planning and begin drafting. Your project is due on your blog Friday morning; the hard deadline is Monday before class. You will not post your project to Blackboard.

Consider asking family members about their memories of your early reading or writing experiences. What they remember may lead you to additional ideas for your project. You might also browse the children’s collection at the Stout School of Education Resource Center.

Work Cited

Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Chapter “Thinking Like a Writer.”Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. pp. 1116-4

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble

ENG 1103: Two-Letter Words, O-Z

The image above illustrates how the second player’s, or team’s, knowledge of playable two-letter words could enable a Scrabble on the second play of the game. The first player, or team, spelled mosque. By using all seven letters, the second player earned a total of sixty-two points for pointed alone, a word that couldn’t have been played without the knowledge of the five two-letter words that the player formed vertically: op, so, qi, un, and et. The first player scored forty points with a double-word score square. Without a double-word score square, the second team scored eighty-five.

Two of the previous Wordplay Day posts include the first sixty-four of the 101 playable two-letter words, A-E (October 3) and F-N (October 8). Today’s post features the remaining thirty-seven, O-Z.

  • od: a hypothetical force.
  • oe: a whirlwind of the Faeroe Islands
  • of: originating from
  • oh: an exclamation of surprise
  • oi: an expression of dismay (also oy)
  • om: a sound used as a mantra
  • on: physically in contact with
  • op: a style of abstract art dealing with optics
  • or: used to link conjunctions
  • os: a bone
  • oy: an expression of dismay (also oi)
  • pa: a father
  • pe:a Hebrew letter
  • qi:the central life force in traditional Chinese culture (also ki)
  • re:a tone of the diatonic scale
  • sh:used to encourage silence
  • si: a tone of the diatonic scale (also ti)
  • so: to such a great extent; a tone on the diatonic scale
  • ta: an expression of thanks
  • ti:a tone of the diatonic scale
  • to: in the direction of
  • uh: used to express  hesitation
  • un:one
  • up: to raise
  • us: a plural pronoun
  • ut: the musical tone C in the French solemnization system, now replaced by do
  • we: a first-person plural pronoun
  • wo: woe
  • xi: a Greek letter
  • xu: a former monetary unit of Vietnam equal to one-hundredth of a dong
  • ya: you
  • ye: you
  • yo: an expression used to attract attention
  • za: a pizza

Up Next

In next Monday’s class, you will begin work on your creative project. Details TBA.

Coming Soon

At the beginning of class on Wednesday, you will submit your fifth and final Check, Please! worksheet. If you misplace the copy you received in class, you can download one from the link below.