Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who Just Said That!?

Many students enter the collegiate realm with little experience in writing college-level papers. Frankly, most undergraduate papers give their teachers headaches and drinking problems. "Almost 85% of all college professors think their students must learn better writing skills before entering their respective fields." Whoa! Who said that? Where are you?

"I can see you."

WTF?! Get away from me!? Who are you!? "I'm the Quote Phantom! I surprise professors and tutors, and I excel at confusing readers and murdering paragraphs!"

I'll get you yet, Quote Phantom!

*sounds of a struggle*

Hi, my name is Bradley Woodrum. You may remember me from such hits as "Learning to Love the OWL" and my ex-poh-zei on econocats, "Dreams with Cats with Jobs." I have killed many grammar beasts in the past, but the Quote Phantom never seems to die. Maybe it is because teachers ask us to fill quote quotas, or maybe it's because the phantom is technically already dead, but almost every paper that reaches the Writing Center has a quote without explanation.

Instead of just warning the reader, "Hey! This next quote is from Shakespeare," we slap a copy of the line into the paper, squeeze some punctuation around it, and then high-five ourselves for not plagarizing. BUT IT'S WRONG!

"Don't begin paragraphs with quotes, unless you are willing to explain them within that same sentence," Bradley said, loading comma bullets into his shotgun. Bradley also believed that long quotes deserve full sentences before them:
By leading into a long quote with a full sentence, we prep the reader for the coming content. Essentially, we should just summarize the quote.

Some may ask, "Why quote at all then?" Excellent question! Only quote when the author has said something so perfectly, or so authoritatively, that it loses is power if said any other way.
If we are not sure whether our quote is long or not, then we must treat it with caution and use a lead-in sentence anyway. Bradley believes a paper can never have too many colons: "If you are using colons (the two dot things ':'), it means you are explaining stuff. Which is good."


Bradley Woodrum also writes for Homebody and Woman and Cubs Stats and enjoys watching Ghost Hunters more than he probably should.


  1. Don't forget about air quotes or false quotes! That's when someone uses "quotes" to emphasize something rather than italics or underlining. If you're using false quotes to question the validity of something try saying so-called or supposed. You should avoid using quotes unless you're actually quoting something!

    On a side note: for my previous blog entry I googled "cute baby animals" to help me find a picture. Anyone bored with writing a paper should try this as it leads to hours of endless amusement. Even the toughest person won't be able to walk by your screen without stopping to admire the cute little turtle or the happy little bunny.

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