eileen davenport

Me, myself or I? Using the right pronouns when writing



There are many rules about the use of grammar, far too many to memorize.  Remember Meryl Streep’s character in the Series of Unfortunate Events movie, the recluse who studied grammar devotedly?  We’re more likely to meet Count Olaf than someone who is really that knowledgeable on the topic, but, though we may not master every rule, we can easily master some.

A quick place to start is looking at pronoun usage.  This is an easy mistake to correct, but is frequently overlooked.  Think of the popular songs that swap rhymes for grammar.  Know the words to the 80’s song, Hungry Eyes?  The magic should be “between you and me” but “I” rhymes with “eyes” and so the rules went out the window.  When it comes to using the correct pronoun, don’t rely on examples from songs, movies or even literature.  Instead, check out and follow this short and sweet advice from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

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Fun with words

The website, Vocabulary.com, tests your knowledge of common and not-so-common words in the English language.  Here you are presented with multiple-choice questions on over 40,000 words.  If you miss an answer, the website offers simple explanations about the origin and history of the word.  This website includes a free dictionary, explains the difference between similar-sounding-yet-not-to-be-confused words (for example: accept/except, stationary/stationery, principal/principle, etc.), and a place for you to create your own vocabulary lists.

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The profits of higher education

Students at for-profit schools account for less than 10% of college students in the US, but receive over 25% of federal loans. The largest operators of for-profit schools are publicly traded; these schools are accountable not only to the students, but also to shareholders, who expect returns on their investments. Does this affect the quality of the education available at these institutions? That matter is heavily debated. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin has investigated the sector for years. The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee just released a report with statistics regarding veterans and for-profit universities, but the background information on the school administration applies to all students. Restricting the use of federal aid for recruitment and marketing is under consideration on Capital Hill.

For-profit schools have an educational mission; how well that is fulfilled is also heavily debated in some quarters, investigated in others. As for student success at for-profit schools, that is also the subject of much evaluation.

While considering matters related to the for-profit/not-for-profit question, there is a totally free option: Coursera. A joint venture of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, Stanford, and Princeton, Coursera offers free, college-level, non-credit courses on a growing variety of topics. Courses are online and open to anyone.

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Economix – the Economy and the Economics of Everyday Life

I first read about this blog in a Time magazine list last year.  This is sponsored by the New York Times, but it offers additional analysis behind the latest economics headlines.  The postings are by a mix of journalists and industry professionals.  This is interesting, albeit sometimes alarming, reading.  The upcoming election offers many interpretations of both platforms.

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