Category Archives: Reference

These are materials for teachers and parents, and you’ll find, in this category, teachers copies and answer keys for worksheets, quotes related to domain-specific knowledge in English Language Arts and social studies, and quotes on issues of professional concern. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

A Learning Support on Comma Placement Relative to Other Punctuation

Here is a learning support on comma placement relative to other punctuation. This is the fourteenth of fifteenth learning supports, presented seriatim as they were presented in the punctuation manual from which they were excerpted. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favor

Every Good Boy Deserves Favor: A play (1977) by the Czech-born British dramatist Tom Stoppard (b. 1937), with music by the US conductor Andre Previn. The play is about a dissident confined to a Soviet psychiatric hospital, and the ironic title refers to the mnemonic used in music teaching for the notes on the lines of the treble stave: E, G, B, D, F.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

A Posteriori

“A posteriori: From what comes after: proceeding from effect back to cause, or reasoning form given facts to principles; pertaining to what can be known only through experience or facts; inductive or empirical (contrasted with a priori).”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma with Specific Words or Names

To finish up for today, here is a learning support on using a comma with specific words or terms. This is the thirteenth of fifteen such posts. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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 Doubter’s Dictionary: Facts

Facts: Tools of authority.

Facts are supposed to make truth out of a proposition. There are the proof. The trouble is that there are enough facts around to prove most things. They have become the comfort and prop of conventional wisdom; the music of the rational technocracy; the justification for any sort of policy, particularly as advanced by special interest groups, expert guilds and other modern corporations. Confused armies of contradictory facts struggle in growing darkness. Support ideological fantasies, Staff bureaucratic briefing books.

It was Giambattista Vico who first identified this problem. He argued that any obsession with proof would misfire unless it was examined in a far larger context which took into account experience and the surrounding circumstances. Diderot was just as careful when he wrote the entry on facts for the Encyclopedie:

You can divide facts into three types: the divine, the natural, and man-made. The first belongs to theology; the second to philosophy and the third to history. All are equally open to question.

There is little room for such care in a corporatist society. Facts are the currency of power for each specialized group. But how can so much be expected from these ignorant fragments of knowledge? They are not able to think and so cannot be used to replace thought. They have no memory. No imagination, No judgement. They’re really not much more than interesting landmarks which may illuminate our way as we attempt to think. If properly respected they are never truth, always illustration.”

Excerpted from: Saul, John Ralston. The Doubter’s Companion. New York: The Free Press, 1994.

Write It Right: Commence for Begin

“Commence for Begin. This is not actually incorrect, but—well, it is a matter of taste.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma in Measurements

Moving right along, here is a learning support on using a comma in measurements. This is the twelfth of fifteen learning supports on commas posted in a series on Mark’s Text Terminal. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.

Book of Answers: The Death of Jack Kerouac

“How did Jack Kerouac die? The author of On the Road (1957) died at age 47 on October 21, 1969, of a massive gastric hemorrhage associated with alcoholism in St. Petersburg, Florida.”

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

Manuscript

“Manuscript: (Latin codex manu scriptus “book written by hand”) Strictly a book or document of any kind written by hand rather than printed or typed. True, a typewritten document is often called a manuscript. It is, in fact, a typescript.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma with Age, City of Residence, and Political Party Affiliation

Here is a learning support on using a comma with age, city of residence, and political party affiliation. This is the eleventh in a series of fifteen posts in which a long passage from a leading punctuation manual is presented seriatim under their major headings from the book. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.