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Using “Strive” as a Noun

Obviously I know what my students mean when they use “strive” as a noun, in phrases like “the strive for success.” I have noticed this more frequently in recent years. I do not think they are mishearing “strife” (which has the same linguistic root, but has negative connotations of violence and opposition, whereas the verb “strive” connotes dedication and progress). Is this a regionalism, like “that table needs washed,” or…

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Annoyed and Bored by Anachronisms in The Great Gatsby Movie

I just watched the recent Great Gatsby movie. I didn’t care for the use of modern hip-hop music, though I can accept it as a director’s choice to appeal to modern audiences — like the added narration about the stock market and prohibition. But with all the money they put into the costumes and the CGI camera effects (swooping across the bay between Gatsby’s pier and Daisy’s green light, like…

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Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your Topic and Position; Grab the Reader’s Interest If You Can

An effective research paper title will identify the limited subject of the essay, and the position the paper takes on the subject. It may also be useful to grab the reader’s interest with a brief quote or detail, but if your goal is to persuade your reader, your title will also need to inform. Your title is your first opportunity to persuade your reader. Don’t waste it. —Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your…

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High School Poems in a College Writing Workshop

Poems that you wrote in high school to celebrate a first love, work through a painful breakup, or say goodbye to friends at graduation may be of extreme personal value to you; but if such poems are historical artifacts — if you value them as definitive records of the way you felt at that time — they won’t work terribly well as submissions for college writing classes, since most professors…

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The Unstoppable Rise of the Digital Content Creator

This is why I have been encouraging blogging for years. Unlike social media posts, that are fodder that generate income for someone else, a blog lets you accrue content for yourself, on your own terms, building up your personal credibility as a source of reliable and timely links, commentary, and perspective. Of course you can create content on platforms other than your blog, but if you blog about that content,…

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from “The Poet” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For, though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency, because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist finds the…