Category Archives: Quotes

As every second post on this site is a quote. You’ll find a deep and broad variety of quotes under this category, which overlap with several other tags and categories. Many of the quotes are larded with links for deeper reading on the subject of the quote, or connections between the subject of the quotes and other people, things, or ideas. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Term of Art: Determiner

“Determiner: A part of speech or word class that determines or limits a noun phrase, showing whether a phrase is definite (the, this, my), indefinite (a, some, much), or limiting it in some other way, such as through negation (no in no hope). Determiners include the articles and words traditionally classified as kinds of adjective or pronoun. They precede adjectives: many clever people, not clever many people; my poor friend, not poor my friend. Most words that function as determiners can be used alone as pronouns (this in Look at this picture and Look at this) or have related pronouns (every/everyone/everything, my/mine, no/none). Some grammarians regard as determiners such phrases as plenty of… in We have plenty of money.

Determiners can be subdivided into three groups according to their position in the noun phrase: (1) Central determiners. These may be articles (a, the in a storm, the weather, demonstratives (this, those in this day, those clouds), possessives (my, your in my hat, your umbrella), some quantifiers (each, every, no, any, some in each moment, every day, no excuse, any help, some clouds). Such determiners are mutually exclusive and contrast with adjectives, with which however they can co-occur: the best weather, any possible help, no reliable news. (2) Post-determiners. These are used after central determiners and including numbers (two, first in those two problems, my first job) and some quantifiers (many, several in your many kindnesses, his several attempts). (3) Pre-determiners. These are used before central determiners, mainly referring to quantity. They include: all, both, half (all this time, both your houses, half a loaf), double, twice and other multiplier expressions (double the money, twice the man he was, once each day, six times a year), fractions (a quarter of the price), and such and what in exclamations (Such a waste of money, What a good time we had!)

They can also be divided according to the countability of the nouns the co-occur with: (1) With singular countable nouns only: a/an, each, every, either, neither. (2) With singular countable and uncountable nouns: this, that. (3) With uncountable nouns only: much and little/a little, and usually less, least. (4) With uncountable and with plural countable nouns: all, enough, more, most, a lot, lots of, and the primary meaning of some, any. (5) With countable plurals only: a few, few, fewer, fewest, both, many, several, these, those, and numbers. (6) with most common nouns: the, no, the possessives my, your, etc., and some wh- words (whose roll/rolls/bread, by which date, whatever food you eat).”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005


“Impression: Any print made from a block, plate, or stone. Also, the physical contact of paper and printing surface which in turn affects the quality of the image. Thus terms like ‘good impression’ and ‘weak impression’ describe that effect of the contact.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. on Reading the Classics

“Have I uttered the fundamental blasphemy, that once said sets the spirit free? The literature of the past is a bore—when one has said that frankly to oneself, then one can proceed to qualify and make exceptions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.


“Ellipsis: A figure of speech in which a word or number of words, which have little to the logical construction of the sentence, are left out and supplied by the reader.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Term of Art: Memory

“memory: A general term that covers a wide range of cognitive functions related to taking in, processing, storing, and retrieving information. Memory is closely tied to attention, and may also be profoundly influenced by linguistic auditory, or visual spatial processing abilities.

In general, two types of memory can be categorized in two fashions: first, the stage in the sequence of processes involved in taking in, storing, and recalling information; and second, by the sensory modality involved in the initial stage of memory input (such as auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and so on).

In terms of stages or types of the cognitive processes involved in memory, present theory identifies three major types of memory: short-term memory, active working memory, and long-term memory. Short-term memory involves immediate storage and processing of information, as a prelude to direct response or manipulating the information in some fashion, or to moving the information into long-term memory, or to shifting information and forgetting the information. Short-term memory may be auditory or visual in form depending on the nature of the input, or may involve other perceptual systems as well. The capacity of short-term memory is very limited, and the duration in which information is held is brief and measured in seconds.

Active working memory refers to the capacity to hold information in mind, either temporarily storing it while referring to more immediate tasks or information, or focusing on it in reflection, consideration, or some other form of mental manipulation. Active working memory has to do with concentration or focus, and is closely linked to attention. Information sustained and processed in working memory may be verbal or nonverbal in nature. The role of active working memory in a broad range or academic, social, and personal domains is extremely important. It is a fundamental component in the process of writing or reading, for example, and it is active working memory that enables reflection on past behavior or helps us note the passing of time. Current theories regarding attention disorders see the impact that deficits in impulse control have on working memory as a core in the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Long-term memory refers to storage of information in memory on a relatively permanent basis, operating over an extended period of time. In academic settings, success in many areas depends on the ability to recognize and remember salient information, and to transfer this information into long-term memory in a fashion that will enable effective recall on demand, as in a testing situation. In general, long-term memory is not affected directly by learning disabilities or attention disorders. However, the dual ability to move information from short-term memory into long-term memory–and to retrieve information stored in long-term memory–may be significantly affected by a wide range of learning disorders.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Book of Answers: Ernest Hemingway

“In what Hemingway short story does Nick Adams first appear? Hemingway’s alter ego, the central figure of In Our Time (1924), makes his first appearance in ‘Indian Camp.’”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

A Learning Support on the Stylistic and Typographical Conventions for Using Numbers in Prose

Here is a learning support on the conventions for writing numbers in prose. This document has a big open field, and is in Microsoft Word, so it is at your–and more importantly, your students’–disposal; you can modify or adapt it to your needs.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Algonquin Wits: Heywood Broun

“On his first meeting with Ruth Hale, whom he later married, Broun took the young lady for a stroll in Central Park, where she became intrigued with a squirrel which had come begging for food. After listening to Miss Hale’s repeated regrets that she had no peanuts to give the squirrel, Broun remarked, ‘I can’t help you except to give him a nickel so he can go and buy his own.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Guaranteed Death—Avoid 14

Fourteen is a number to avoid in any context in China and most of the Far East, for its tones sound like ‘guaranteed death.’ Do do not bother looking for a 14th floor in an apartment block, number 14 in a row of houses, or the use or ‘14’ in a number plate or telephone number. Other Chinese numbers to avoid, to a lesser extent, include 4 (which sounds like ‘death’), 5 (which sounds like ‘not’), and 6 (which sounds like ‘decline’). And, as if to bear this out, in our world lives and teaches the fourteenth Dalai Lama, a spiritual hero fated to witness the slow death of his Tibetan homeland.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Epictetus on Education

“Only the educated are free.”

Epictetus, Discourses (101 A.D.)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.