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The “Best” E-mail Signature Is Actually the Worst

I have no particular opinion about how to close an email. I just checked my “outbox” and I see that I haven’t closed any of my recent messages. Several were responses to requests from other people, so “Thank you” would be out of place, and even “Here you go” would be so unnecessary it would sound awkward (if not rude). When closing an email, I usually just stop writing. A…

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100 Careers for English Majors

Anyone with an English degree will tell you that picking this major can lead to a lot skeptical questions: “What are you going to do after school?” or “What kind of a job can you really get with an English degree?” But the awesome part about this major is its flexibility—you’re not confined to a specific vocational track. Instead, the skills you learn can be applied to a ton of…

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‘My Fair Lady’ Couldn’t Actually Dance All Night, So These Songs Had To Go

Clever little Easter eggs in this article about the history of My Fair Lady refer to lyrics from the show. I played Col. Pickering in high school 30 years ago. One night during “The Rain in Spain,” when Higgins threw the xylophone mallet in the air, it got stuck in the drapes above the stage. I had watched it go up, so the audience laughed when I waited for it…

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This Is Your Brain on Writing

When I teach creative writing, I notice that novices frequently write as if describing a what a TV screen would show if a camera had zoomed in for a close-up of their narrator’s face. By contrast, an experienced writer would rely on a much wider range of storytelling techniqes, including dialogue and interior thoughts. “What do you mean?” I say, my brows furrowing in confusion. “Hold on,” says the old man.…