Monday, January 26, 2009

Grammar: Avoiding Apostrophe Catastrophe

At times the apostrophe is  treated like the comma(maybe because they look so much alike?). I think the misconception is that when something's plural you add an apostrophe. Or maybe because it's so small we figure it's better to tag it on there. 

We see this all the time in our grocery stores. "Banana's $1.50." Oh so the banana's own $1.50! Not exactly. 

Here are the three cases for apostrophe usage:
1. to show possession
ex. the boy's hat
2. to show the omission of letters
ex. should+not=shouldn't
3. to indicate plurals of lowercase letters
ex. Nita's mother constantly stressed minding one's  p's and q's. 

Friends don't let friends overuse apostrophe's. If you love you're friends click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Looking For Work" & "What We Really Miss About the 1950's"

The two pieces assigned to read this week were vastly different. The first "Looking for Work" by Gary Soto was a narrative of a hispanic boy growing up in a predominately white 1950's United States. The second piece by Stephanie Coontz entitled "What We Really Miss About the 1950's" is about the misleadings of the nostalgia producing era. 

Soto's piece was easy to follow and engaged the reader from the beginning. He created familiarity that allowed the reader to see things unfolding almost as if it was happening on the pages themselves. Coontz's piece was much more difficult to be engaged by. Nearly every other line was filled with statistics and numbers. This made it hard to concentrate on the actual content of the piece, I found myself trying to process all of the data and make sense of all the facts being shot at me. 

I think Soto was trying to convey that everyone in the 1950's was trying to create the homes they saw on television. I don't think much has changed in modern times. We are still driven by what sitcoms and reality t.v. show tells us is "normal", or rather, happiness. From what I could gather I think Coontz was trying to make the statement that the 1950's weren't really about tight knit families who learned life lessons on a daily basis, but more so about putting on a happy facade and sweeping problems under the rug. 

In my opinion Soto's piece does challenge the American family ideal. I think it humanizes it. The narrative projects how a real family would go about daily tasks. Soto's family might not ideal, but it is certainly realistic. I would say Coontz piece also certainly challenges the American family ideal of the 1950's. Her statistics proved that even after inhaling all of the Aqua Net in the world we can't deny that the media displayed the American family under the most ideal standards.

I think the thing I find the most interesting after reading both of these pieces is that I still feel a great deal of nostalgia for the 1950's.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Political Cartoons

Friday, January 16, 2009

Grammar: H-y-p-h-e-n-s

In my mind hyphens are a somewhat superfluous punctuation. They've probably only seemed that way because I've never really learned when it's necessary to use said superfluity. I've found that I mostly use hyphens to be facetious, I never have a very sincere intent when using them. Sometimes when other people use hyphens it makes me feel like they're undermining my intelligence. For example: It's a one-way street. 
Ok, I know it's not a one street or a way street. For the love!

All hyphen animosity aside, I found out some instances when hyphens actually make sense. 
1. Compound Numbers 
ex. sixty-five
2. With prefixes 
ex. mid-September
 3.  At the end of a line
ex. The cars were mass-

Let's raise the roof for the hyphen, because it's not useless! Click HERE  if you love hyphens!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing Prompt: America the Beautiful...

This post for my 2010 English class is to be directed toward what it means to me to be an American citizen. As well as how the text of this class (Rereading America) might challenge my opinion.

For me being an American citizen is hard to put into words. The first thing that comes to mind is blessings...this country is so immensely blessed. A major component of America is diversity. Therefore, America's citizen are also diverse. This country thrives on individualism. Even the idea of the "American Dream" is formed by  and tailored to the dreamer. Individualism is key to the American because this country was founded by individualists. There is no mold to what the American citizen is to fill. We just are. 

I have a pretty good feeling that Rereading America will indefinitely challenge my views and opinions. I love this country. I love the idea of an attainable American dream. I truly believe in the traditional family. Do I live in a fantasy world? Maybe. I agree that we should challenge the norm, branch out, and make old things new. However, I also believe in holding on to the fundamentals of what this country was founded upon, and for what purposes it was founded upon. 

Grammar: The Dreaded Semicolon

At some point each writer is faced with the inevitable semicolon. When do you use it? Why do you use it? These are questions I ask myself whenever faced with the perplexing matter of "To semicolon, or not to semicolon?" 
I find that I struggle the most with the artistic use of a semicolon vs. grammatical use. I think in some cases a semicolon can be used to denote a longer pause. However, some people think you're only supposed to use a semicolon to connect an elliptical clause to an independent clause. 
I found a website that says not only can it be used for artistic use (yay!) but also to connect elliptical and independent clauses. 

An example of artistic use with a semicolon: 
"In books I find the dead as if they were alive; from books come forth the laws of peace." 
An example of the connection between elliptical and independent clauses:
"We were not careless; just the opposite."

So, here's to all the semicolon scaredy cats.... Click here:)