Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

Search this site powered by FreeFind
My Photo

I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Online Resources for Literature Research

For research, first check out Lindenwood’s Literature databases. You will need to sign in for access to the databases. They are listed under the heading Humanities.

Next you can go to the companion site for our Literature book. It has study guides for each piece of literature. The names of the authors are alphabetized in groups, so you have to click on a group of names to find study questions on the stories. So to find questions for Kate Chopin, you have to click on Alexie-Erdrich because her name is located alphabetically between theirs, much like an encyclopedia. Most features don’t require registration, but for the quizzes and some other material, you will need to register.

One section of the site explains the elements of short fiction and provides examples. This would be good to look at before our final exam. Another part of the website explains different approaches to looking at literature – feminist, reader response, Marxist, and more.

Context explores how the life and times of the author influence their work. Examples are provided on the site for Young Goodman Brown, Girl, and The Story of an Hour.

Our book's website also has LitLinks, a list of web links related to specfic authors. Click on the author's name and you will find sites specific to that author. Purdue’s Owl explains how to write about Literature, including choosing a topic for a paper and using MLA to document research.

How Poetry is Put Together

For your oral presentation, you must point out three ways your chosen poem is constructed. Be sure to read the section on the "Poet's Means" in our literature book. That said, here are some cliff notes on things you can point out in your poem.


Perfect Rhyme is what everyone is most familiar with - most of the word sound the same: moon and June, sigh and cry

Eye Rhyme is when two worlds look like they should rhyme - but don't, like "tough" and "though." The lack of rhyme gets the reader's attention and makes him or her play closer attention to the rhythm/meaning.

Slant Rhyme is when only part of the words sound similar. Like in the Stevie Smith poem "Not Waving, but Drowning. The -ing sound is repeated throughout.

Masculine Rhyme is when words rhyme on the strong syllable of the world, like "stay" and "away" These rhyme on the strongest produced sound in the word.

Feminine Rhyme is, of course, the opposite. The words rhyme on the weaker sound, like "thunder" and "wonder."

Sound Repetitions:

Alliteration - This is when consonant sound are repeated in various words. Initial alliteration means all the consonant sounds are the first letter of the words, like in a tongue twister - Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. The "P" sound is repeated.

Assonance - This means vowel sounds are repeated, like the "o" sound in "The Fog".

Figurative Language

Metaphors - a direct comparison. "My love is a red red rose..."

Similes - a comparison using "like" or "as." "Her voice was like fine wine..."

Personification - Giving human qualities to things that are not human. "The moon stared down at the earth..."

Apostrophe - Talking to inanimate things as if they were human, as Alice Walker talks to Poetry in her poem.

Onomatopoeia - When words mimic sounds: woof, splat, bang, pow - think comic book language

All poems are either closed form or open form. If it's a closed form, it follows a set of rules (even if loosely). So a sonnet is 14 lines with a certain rhyming order and the poet follows this format in some way.

Open form doesn't follow any standard formats or rules.

Sensory images are also used in writing poems. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell may be represented in your poem.

It's okay to point out the lack of some traits - your poem will either rhyme, or not. It will be open form or closed form.

Email if you have any questions.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Due for Class Tonight & Quote of the Day

Research Paper and Assignments: Be sure to read the instructions in your handout about turning in your research paper and all the research project assignments.

Study for Research Writing Skills Assessment

Read the Literature Stories Assigned.

Why should you study Literature?

The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't. -Mark Twain

Review Subject for Research Writing Skills Test

Finding a Research Topic
If you were assigned another research paper, what steps would you take to find a topic to write about?

Evaluating Sources
How do you evaluate sources? What makes them good quality sources?

Formal Research Writing
Research writing is more formal than other types of writing. Explain some differences between informal essay writing and research writing.

Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting
You get sources into your paper using these three methods. Define each and explain why and how use them in a research paper.

Logos, Ethos, Pathos
These are three ways to persuade an audience. Define them and give examples. Review three ways to argue.

Logical Fallacies
These are arguments with bad logic. They are often used because they fool people, but good sources won't have logical fallacies and you shouldn't use them in your own writing. Be familiar with at least 4 common fallacies.

Responding to the Other Side
You can acknowledge or refute the opposing side's arguments. How do you do this and why does it help persuade your audience?

Signal Phrases
Signal phrases introduce quotations into your paper, often by explaining what the source of evidence is or the name and qualifications of the expert you are quoting. Know how to use them and give an example.

Brackets and Ellipses
These are tools to help you handle quotations in a research paper. Ellipses allow you to leave out part of a quote, and brackets go around anything you added to a quotation to help your audience understand it. Know how and why to use [sic] also.

In-text Citations
These are citations used within your writing to show where source information came from. You either mention the source in your writing or add it in parenthesis at the end of the sentence. Give examples of in-text citations and show where the punctuation goes when using an in-text citation at the end of a sentence.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Due for tonight

- Oral Presentation on Research Paper

-2nd Draft of Research Paper with complete Works Cited

Bring any questions you have to our conference.

When is it right to be wrong?

This article discusses the difference between literal correctness and awkwardess in writing. I happen to agree with the author of the piece - yes, even though the subject is singular, I think the plural pronoun is less awkward here. And I love the E.B. White quote at the end:

"The ear must be quicker than the handbook."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Quote and Question of the Day

"Well-behaved women seldom make history." -- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Writing is dangerous! A Chicago area student was arrested for diorderly conduct because he wrote an essay with violent images. Is this censorship?

Wikipedia - A legitimate Source for Research Papers?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, has become increasingly popular over the last few years and students have asked about using it as a research paper source.

The Answer
While it's a great place to do general reading, it is not generally accepted as a specific source for a research paper.

It does have an impressive array of helpful free articles which can be used to understand topics - provided you check their accuracy.

Some studies have found it roughly equal to another encyclopedia in science knowledge, but even its founder discourages college students from using it as a direct source. Many of its entries are not reviewed for accuracy and can be changed by almost anyone at anytime - qualified or not.
Bottom line: Background reading yes (with fact checking).Source for research paper: N0

p.s. And yes, I know the new MLA has guidelines for citing it, but I disagree.