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URLs: Some Practical Advice

The new MLA Handbook recommends including URLs in works-cited-list entries for online works, but it also notes their drawbacks . . .

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President’s Day: A Singular Holiday?

When it comes to styling the holiday variously known as President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and Presidents Day, authorities disagree not only about what to call the holiday but also about what the holiday celebrates.

It is . . . that; or, How Not to Edit Jane Austen

The formula it is . . . that is one of the most common rhetorical tics in academic writing. This formula also provides a great opportunity to edit for concision, since it can usually be removed easily from a sentence without changing the meaning . . .

MLK Day the MLA Way

Martin Luther King Day? Martin Luther King, Jr., Day? MLK Day? There seems to be no consensus on how to style the name of this federal holiday.

When Not to Include

Many of the MLA’s authorities on English usage frown on the use of include to mean are.

Overhedging

Keep an eye out for overhedging. Some writers are timid—or pretend to be—about making a statement, so they hedge: “I believe,” “it seems to me,” “may be,” “suggests that,” et cetera. The problem is that, having hedged, they often worry that they still have been too positive, so they hedge again, often in the same . . .

Former and Latter

There are many stylistic sins worse than using former and latter. But if you’ve ever had to stop and reread a sentence or passage to figure out what former and latter point back to, you know why it’s best to avoid them . . .

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