Monthly Archives: April 2014


Language/Writing Tip 32

Here’s a structure to ponder:

‘Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most influential philosophers of language who explained the essential role of “family relationships” in his influential works.’

The phrasing is complicated and and, in fact, wrong (since there are not hoards of philosophers ‘who explained the essential role of…’).

Better (as in clearer, easier to understand and more natural-sounding):

‘Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of language, explained the essential role of “family relationships” in his influential works.’


Language/Writing Tip 31

Try to avoid “in… in…” patterns. Use adjectives or adverbs to soothe the reader’s eye and ear.

1) “In an interview in 2001, Obama states…”


“In a 2001 interview, Obama states…”

2) “In general in Atwood’s work…”


“Atwood’s work generally…”
This and the other tips for this academic year are available at:


Language/Writing Tip 30

Lists. Always a thrilling topic.

Make sure to order your lists clearly. If you mention “The works of Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Faulkner and Woolf…,” you can arrange them:

1) alphabetically:
“The works of Chekhov, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Hemingway, Tolstoy and Woolf…”

2) chronologically (generally by date of birth):
“The works of Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Woolf, Faulkner and Hemingway…”

3) by language:
“In the works works of Dickens, Woolf, Faulkner and Hemingway, and of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov…”
(note the need to order things within the two language lists here).

If you order things in a funkier way, say what your logic is.
E.g. “These authors, ordered by zodiac sign and a predilection for fried food, include…”

Be sure to signal a change (as with “, and of…” in 3), just as this example does NOT:

“They need to stop occasionally and realize that the person was not just a challenging health case but a human being with fears, ailments, anxieties, relatives, and loved ones.”

There’s a comic ring to “anxieties, relatives, and loved ones.”

A potential solution: “…with fears, ailments, anxieties, WITH relatives, and loved ones.”

Without the change-signalling “with,” you risk creating a zeugma in the style of “I took my sister and a bag of chips to the party.”


Language/Writing Tip 29

The author and punctuation.

1) Instead of “the author,” just write the author’s name.

E.g. NOT “The author’s novel…” but “Hemingway’s novel…”

Two more details:
i) remember, in literature papers, to avoid Slovenian-style initials – NOT “C. Dickens” but “Charles Dickens” or just “Dickens”
ii) “author” sounds odd in visual arts. Picasso was a painter.

2) If your quotation has sentence-ending punctuation, there’s no need to add another period.

“And then,” Sally exclaimed, “I ran to the waterfall!”. (sic)

Larry asked, “So what?”. (sic)

On a similar note, if your sentence doesn’t end, chop the sentence-ending punctuation:

“This is the end.” (sic) is how the song starts.

The rest of the tips are available at:

ELOPE Events Various

ELOPE X – Autumn

Dear SDAŠ friends and members,

ELOPE Volume X – Autumn (2013): Studies in the English Language and Literatures in Slovenia (Eds. Smiljana Komar and Uroš Mozetič) is now available online (

If you’re a SDAŠ member and haven’t received your printed version of the journal yet, don’t worry – it’s on its way!


Language/Writing Tip 28

A short one on colours:

“Red colour is important to my life.”

That’s redundant.

“Red is important to my life.” (since “red” is obviously a “colour”).

If you want to emphasize the colourness of the colour red, write:

“The colour red is important to my life.”