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LinguaPhile, April 2005

An e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.

We welcome new subscribers from the CABE conference, the CATESOL conference, and the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® Education Expo!


Highlights from VOYA Review of Hands-On English

The Second Edition of Hands-On English was reviewed in the April issue of VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates). Here are highlights from the review, which was entirely favorable:

[Hands-On English] is a straightforward, accessible, and clear-cut guide to the technical aspects of the English language. [The book] thoroughly covers the basics, including parts of speech, sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The author provides enough examples to make a point, but keeps sections concise, making this book an excellent tool for answering questions while working on a project. . . . [Hands-On English] is easy to study, with lots of white space, bold-text headings, and illustrations detailing some of the more complex ideas. . . . [It gives] teachers and students alike a near-perfect guide to all things English.
--Catherine Gilmore-Clough for VOYA

See more about Hands-On English, including a complete table of contents and sample pages, at

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Looking Ahead to the 2005-2006 School Year

Please consider Hands-On English as you select an English program for your students. Hands-On English makes grammar visual with symbols to represent parts of speech, and it assumes no prior knowledge in grammar, usage, capitalization, or punctuation. While Hands-On English is a valuable resource for teachers, it is even more effective when each student has a copy of the handbook. Having the information at their fingertips helps students develop independence and confidence with English. Making such information readily accessible to students also helps teachers meet the diverse needs of students in their classes.
(Near the bottom of that page you'll find links to a complete table of contents and a few sample pages.)

Hands-On English is for people working to master the basics of English, regardless of their age. It is used by students from nine years of age through adults. Because information in Hands-On English (the handbook) is easy to find and easy to understand, it is popular with students for whom English poses problems. It is just as appropriate, however, for other students, even those gifted in English. Once people begin using Hands-On English, it is likely to serve as their handbook forever.

Companion products help students master concepts presented in Hands-On English. The Activity Book includes practice pages, tests, resources, and classroom activities. The pages can conveniently be spread over several years, making the Hands-On English program even more economical.
(Near the bottom of that page you'll find links to a complete table of contents and a few sample pages.)
Hands-On Sentences is a card game that provides practice with parts of speech and sentence construction. It requires students to pull together various grammar concepts they have learned. Doing so helps them internalize concepts -- much more so than doing a worksheet, where they deal with only one or two concepts at a time.

Hands-On Icons provides enlarged versions of the part-of-speech icons and includes suggestions for making grammar kinesthetic as well as visual.

Substantial discounts are available on quantity purchases.

You can order by phone, fax, snail mail, or on the Internet. MasterCard and Visa are accepted, and purchase orders are accepted from institutions.

If you have questions, contact or (toll free) 1-888-641-5353.

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Resources for Poetry Month

The April 2001 LinguaPhile includes a number of resources to help you celebrate poetry month.

The April 2003 issue includes information on Found Poetry.

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Writing Suggestions for Mother's Day and Father's Day

You might want to start early to prepare a special written gift for parents or grandparents. Here are some suggestions (although Issue 22 is directed at mothers and Issue 23 at fathers, you
might get ideas for either parent in either issue):

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Quote of the Month: Daily Communication

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German dramatist, novelist, poet, and scientist (1749-1832)

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Sharpen Your Vocabulary:  Greek and Latin Morphemes Galore!

Here is a website that will give you hundreds of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes:
In addition to the meaning and origin of the morpheme, you'll find dozens of example words, also with meanings. For some morphemes you'll even find spelling tips.

Almost everyone will encounter new words on this site. I certainly did!

Hands-On English includes more than 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at

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Q and A:  Periods and Commas with Quotation Marks

Question: There is an ongoing debate in our high school English department about period and comma use with closing quotation marks. My stance is that both commas and periods should always be inside quotation marks; however, I see British publishers using periods and commas outside of quotation marks. What say ye?

Answer: You are absolutely right! In the U.S. system, periods and commas are always supposed to go inside closing quotation marks. Direct quotations seldom cause problems. However,
quotation marks used for other reasons are another matter.

Note that colons and semicolons always go outside closing quotation marks. Here are examples of correct uses:
"The Bells," "The Raven," and "Annabel Lee" are poems by Poe.
Our national anthem is "The Star-Spangled Banner"; it has never been "America."

I don't know how much longer we can hope to see these rules followed -- considering their frequent violation.

As the questioner suggested, the British treat periods and commas logically -- the way we treat question marks and exclamation points: They place periods and commas inside if they're part of
the quoted matter, outside if they aren't.

Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and
more. Get details -- and place your order -- at

We invite your questions for this feature:

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Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Ann Fadiman

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is a collection of essays recounting "a lifelong love affair with books and language." Author Ann Fadiman says that she grew up "at Fadiman U," as the daughter of writer, critic, editor, and anthologist Clifton Fadiman. Reading and discussing books were central to the entire family.

Fadiman's essays blend wit and wisdom in the exploration of such topics as long words, compulsive proofreading, and (my favorite) marrying libraries. "After five years of marriage and a child," Fadiman says, "my husband and I resolved that we were ready for the more profound intimacy of library consolidation." As you can imagine -- or may know from first-hand experience -- this is no small feat for two bibliophiles. Which duplicates will be eliminated? How will the books be organized?

In keeping with the Fadiman tradition, the author completes her book with a list of recommended reading.

Linguaphiles will recognize themselves in Fadiman’s essays and will delight in making the acquaintance of this kindred spirit.

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998, 162 pages.

Available from Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

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Puzzler: Brainstorming

The baseball season has returned. However, many baseball terms have been incorporated into our language on a broader scale. For example, we might talk about someone "stepping up to the plate" even with no baseball diamond in sight, or someone "batting a thousand" even without holding a bat.

List as many of these expressions as you can -- expressions that are rooted in baseball but now have a broader application. Try for at least a couple of dozen. (Hint: You might want to spread this process over several days -- listening and watching for such expressions in everyday communication, or even getting ideas as you take in a baseball game.)

Answer to February Puzzler

Complete this sentence with three words formed from different arrangements of the same seven letters.

The Swiss landlord bought [latches] for the shutters of his [chalets] and carried them home in his [satchel].

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Thank you for reading. If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information about subscribing. Those receiving this forwarded message can subscribe at

We welcome your comments and suggestions:

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated regularly, is now available in either a text or .doc format on the GrammarAndMore Web site:
This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience or to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL of the text version?
It's a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

© 2005 Fran Santoro Hamilton


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