Barbara McLain

Staff Writer, Writing Commons

Barbara has nearly 20 years of experience teaching English on both the high school and college level, in public and private schools.

  1. Comma Splice

    What is a Comma Splice? A comma splice is a significant sentence-error that occurs when two independent clauses (aka two complete sentences) are connected with just a comma rather than end-mark punctuation.a signal that denotes declarative knowledge about Standard Written English (particularly punctuation); professionalism, and work ethic. The comma is a versatile piece of punctuation, but it cannot join two...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  2. Inclusive Language

    What is Inclusive Language? Biased Language? Inclusive language (aka biased language) is language that is respectful and sensitive to ageism, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic and, the values, beliefs, symbolic practices of others. The absence or presence of inclusive language affects the tone of the messagethe writer's, speaker's, or knowledge worker's voice and, perhaps, persona. Related Concepts: Audience; Diction;...

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  3. MLA Citation

    What is MLA Citation? MLA Citation refers to the guidelines for citing sources according to the MLA Handbook, 9th Edition. MLA refers to the Modern Language Association, an international organization that informs the discourse practices of teachers, scholars, and students in the humanitiesThe 9th Edition is the current, official handbook of the MLA. MLA Citation Format provides writers with two major ways to attribute sources: in the actual text using a parenthetical...

    Published on Apr 29th 2022

  4. MLA Format

    What is MLA Format? MLA Format refers to the formatting guidelines published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) for writers of research papers (see MLA Handbook, 9th Edition). Related Concepts: Annotated Bibliography; Intellectual Property; Page Design; Plagiarism MLA Font Select a readable font such as Times New Roman, and an easily legible font size (usually 10- to 12-point font). MLA...

    Published on Apr 28th 2022

  5. Pronoun – Guide to Writing with Pronouns

    If these sentences seem ok, that may be because you may hear people say them in everyday discourse. Still, from the standard of British or American English, the first three sentences contain a pronoun error. The fourth sentence, which until recently would have been considered an error, is correct. What Are Pronouns? Pronouns are words that substitute for other nouns. For...

    Published on Feb 14th 2020

  6. Pronouns and Inclusivity

    What are Gender Neutral Pronouns? People have been arguing about gender-neutral pronouns for over 700 years! The way we use pronouns—in particular the use of the traditionally plural pronouns they/them in reference to both males and females—has recently been a subject of intense debate. This furor over pronoun use feels very current, yet linguistic scholars trace this disagreement back at...

    Published on Apr 08th 2022

  7. Transitions – Transition Words – Transitional Phases

    What are Transitions? Transition Words? Transition Phrases? Transitions, Transition Words, Transitional Phases—these terms concern authors' efforts to design the flow of information in a text in ways that promote clarity, brevity, simplicity, flow, unity for readers, listeners, users. Accomplished writers understand interpretation is challenging. They understand readers can lose track of the big picture—the writer's purpose, thesis, research question. Thus, when revising and...

    Published on Nov 16th 2019