Monday, December 7, 2009

Final Blog Post, Jennifer Kerr

The blogging project was definitely the most valuable part of Prow 100. Most of the material that we learned in class was review for me or overlapped with other classes, but I found this project to be both educational and interesting. As Ramona Korpan said in her “Thanks, that was fun,” post, this was an interesting way to collaborate with my classmates. I have become interested in blogging, and have even started a personal blog to share some of my writing with friends and family.

Not only did it give me a chance to more closely examine certain elements of writing, but the interaction via commenting on posts was a very interesting new experience. Many of the writing assignments that are done for school are only ever read by the teacher, so having the opportunity to not only read, but make comments about other student’s work was valuable.














Word Power, Jennifer Kerr

Words are the most direct way in which people communicate, and as such they have a tremendous amount of power. They can be used directly and indirectly to convey almost any thought, idea or emotion. Much can be learned about a person just from their choice of words. Words can be used as weapons, masks and tools of manipulation. They are powerful, which is why they should be used carefully.

Rosalie Maggio wrote an essay entitled “Bias-free Language: Some Guidelines” in which she makes plain her opinion that using biased language can be damaging to people by demeaning or dehumanising certain groups. “Bias-free language is logical, accurate, and realistic. Biased language is not,” she wrote. This is valid point; when someone uses sexist or racist language, they not only oppress and exploit a group of people, but they often fail completely at getting their point across. It is important that a writer think very carefully about his or her word choice, to make sure that they are not using habitual terms that don’t fully describe their intent.

While it is true that writers need to be careful to avoid disclusive or biased language in their writing, it is possible to take ‘political correctness’ too far. Michiko Kakutani argues in her essay “The Word Police,” that bias-free language doesn’t solve the problems of bias in the first place, and that being too careful about making language completely bias-free can lead to absurdities. She warns against taking political correctness too far.

Words are powerful, and they must be used carefully; however, if they are used too carefully, they lose much of their power. As Loren Wozny points out in her “Word Power” post, a balance must be found when using unbiased language.

This is the End...

At the beginning of Prow 100, blogging was a mystery to me. I had never written, nor had I read a blog. During our first blogging class I felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate. I was confused by the linking to other websites , the embedding of an image, and the general purpose of a blog. I have come a long way since the first class, and am grateful that I have been able to overcome the major insecurities I felt about using modern writing technology. I know now that I am capable of learning the technology, and using in whatever capacity I can.

I agree with Ramona that it has also been interesting to read the blog posts of my classmates, and to feel connected to them within the context of our blogging experiences. Creating an online portfolio was a very unique and, at times, challenging process for me. I learned that I still have much to learn about writing, and that the English language is constantly evolving. There were times when it was difficult to post a blog, knowing that it probably contained proofreading errors that others would notice. I will continue to learn about the writing technology of today, as I strive to write creatively and to come up with fresh ideas.
My Blog Posts:
Between Generations
The Respite of the Semicolon
Grammar Detective
People First
Power to the Bias Free Language
Wired Teens
My Comments:
The Importance of Being Like Earnest
Lets Talk Lexicography
The Last Post
The Comma
Starting to Notice
The Dictionary
Grammar Detective


Like many of my classmates, when we first started blogging as part of class I was a little sceptical. I have followed blogs for many years, and even tried my hand at keeping a few, but I never considered blogging to be an educational tool. I am glad to have been proven wrong. Blogging as well as having an online portfolio of my writing via the class blog has given me a new outlook on scholarly writing. It has also shown me how even grammar, something that is typically seen as static and unchanging, can be molded into a format consistent with the modern age we live in.

Blogging and its scholastic value is not the only pleasant surprise I received from this class. As I said in our initial blog post, students are often only given one chance to learn grammar in elementary school and once learnt there is no refresher course. The very basics of grammar tend to get pushed to the back of students' minds and slowly forgotten as more relevant information is learnt. I was surprised as we worked our way through the Foundations of Composition coursework at how much grammar knowledge I had once I dug it out from the dark corner of my mind it had been hidden in. Not only did I brush the layers of dust of off my long-neglected grammar skills, but I also developed new knowledge that I feel has and will continue to benefit my writing.

All in all, this class has helped my writing develop into a format that is much more technically correct. I don't think, like I may have at the beginning of term, that this development of grammatical correct writing will negatively affect the tone of my writing. If anything, being grammatically correct will only improve the tone of my writing as I am much more able to express myself in ways that make sense to everyone, not just me. I have also developed a tool box of online resources, such as the Grammar Girl website, to help me continue to develop my writing.

My Blog Posts:

My Comments:

Summing up, Final blog post, Caleb Caswell

Editing one-self is time consuming, aggravating, and can feel like you are dragging a sack of iron fillings across a beach on the way to the pillow factory: it is hard work and you are not sure why you're doing it in the first place. The struggle and can be even worse when you are unsure as to the rules of grammar.

Luckily, through time invested and attention paid, this struggle has become much easier throughout the term. Instead of looking at a sentence and knowing that it is incorrect, but not knowing why, I can now see the evident error in thinking and technical misuse of phrasing. Creative projects and classmate help aside, I have matured in my ability to discover proper usage of grammar, the importance of being certain in language usage, and how in-depth knowledge of basic structure can help to take one's writing to new editorial heights.


Surely it is our victory as a class. As a faction of writers and editors to-be, we will walk into offices and jobs that require the utmost scrutiny and bias in our view of language. Not just as professional writers, but as lovers of the language which we have spoken and expressed ourselves with.

God Bless Canadian Grammar!

Should anyone need any more help though, here's a handy site.

Comment #1

Comment #2

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Comment #4

How to Lose Friends, Caleb Caswell, grammar detective

The grammar enthusiast must be one of incredible social ability to keep their friends. Wrong spellings and punctuation stand out and scream to us. A decision of such moral magnitude must be made that many find themselves willing to avoid it all together. The decision is this: does one correct a friend after having made a typographical error, or, leave them to stew in their ignorance?

In an age of typing, texting, and typography typical of today's tendencies towards technology, more punctuation and spelling is being left at the wayside for the sake of speed and style. In many cases, these are flippant remarks that hold little to no effect on the grander scheme of our lives, but when a writer should see a friend text him "My woman think's you're cute, and wants to find you a girl," we have little to do but hold our opinions in our cheeks and let the room stop spinning of its own accord.

These comments are everywhere. As writers, we must make a moral decision as to whether we value the sanctity of our friendships or the sanctity of our friends freedom to be grammatically ignorant.


But where do these issues stop? and will they not effect language as a whole should we let the go uncorrected? Blockbuster carries "movie's" instead of "movies." You can purchase 'apple's, orange's, and banana's" from your local grocery store, although what belongs to these fruits remains a mystery. Should we let the country as a whole become so unconfident in its typographical ability that they start making errors out of the fear of making errors? Or as a community of dedicated snobs, should we take hold of the issue and sacrifice our friendships for the cause of proper signage and speech?

I have made my decision, and my birthday parties have been getting lonelier with every year that passes.

Here is a nifty site to help with five major errors made in grammar.

Here's something Ramona wrote that will be sure to be some fun.

Reflection by Kayla Gaffney

I came into this class with a very bleak outlook. PROW 100 Foundations of Composition sounded extremely dull to me. Learning the rules and applications of grammar scared me as well because I knew certain rules were complicated. When we were asked to make a blog about our journey through grammar, I was skeptical. In questioning another another student in our class, Sarah Maludzinski also had similar feelings. Blogging seemed to be a waste of my time. As I began to make different blog posts, I noticed that the class blog was helping my grammatical skills instead of hindering them as I had predicted.

The format of writing that I was accustomed to was either a simple pen and paper approach or writing in Microsoft Word. The blogging term project was a different way to write. My skepticism came to a halt when I began to comment other blog posts written by my peers. Every student had something different to say, even though most of the blogs were based upon a singular subject. The blog provided the students in our class with an outlet to view and critic each others work.

I feel that my writing style has not changed very much, but the way that I proofread my work has benefited from this class. I have realized that there are so many things that a simple spell-check is not able to detect, so proofreading is essential. I now see the many grammar mistakes around me, including the lack of punctuation in my picture. Jessica also provided many different websites based on common grammar errors which helped me to see the error of my ways, literally. The grammatical mistakes that I have made in the past should hopefully be erased by this class. 

Blog Posts 
Reflection by Kayla Gaffney