Thursday, March 8, 2012

OWL-ternative Online Sources: HyperGrammar (University of Ottawa)

Yes, that's an abomination of a pun.  But it was the best I could come up with in the absence of a portable Doug.  He rocks those titles.

Anyway, all fowl puns aside (sorry, couldn't help myself), I thought it might be interesting to explore some quality online resources outside of the comfortable realms of Purdue's OWL.  Sure, the OWL is a fantastic resource, but variety is the spice of life.  It's time to broaden our online horizons.

In all seriousness, it can't hurt to have a few more resources under your belt.  Different people are going to react differently to the various layouts and approaches.  In some instances, these alternative sources might even be better for you.  Blasphemy, right?  I know, I know.  Set down your jagged rocks.  Put out ye flaming torches.  Toss aside your sharpened pitchforks.

The first newcomer hails from the University of Ottawa.  Their Writing Centre (yes, they use the fancy spelling) has a segment called HyperGrammar, which is actually pretty neat.  Now, before you go traipsing off to that website and return in a huff, let me preface this introduction by admitting it focuses more on the basics of writing than much of what you'll find on the OWL.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

HyperGrammer is actually presented in a way that resembles an online classroom.  There's a nice navigation bar on the left-hand side that allows you to either progress through the numerous subject they offer or hunt down the one that's giving you the most trouble.  Honestly, I think it can be incredibly helpful even for advanced writers to occasionally return to the basics.  I know when I'm in the Writing Center, struggling to explain something that I learned half a dozen years ago, having a place of reference makes the task a whole lot easier.

Additionally, nearly all the explanations include hyper-links embedded into the actual explanatory text.  Forget the difference between a correlative and coordinating conjunction while reading up on strategies for combining sentences?  No problem -- click on the phrase and it'll take you straight to the matching page.

Whether you're a veteran writer looking for a refresher or a frustrated freshman trying to sift through gerunds and appositives, HyperGrammar is at least worth a looksie.

For those of you who want to check it out, the link is below:

(Well, you could also click on the linked "HyperGrammar" up where it's first mentioned, but I felt like pasting a URL.  It was cathartic.  Don't ask me why.)

No comments:

Post a Comment