3 Reasons Why Letters Are More Personal That Emails

Posted by Sandra Cortez on 06:34 AM, 18-Feb-16

3 Reasons Why Letters Are More Personal That Emails

         In the blossoming digital age, the reasons why you should write a letter seem only to dwindle, if not crash, burn, and die in the lingering after-smoke of yesteryear. As a simple method of communication, letter-writing has evidently lost its battle to email, and it seems obvious that this should be so. Letters take more time to arrive at their recipients, and postage costs money. Undeniably, letters are generally less effective than emails when your objective is simply to send a message from one point to another with as much ease as possible. But there is one significant aspect to letter-writing that cannot be faulted: writing a letter is more personal than an email. Here are some reasons why:

         Every letter tells a story: A letter is more personal than an email because it tells an individual story. Once sent out into the world and the forces of the postage system, there is no way to know what battered journey over sea or land your letter might arrive at its destination. The envelope alone tells an adventure story to your recipient with its marks of dirty thumbprints and postage stamps. Intrigued, your recipient can do no less than embark upon an investigation of whose awkward handwriting could possibly have penned their address. Whether the world inside the envelope is one of penned contours, scribbles, and signatures, or carefully penciled tracings and perfumed wilts, the physical appearance of a letter tells a personal story.

           You will never write the same letter more than once: There is no copy/paste function with letters. A letter is more personal than an email because it is ultimately a testament to capturing thoughts through a process of meditative solitude. One line leads to the next, and whether it is two paragraphs or ten pages later, by the time you sign your name, you will have written a letter that has never been written before.
          A letter encourages introspective reflection: Created in one time, and read in another, a letter provides the sender with the opportunity of introspective expression. A letter is more personal than an email because it is shared between two people, and so involves an intimate dialogue. Because it involves neither an immediate arrival at its destination, nor a quick reply function, a letter also involves a process of individual reflection and thought. As a shared experience, a letter encourages introspective consideration, in both its written and read experiences.

           In a lost battle against the speed and ease of email in the information era, there is little reason why you should write a letter. When it comes to intimate dialogue, though, letter-writing outweighs digital formats. By encouraging individual and introspective reflection in a shared experience, writing a letter is more personal than an email. Letter-writing might be a dead art, but its value in sentiment trumps any digital method of communication.

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Punctuation Education: a Brief Guide to the Semicolon

Posted by Sandra Cortez on 06:23 AM, 18-Feb-16

Punctuation Education: a Brief Guide to the Semicolon

      Do you feel silly about not knowing how to use the semicolon correctly? Does it create a furrow in your brow? There seems to be no other punctuation mark quite as fear-inducing or confounding. What is the semicolon exactly? What is its purpose? How does it differ from the colon or comma? Whether you are writing an essay or an email, or working your way through one of Kafka’s notoriously long sentences, there inevitably comes a time when the semicolon induces a head-scratch or a scrunched nose. This article will enable you to correct your punctuation by explaining when and how to use the semicolon correctly. Remember that learning how to punctuate correctly will make you a more articulate writer (and people don’t take you seriously when your grammar is inaccurate).

What is the semicolon?

Simply, the semicolon, is a hybrid of the colon, and the comma.

When to use the semicolon?

Understanding how to use the semicolon correctly is to know that there are two ways to do so:

1. When you want to construct complex lists

2. When you want to provide a necessary pause between two independent clauses that closely relate to each other

How to use the semicolon correctly?

Learn from the following examples:

1. When constructing a complex list (or lists within a list), use the semicolon as follows:

Example (a): I have published my writing in Jiggered Magazine, Mahala, and Prufrock in South Africa; Room Magazine, The Fiddlehead, and Arc Poetry Magazine in Canada; and The Culture Muncher, Zen Kimchi, and WritingPoints.

Example (b): I am a freelance editor of varying writing styles including fantasy, science fiction, and teen fiction; phenomenological, feminist, and poststructural philosophy; and travel writing, blogging, and language training copy online.

2. When adding a pause between two sentences that can stand alone as grammatically correct and that closely relate to each other, use the semicolon as follows:

Example (a): I write poetry about trees and dreams; it helps me to practice my writing skills and ensures that I exercise my creative imagination.

Example (b): I recommend that you read literature by writers who often use semicolons; learning by example is one of the best ways to correct your punctuation.

     No longer may the fear of semicolons strike your writing heart. Now that you know what a semicolon is, and when and how to use it, you no longer need to feel silly when your study buddy shyly asks “what is a semicolon?” When asked about how to use a semicolon correctly, you’ll be able to answer with authority. By reading this article, you have helped yourself to correct your punctuation, thus enabling you with the grammatical ability to slay future semicolon conundrums.

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Repetition: Saying it Twice Makes it Twice as Important

Posted by Sandra Cortez on 06:15 AM, 18-Feb-16

Repetition: Saying it Twice Makes it                   Twice as Important

       Writing short fiction is the task of not wasting words, and repeating an image in a short story walks the finest line between impact and waste. Even simple word repetition can grasp the reader: it gives them everything you can’t say in the few words available to you. The great masters of the short story often hide all their meaning behind the specific image that they are repeating, and so can you if you choose an image wisely. Think about a few of the following ideas the next time you are writing short fiction:

1. Use shapes and colours: Shapes and colours are always vivid to our minds. Repeating an image of a blue dress or an orange hexagonal window can give your reader a glimpse into the iceberg below your words. (The image of the iceberg has indeed been used by many critics to discuss the short fiction of Hemingway.)

2. Speak only to the core idea: As the writer, you already know what you want to make important, but when writing short fiction you must be ruthless by cutting away unnecessary and peripheral descriptions so that the core of your story is exposed. If I read that your character is beautiful like a blooming rose, when the image is repeated in the same short story, it becomes a symbol for beauty without saying as much.

3. Working harder is working better: Word repetition can, however, be a trap. As writers, we are sometimes lazy and so it is easy to fall into a trap of repetition. Don’t take short cuts. Writing short fiction is a craft and you must be absolutely sure that repeating a word is the best way to convey your point (short of inventing your own words).

4. Let the reader do the work: When we read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis we are only ever given one description of Gregor Samsa’s state when he wakes up an insect. For the rest of the novella it is up to the reader’s imagination to build the horror of his alienation. Repeating an image in a short story does the work for the reader, so make sure that it is a part of your plan.

      The attempt of this article is not to show how to repeat an image in a short story by giving a set of guidelines, and even less so to state that there are rules to writing short fiction. Writing fiction is a creative process and the above points simply give ideas for using images in an interesting way that allows you to say something without actually saying it.

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Corrective Grammar Surgery: Is Punctuation a Part of Grammar?

Posted by Sandra Cortez on 06:00 AM, 18-Feb-16

    Corrective Grammar Surgery: Is Punctuation a Part of Grammar?

     A previous Grammar Corrective Surgery article titled “The Differences Between Grammar, Syntax, and Punctuation” stated that both punctuation and syntax are subcategories of grammar. This article explains why punctuation, specifically, is a part of grammar.

     Briefly, punctuation is the marks and signs which are necessary in order to structure sentences by providing breaks and pauses to clauses and phrases. Grammar is the entire structure and system of language and its clarity and accuracy often depend on the correct use of punctuation. While punctuation is not usually discussed as a subcategory of grammar, without any punctuation at all, a body of text would often make very little sense because it would be unclear, inaccessible, and very hard to read.

Punctuation is not always necessary for correct grammar, but they are related. Since grammar is the entire system of textual language, which requires marks and signs to provide pauses and breaks to structure the order of clauses, phrases and sentences, punctuation is a fundamental aspect of grammar.

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  1. Post by college essay writers at http://proessays.org/professional-college-essay-writers/ . - Different variations of usage of punctuation.
  2. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/6/ .- Purdue online.
  3. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01/. - Brief preview of punctuation.