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#ThankATeacher for Teacher Appreciation Week

The caterpillar is a curious little bug. It eats and eats and then wraps into a cocoon– slowly transforming into a butterfly.

This week is teacher appreciation week. Who should you thank for transforming your raw talent into professional genius? Slowly, you grew into your best self—flying like a butterfly. #ThankATeacher!

He or she saw a spark in your eye and fueled it. You smiled more, stayed awake, and loved learning. Where would you be without certain teachers at particular intersections in your life?

Sadly though, some of our best teachers aren’t staying in the profession. They’re born to teach, but they choose other careers.

Why?

NBC explored teacher shortages at the start of the 2015 school year.

Educators stay out of or leave teaching for many reasons. They lack support, are dissuaded by excessive paperwork, or low pay. The average educator spends thousands of dollars on college tuition, tests, certification expenses, and supplies. Conversely, the income earned by teachers limps along at $30,000 – $50,000 per year. A substitute teacher makes even less at $65 – $75 per day.

 

Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

How can you show appreciation to a teacher this week?

  • Write a grateful note to those teachers you remember (and even those you’d like to forget.)
  • Volunteer at your child’s school.
  • Give back financially to pay for supplies.
  • Visit a retired teacher in a nursing home.
  • Participate in these five other ways to give back to teachers.

Your flight wouldn’t be the same without inspiration from those special teachers who shaped you along the way. Take a moment to demonstrate gratitude during teacher appreciation week.

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What Is a Split Infinitive?

Split Infinitives are used frequently when speaking, thus noticing them when writing can be difficult.

Often in writing, grammar is left for last. Writers are primarily concerned with getting the point across, so grammar becomes something secondary that can be corrected later, whether by the writer or by an editor. One of the more common, overlooked, grammatical errors are split infinitives.

What is a Split Infinitive?cutting paper

A split infinitive occurs when one places an adverb between “to” and a verb. It’s an extremely common error and sometimes hard to catch.

The following sentences are good examples of split infinitives:

  • You have to really pay attention when he speaks.
  • It’s important to not put those two in a group together.
  • He used to secretly wish he had joined choir.

“Really,” “not,” and “secretly” have been placed in the middle of the infinitive, causing the sentences to technically be grammatically incorrect. The proper ways to write these sentences are as follows:

  • You really have to pay attention when he speaks.
  • It’s important not to put hose two in a group together.
  • He secretly used to wish he had joined choir.

Some People Prefer Split Infinitives

Oxford Dictionaries gives good insight into why anyone would want to uphold the split infinitive. The crux is that we often say them, so why not write them? If you’re trying to capture a certain “voice,” splitting infinitives might achieve your goal; however, the proper way to write a sentence in formal and professional writing is without splitting infinitives.  Whether spoken or written, the meaning of sentences change when word orders change.

As a writer or an editor, it’s important to watch for split infinitives. Catching grammatical errors in another’s work may be your job, but you must also check your own writing before submitting it, even if it’s something as short as an email. Using proper grammar shows you care about your work—double-check those emails, articles, and tweets! ~Holly

 

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When Do I Use a Hyphen Versus a Dash?

dash

When is it appropriate to use a hyphen or a dash?

Hyphen

The main use for hyphens is to connect two or more words into one word that creates a single thought or concept. “Money-saving ideas,” “2-liter bottle,” and “second-grade teacher” are examples of combining two words into one with hyphens.

Another appropriate use for hyphens rather than dashes is when writing numbers—at least, numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine. In both formal and professional writing, it is inappropriate to write numbers like this: 55. Instead, the proper way is to spell the numbers out, as follows: fifty-five. In informal writing, however, a hyphen acts as a substitute for “to” when listing value ranges or game scores.

  • “If you reach 90-99% of your goal, you will have a yellow sticker placed by your name.”
  • “The Cadets won the game with a 34-20 score, so they are now 2-1 for the season.”
  • “The temperature range for Thursday will be in the range of 74-77 degrees.”

Dash

Dashes are twice as long as hyphens. They are used to show an interruption or as a substitute for “it is,” “they are,” or other expressions of a similar nature. Dashes can also be used in place of parentheses. Typically, in word processing programs, when two hyphens are typed together, it becomes a dash. In the written word, when indicating an interruption, they are often found in speech.

  • “I really must leave before—“she paused as the doorbell rang, signaling her doom.
  • “You need to go get cleaned up before—“the oven timer buzzed, causing Ben to smile. “…before we eat dinner,” Rachel finished.
  • Andrew—the quarterback during my senior year—was uncharacteristically kind throughout his high school career.
  • There’s only one person who could let this chaos happen—Amanda.

All these are examples of how dashes can be used.  With these and the examples of uses for hyphens, the questions concerning when to use hyphens versus when to use dashes has an answer. Each has a few specific uses, but those uses cannot be confused. Hyphens are used to connect words into a single concept (and can be suggested when speaking), while dashes are used primarily in the written word to indicate interruption, as a substitute for parentheses, or as a substitute for “it is,” “they are,” or other similar expressions. By understanding the different uses for hyphens and dashes, you’ll be able to double-check your next writing project to ensure proper grammar.  Of course, sometimes its just easier to hire an editor!

~Holly

Additional Dash/ Hyphen Resources:

Purdue OWL

Grammar Book

Grammar Girl

St Michaels College

 

 

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MWW’s Most Popular 2013 Content

photo (9)As we get ready to celebrate 2014 and take one wistful look back on 2013, we thought we’d share My Web Writer’s most popular 2013 posts.

#5  Ethical Guidelines When Using Social Media, An Interview with Northern Illinois University’s Dr. David Gunkel

#4  Short and Sweet- The Benefits of Tumblr

#3  Communication Theory in a Social Media World

#2  Essay Introduction Models and Examples

#1  Speech Openers that Capture your Audience

If you’ve followed My Web Writers this year…thank you.  Really.  It’s nice to share the journey with you.  If you’re passing by, we hope you’ll stay and get to know us.

Before you run, do brag a bit.  Tell us about you.  What were your blog’s top five posts of 2013?

Happy New Years!

Jean and the My Web Writers team

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