Letter from a Quotation Mark

Dear Students,

My name is Quinn, and I would like to take a moment to share a little bit about myself. The first thing you should know about me is that I am a twin. My sister, who is only a few minutes younger than me and always follows behind me where ever we go, is named Qiana. Together, we are quotation marks, me being the opening quote and Qiana being the closing quote. We are completely inseparable!

Qiana and I are both suckers for a quality quote, and you can always find us hanging around them. In fact, we get quite frustrated when someone quotes without inviting us to join the party. Our favorite kind of quotes are ones where three or more words are copied directly from either a primary or secondary source. If a quote is paraphrased, Qiana and I don’t bother showing up. With all this in mind, if you can remember just a few simple things about us, we should be able to get along just fine.

Firstly, whenever Qiana and I go to a quoting party, we usually invite our friends, Connie Comma and Petunia Period. Now, Connie, she’s not always the biggest fan of quotes, so I take it upon myself to stand between her and the quoted words. On the other hand, Petunia loves a good quote, and Qiana is nice enough to let her stand next to the quoted words. When we’re at a quoting party, we stand like this:

According to Collins Dictionary, “quotation marks are punctuation marks that are used in writing to show where speech or a quotation begins and ends.”

Sometimes Connie Comma and Petunia Period are in different positions. For example, Connie isn’t always free to join us at the party. Also, Petunia has a close friend named Cynthia Citation, and when she joins the party, Petunia prefers to stand behind her. When this happens, we stand like this:

The Visual Communication Guy reminds all his readers that Quoting doesn’t mean summarizing or paraphrasing; it means repeating exactly what someone said (par. 2).

Another reason that Petunia Period might not stand right next to the last word of the quote is when the author’s thoughts continue on after the quoted words. Here is an example of how we stand in this instance:

Quotation marks are used to enclose article titles or parts of a document but not larger works, such as an entire novel or encyclopedia.

Something else you should know about me and Qiana is that we are huggers! Whether we’re hugging the first letter of the quote or the ending punctuation, we’ve got to be hugging someone. We wouldn’t be caught dead at a quoting party standing like this:

The grammar website, English Sentences, states that   We use quotation marks for all kinds of things in writing and literature, like sharing quotations, adding emphasis, expressing dialogue, and identifying titles. 

Oh! I completely forgot to tell you that twins run in our family. Qiana and I have two baby brothers who are also twins named Quashawn and Quentin. They are a little bit smaller than we are but no less important. They accompany us to our quoting parties when we know that there’s going to be a quote inside a quote. At these kinds of quoting parties, we stand like this:

Matthew 4:19 states, And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (English Standard Version).

The last thing you need to know about me and my sister is that we sometimes get intimidated by long quotes. For example, in certain writing formats, block quotes are used for longer quotations. Block quotes are set apart from the author’s text and sometimes formatted differently. This is a lot of information, but the most important thing to remember is that Qiana and I never go to block quoting parties; they’re just not our thing!

Well, I hope that this letter has helped you to get a better idea of how to more effectively invite me, my siblings, and my friends to your quoting parties. Just remember, the most important rule is that you always invite us!

Sincerely,

Quinn Quotation Mark

Who’s who?

Quinn – opening quotation

Qiana – closing quotation

Quashawn – opening apostrophe quotation

Quentin – closing apostrophe quotation

Connie – comma

Petunia – period

Cynthia – citation

Written by Meredith (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

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Created to Enjoy

Peeking out from behind closed petals, the sparkling sky catches my attention. I sway back and forth in excitement as the soft morning breeze caresses my petals. Soaking up the morning dew, I prepare for the beautiful day ahead.

To my delight, several bright, polka-dotted ladies begin to crawl across my stem, hoping to snack on some aphids before the heat of the day. If I could only get those pesky bugs to leave me alone! So rude – always eating holes through my beautiful, waxy leaves! A vibrant green, my littlest leaves droop in relief as the prestigious ladies finish their aphid breakfast. Grateful, I stand up straight and tall, stretching out my stems, hoping to provide the ladies easy passage back to their underground hideout. Unfortunately, I have to practically grow new roots to keep from squirming as those ticklish little feet travel back down my stalk!

Looking up, I sigh in wonder as the morning sun begins to peek over the mountaintop. Bright pink and orange hues dance behind the majestic mountains, anxiously awaiting their morning debut. As dawn turns into day, my little meadow slowly comes to life once again.

I release a few withered petals as several delicate butterflies resume their morning migration. Enticed by my beautiful scent, the butterflies pause to sample my sticky nectar, leaving behind pollen from other flower friends near and far. As the flutterers continue on their journey, I bask in the sun’s gentle rays: warming, loving, life-giving. Early morning chills dissipate as I stretch my head toward the sky. My sole desire in life is to share my beauty with all those around. What joy is found in the life of a flower!

As I continue warming in the sunshine, a human pushing a curious machine comes into view. My petals and leaves perk in excitement at the rare sighting. Perhaps he has come to bask in my beauty! Closer and closer he pushes the machine and louder and louder the noises become. As I wait in anticipation, early excitement turns to profound horror. Though the sun continues to shine, I feel frozen from shock. Completely helpless, I watch as flower families fall all around. Closer, closer, closer the giant machine approaches. Louder, louder, louder, the cutting noises intensify.

-chop-

I shrivel in despair as my beautiful petals sink into the dirt. Instead of enjoying, cherishing, and sharing, the mower breaks, takes, and devastates. If only mankind could understand, I am simply here to help them comprehend that the beauties of earth are for them to enjoy, so on this Earth Day, be grateful, and do not destroy.

Written by Leah (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

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Who is Barabbas?

Most of us are familiar with the story of Barabbas. We know that Pontius Pilate offered the angry mob a choice: the release of a well-known criminal or the release of a humble teacher. We also know that the crowd overwhelmingly chose the release of Barabbas and demanded the brutal execution of Jesus. However, we might miss the point of the whole story if we see Barabbas as a random criminal.

Barabbas is mentioned in all four Gospels of the New Testament, which means that he is extremely crucial to the story and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. Barabbas was charged with insurrection in Jerusalem, robbery, and murder. He was “a notorious prisoner” (Matthew 27:16). It was also customary for a Jewish prisoner to be released before the Feast of Passover every year, which is why Pilate chose to use it as a strategy to keep himself blameless.

The meaning of Barabbas’ name is key to understanding how and what the authors of the Gospels were trying to convey to their readers. According to Hebrew Streams, Barabbas means “the son of [his] father.” They had to choose between the twisted version of man (Barabbas) and the perfect image of what man ought to be (Jesus), which made the choice spiritually-charged almost immediately because of this fact.

When we read about this story, we might be quick to point out the depravity of the world and the sinfulness of the mob. However, we fail to realize that we are talking about ourselves here. Dead in our trespasses and guilty of breaking God’s laws, we are deserving of His wrath, but a blameless sacrifice to take our place was provided by Him instead—drawing one of the most beautiful biblical parallels with the story of Abraham and his son Isaac found in Genesis 22:1-18. In this story, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac and when He saw his obedience, he provided a lamb to be sacrificed instead. Christ’s work on the cross carries the same message and the same story.

Dead in our trespasses and guilty of breaking God’s laws, we are deserving of His wrath, but a blameless sacrifice to take our place was provided by Him instead—drawing one of the most beautiful biblical parallels with the story of Abraham and his son Isaac found in Genesis 22:1-18.

Though we ought to rejoice in Christ’s resurrection, Jesus wished his followers to remember this time of sorrow. At the Last Supper, Jesus speaks of His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins and commands us to partake in the same communion as we remember Him (Luke 22:19). The Apostle Paul eloquently elaborates on this as well by saying, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

While many indulge in colorful eggs and delicious sweets, Scripture admonishes us to proclaim His death continually, for by it we are made alive. Our hearts ought to break at the cost of our sin, yet mend with thankfulness for the power of His resurrection. The story of Barabbas illustrates this truth wonderfully. The historicity of Barabbas and the meaning of his name are important to the interpretation and understanding of the text; however, he finds his true identity in all of us. We have all sinned and broken God’s laws. We are Barabbas.

Written by Kenean (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

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Thank You, Dirk

basket ball rack

Attached to this post, you will see two pictures. One is of a basketball hoop in the driveway that I have literally spent thousands of hours in, and the other is of a poster that has hung in the same place in my room for roughly 12 years. Neither of these things probably mean anything to you, but if you know me, you know that they mean a great deal to me.

Dirk Nowitzki was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks on June 24, 1998, and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks that same night. This was roughly four months before I was born. Not a second of my life has gone by where Dirk has not been a forward for the NBA team that plays its games roughly 40 minutes from my hometown. I have literally not known a life without Dirk being the centerpiece of the Mavericks.

It is now April 10, 2019. I am nearing the end of my sophomore year of college, and Dirk has officially reached the end of his NBA career. I understand that getting sentimental and emotional over sports can be real weird for some people, but just allow me to explain.

I have always been an incredibly anxious person. Growing up, just talking to people became almost like a nightmare. I was constantly in my head about the most minuscule things, and the thought of initiating any sort of conversation with people, in general, can still cause me to just freeze up. I love listening to people, but having full-length conversations has generally proven to be difficult for me.

But, there’s something about basketball that completely relinquishes every anxiety that I have. Every time I step onto that driveway, or any sort of court, all my energy is focused on getting that round ball into the hoop. Fear, doubt, stress, anxiety, all of it fades into the background. Basketball has been a safe haven for me, and I have no idea what I would do without it.

dirk poster

The poster that you see here was purchased at a book fair (I think) around the year 2007. Admittedly, I don’t really have any basketball-related memories before that point in my life, except that I loved the sport and I thought Dirk looked really cool on the poster (which is just a fact). As I got a little older, I started to gravitate more and more towards him, but not simply because he was the star player on my favorite team. He was a tall, lanky white guy with messy hair. I was/am a tall, lanky white guy with messy hair. He had a more low-key personality off the court. I had/have a more low-key personality. He wasn’t really all that athletic for the majority of his career. Lord knows I have never been that great of an athlete. He was this larger-than-life figure that I looked up to, but I saw a lot of myself in him, even as a child. Naturally, I spent hours upon hours trying to perfect his moves (to the point of getting called “Baby Dirk” in middle school, perhaps my proudest moment lol).

More than that though, I got to build some level of confidence in myself because of what I could do on the court. I still was pretty bad at holding conversations, but if we walk onto the court or start talking about hoops, there was some sort of transformation inside me. I had this newfound boldness in me that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. It’s like basketball, along with sports in general, has this language that automatically brings people together. It’s so bizarre that you could have nothing in common with an individual, but the moment you two step out onto the court, you are connected. And for someone who always felt like he had trouble connecting with people because of anxiety, this was huge for me. I started to form real relationships. Ministry opportunities started to arise. Basketball has been steadily breaking down the walls of anxiety that I have, and Dirk is the main reason for that. I had somebody to look to when it came to my game, and that opened so many doors for me.

Even more than that though, Dirk has been an incredible role model off the court. We’ve entered an age in the NBA where players are constantly looking for how their organizations can serve them. It’s an era where if a player is unhappy with the service they are receiving from their team, they are encouraged to find a team that will give them what they want. While I understand where players are coming from (as organizations may strive to take advantage of their players), I think this “me-first” mentality can build a really toxic environment around your team, your organization, and even your city. I think when you look for how you can serve your team, on and off the court, you build such a tight bond with everyone around you, regardless of team success or individual accolades.

I think when you look for how you can serve your team, on and off the court, you build such a tight bond with everyone around you, regardless of team success or individual accolades.

Dirk has been an incredible example of a player with a “team-first” mindset. He has taken far too many pay cuts in an attempt to give the Mavericks more flexibility in signing bigger stars. He has done so much for the community of Dallas, including an annual celebrity baseball game that supports charity and dozens of visits to local children’s hospitals as “Uncle Dirk.” He even gave up his starting role this season so that younger players could flourish sooner.

If I’m being completely honest, I could talk about Dirk for ages, but I’m not going to do that (kinda already have lol). I will just leave with this: Thank you, Dirk. Thank you for giving me confidence where I had none. Thank you for being such an amazing role model for so many young kids like me growing up in North Texas. Thank you for beating Kobe, Kevin Durant, AND LeBron all in the same playoff run; that was sick.

Thank you for 21 incredible seasons.

Thank you, Dirk.

Written by Ryan (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

Thompson, Ryan. Thank You Dirk Post. Facebook, 10 Apr. 2019, 10:02 p.m., https://www.facebook.com/superzjryan. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.

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Letter from a Hyphen

Dear Students,

Oh, hey! Can’t you see me here? What? You don’t remember me? Well, I am your old friend, Haleigh the Hyphen, the thin dash periodically used in writing. Although I might seem elusive at first, I really am a helpful punctuation mark.

For example, if you are writing compound numbers or fractions in your academic paper, then I am a crucial element to your sentence. Let’s say that you are writing the number 23 ¼ in your essay. In some formats, you would write it like twenty-three and one-fourth. Likewise, I am needed when connecting a series of numbers or dates. My function is not only helpful in academic writing, but it is also useful in the works cited portion of your paper. If you are citing numerous pages, you would squeeze me between the beginning page number and the ending page number. Perhaps you started reading on page forty-five and finished on page fifty. In this instance, you would simply use me like this: 45-50.

In order to clarify your writing, you should use me to distinctively distinguish between two words with the same spelling that have different meanings. As an illustration, the word “recover” means to find; however, re-cover means to repair. Although this might not seem like a big deal at first, I can guarantee you that I make a big difference when talking about your shiny, new Camero. By adding me, you will be able to distinguish between the two words and create clarity in your essay. You might also avoid panicking about the fancy things in your life.

Also, I can connect a prefix to a number, a capital letter, or a word that begins with the same letter the prefix ends with. For example, say there was a pro-American patriot who decided to re-evaluate his stance on the post-1920s view of women. In this instance, I am used in different ways in order to ensure that the rules are met. Without me, there would be some confusing and cluttered sentences. I am also an essential part of forming compound adjectives, joining invented words or long phrases used as adjectives, and connecting suspended compounds. Look at this goofy story to see what I mean: my friend is a well-known actress with a holier-than-thou attitude. She wanted a one- or two-year lease on an apartment in Hollywood; however, tragically, her ex-husband left her and took all of the money. Does that show you how important I can be in a sentence?

Lastly, I am used when words are divided at the end of a line. Although this is typically when you are hand-writing, it is still a vital part of my role as a punctuation mark. For example, if I decided to write an organized and correctly punctuated letter to my friend, then I would make sure that all of these rules are followed. I hope after reading this blog, you remember me and are no longer afraid of me. I cannot wait to show up in your writing!

Sincerely,

Haleigh the Hyphen

Written by Trisha (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

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