Posted in Teaching, Writing

ENG 111: Matters of Style

This blog post presents information about last week’s cyber incident at GTCC, but that isn’t the main purpose of the post. Instead, I’ve chosen to return to the the news coverage of the event as an opportunity to examine some of the differences between newspaper style, often AP (Associated Press), and MLA (Modern Language Association) style, used in many sections of English 111 and other courses in the humanities.

Capitalization in Titles

Notice that only the first word of the headline is capitalized. Many news publications capitalize only the first word and proper nouns (names) in titles. In MLA style, all of the words in a title are capitalized except articles (a, an, the), prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and the to infinitives—unless the word is first or last in the title or subtitle.

Newspaper style: Network incident forces security closure

MLA: Network Incident Forces Security Closure

Serial Commas and Dashes

MLA style includes the serial comma (the comma before and in a series), and in MLA style, no space appears before or after a dash.

AP: In addition, these three technologies — WebAdvisor, Navigate and Financial Self-Service — will not be available until further notice.

MLA: In addition, these three technologies—WebAdvisor, Navigate, and Financial Self-Service—will not be available until further notice.

Signal Phrases with Quotations

In  MLA style, quotations are introduced with signal phrases. Dialogue in personal essays is an exception to this rule. You do not have to introduce a line of dialogue in a personal essay, such as a literacy narrative.

Newspaper style: “Out of an abundance of caution, the college took all critical systems offline around 4 p.m. Sunday,” GTCC spokesperson Aleasha Kivett said.

MLA: GTCC spokesperson Aleasha Kivett said: “Out of an abundance of caution, the college took all critical systems offline around 4 p.m. Sunday.”

For more on these MLA matters of style, see A Writer’s Reference.

  • capitalization in titles (396)
  • dashes (285)
  • serial commas (260-61)
  • signal phrases with quotations (377-78)

Posted in Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 011/111: Educated, Chapters 25-28

Reading your textual analyses demonstrated that an exercise in integrating quotations would be a valuable follow-up assignment. In academic writing, sentences never begin with quotations. Instead, they’re introduced with signal phrases, such as these:

  • According to Tara Westover,
  • Tara Westover writes that
  • In Westover’s words,

As an example for the comment you will post this week, I have turned back to the comment that Madison wrote last week. First, here is her comment as it appears word for word:

Deep down, past her internal struggle of accepting vulnerability, Westover realizes that she, too, has her own voice. This is revealed in her conflicting journal entries where she writes about a violent event involving Shawn assaulting her and her uncertainty about what to think about it. She bounces back and forth between reasoning that the attack was her fault and Shawn being in the wrong. Her doubt is disclosed as a turning point in the perceiving of her thoughts compared to her family’s.

Here’s my revised version, which introduces three lines from the end of the chapter:

Deep down, past her internal struggle of accepting vulnerability, Westover realizes that she, too, has her own voice. This is revealed in her conflicting journal entries where she writes about a violent event involving Shawn assaulting her and her uncertainty about what to think about it. She bounces back and forth between reasoning that the attack was her fault and Shawn being in the wrong. Readers witness her predicament as she reflects on her journal entries. In Westover’s words, “[t]he second entry would not obscure the words of the first. Both would remain, my memories set down alongside his. There was a boldness in not editing for consistency” (197). The bold act of writing her own memory to counter Shawn’s serves as a turning point, a place where her perceptions diverge from her family’s.

What I’ve done with Madison’s comment is what I’m asking you to do with your own response to a passage in our reading for this week.

Directions

  1. Write a short response to a passage in Chapter 25, 26, 27, or 28 of Educated.
  2. Include in your response a short quotation with a signal phrase and a parenthetical citation.
  3. If you name Westover in the signal phrase, include only the page number (216).
  4. If you do not name Westover in the signal phrase, include her last name (Westover 216). Note that there’s no comma or page abbreviation.
  5. Post your comment/reply no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8.

For more information on signal phrases, see The Norton Field Guide to Writing and (551-57) and OWL‘s Signal and Lead-in Phrases page.

Remember to check your CVCC email and Blackboard regularly for updates and assignments.

Works Cited

Seagle, Madison. Comment on “ENG 011/111: Educated, Chapter 22.” Jane Lucas, 31 Mar. 2020, 11:36 a.m., https://janelucas.com/2020/03/30/eng-011-101-educated-chapter-22/#comments. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

Westover, Tara. Educated. Random House, 2018.