MLA Style Paper: Layout of First Page
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New Graphic for MLA Style Paper Handout

The other day, I noticed that if you Google for “mla style paper,” the first two images that appear are from my website — but out of context, they aren’t terribly useful. They’re just screenshots of sample papers. I’ve added some callouts with visual tips. Not the best graphic I’ve ever created, but certainly more useful than just a screenshot of a sample paper.  During the academic year, the MLA style…

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Could We Just Lose the Adverb (Already)?

I can’t really get myself that worked up over prescriptive grammar issues, but I do enjoy reading the arguments. The adverb is an incoherent lexical category, a catchall. How are “there,” “yesterday,” “quite,” “assiduously,” and “indeed” all members of the same family? As we learn in school — in a definition that dates from Dionysius Thrax in the second century B.C. — adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, noun phrases,…

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Clickbait writers hate this English professor’s time-saving trick!

Defeat clickbaiters with this one weird trick! You won’t believe how punctuation can save you time. Will you regret clicking that headline phrased as a question? (You can safely avoid clicking any headline phrased as a question, promises an emotional reaction, or hedges a claim with “may” or “could be”. You won’t miss anything important if you don’t click that bait.)

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Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker by Robert Gottlieb

In 1915, Parker, aged twenty-two, went to work at Vogue (for ten dollars a week), writing captions, proofreading, fact-checking, etc., and after a while moved over to the very young Vanity Fair; her first poem to be published had recently appeared there. She happily functioned as a kind of scribe-of-all-work until three years later she was chosen to replace the departing P.G. Wodehouse as the magazine’s drama critic. She was…