Dear 3510er,

Here are a few items of general interest to the class as a whole.

To get in touch with fellow students, go to the class welcome page on the internet, then double-click "Students’ Profiles." You’ll find there everybody’s e-mail, telephone number, and address. To see how they look like, click Students’ Profiles.

When you submit a revised draft, always attach the earlier draft which includes my comments. I need to see what I said on the first draft before proceeding to read the second.

Most of you had a hard time with the "Past and Present" summary. Simply retelling bits and pieces from the poem will not do here. As the name conveys, the poet contrasts his happiness and innocence as a child to his depressed state now, as an adult. His past was pure joy; his present, utter wretchedness. Your summary needs to say something like that first. Now, proceed to give a couple of examples which illustrate and support this theme.


’’’’’’’’’APOSTROPHE ALERT’’’’’’’’’

Most of you have terrible problems with the apostrophe. I never cease to wonder at this, for the rules here are pretty straightforward. Moreover, it’s harder to understand a text where the appropriate rules are not observed. Lastly, this is one easy way of separating good writers from others. So, if you are a lousy apostropher, please, please, read the following and, for the next few weeks, ask yourself while you edit your work: Did I follow the simple rules for the use of the apostrophe?

We must begin though with plurals. In English we say:

One boy / two boys

One lady / five ladies

One kiss / one million kisses

Note the ABSENCE of any apostrophe whatsoever above. We simply add an s, or a ies, or es—nothing more.

But, unlike for example, Spanish or Hebrew, English has a wonderful way of saying that something belongs to someone.

Hat of the boy = The boy’s hat

The hobby of Shep = Shep’s hobby

The trip of the vet = The vet’s trip

The e-mail of everybody = Everybody’s e-mail

But what do we do when we wish to say that something belongs to more than one person or object? We move the apostrophe to the right:

The hat of the boys = The boys’ hat

The hobbies of the dogs = The dogs’ hobbies

The trip of the vets = the vets’ trip

Profiles of students = Students’ profiles

That’s (almost) all there is to it. Now, do you really want to go on botching something that simple for the rest of your life, or are you willing to take a hard look at these rules, and conscientiously apply them to your work until they become second nature?

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