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 sentence error that occurs when two independent clauses (aka two complete sentences) are connected with just a comma rather than end-mark punctuation. Related Concepts: Common Sentence Error; Coordination & Subordination; Register; Sentence; Parts of a Sentence; Independent Clauses, Dependent Clauses & Phrases Comma Splice Examples A comma splice divides two independent clauses with a comma. John ran quickly toward the exit, he...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  2. Inclusive – Inclusive Language

    What is Inclusive Language? Inclusive language is language that is respectful and sensitive to ageism, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and the values, beliefs, symbolic practices of others. Inclusive language "acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities" (Guidelines 2022). The absence or presence of inclusive language affects the tone of...

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  3. MLA Citation – MLA In Text 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 humanities The 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...

    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. MLA Format Example: Sample MLA Format Essay

    Below is a sample essay in MLA format. Sample MLA Essay Barbara McLain Dr. Joe Moxley Linguistics 10 May 2022 The Pronoun Controversy The way we use pronouns—in particular the use of the traditionally plural pronouns they/them in reference to individuals—has recently been the subject of intense debate and even outrage. This furor over pronoun use feels very current, but...

    Published on Jun 01st 2022

  6. MLA Works Cited

    What is MLA Works Cited? MLA Works Cited refers to the MLA's (Modern Language Association's) guidelines for formatting a list of references at the end of a text that cites sources. The MLA Handbook, 9th Edition requires authors to provide a list of references — aka a works cited page — at the end of their texts to acknowledge the...

    Published on May 01st 2022

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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