How to Use Commas

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This is part one in our original grammar series.

Today, we discuss the comma. It has rules attached to it that are easy to forget, and often hard to understand.

Which of these sentences is correctly punctuated?

comma 1A) Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell Tale Heart,” describes the crazy narrator’s murder of the old man he lives with.
B) Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is as enjoyable as it is educational.
C) Herman Melville’s novel, Moby-Dick, is as enjoyable as it is educational. Continue Reading ›

The 10 Most Popular Homework Help Questions on eNotes

enotes top 10 questions

This month we’re opening our data vault and sharing some eNotes secrets. We get thousands upon thousands of student questions on every topic imaginable. And those questions are viewed by even more students around the world. So it takes a unique question to top our charts and get more clicks than all the rest. Here are the current most popular questions accessed on our site:

1. What are some interesting speech topics for a five minute speech?

Your palms are sweating, your voice is trembling, and the audience is waiting for you to say something. Quick, grab your smartphone and check this eNotes page! We can’t guarantee you a standing ovation, but you will likely get a few laughs or thoughtful “mhms”.

2. List the advantages and disadvantages of globalization.

You can buy a McDonald’s hamburger and a Coca Cola in pretty much any country on the planet, but is that a good thing? These answers will make you think twice about the impact of our connected world. Continue Reading ›

Exquisite Commencement Speeches by Famous Authors

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A lot of the literary geniuses who penned the eNotes top one hundred literary works are dead—but a surprising number of them aren’t, and have thankfully stuck around long enough to see the invention of YouTube.

Check out the funny, profound, tragic, and sometimes surprising revelations offered by the authors you think you know in their commencement addresses. Continue Reading ›

Mother’s Day Cards to Famous (and Infamous) Literary Moms

love heart in a book with filter effect retro vintage style

We love our moms, and they love us!

But… more often than not in literature, we see somewhat, er, nontraditional relationships between mothers and their children.

Some of these relationships are too good (or too bad?) not to comment on, so when we started brainstorming our Mother’s Day post, we kept coming back to the idea of the classic Hallmark card with a little twist. Below you’ll find the Mother’s Day card imaginings of famed literary mother-child relationships.

A little bit snarky, and a little bit sweet, we think you’ll find these a real treat. Continue Reading ›

8 Hauntingly Beautiful J.M. Barrie Quotes

Happy birthday, Sir Barrie!

J.M. Barrie, famous for penning the original novel that inspired Peter Pan, turns 155 today!

To commemorate, we’ve put together some of our favorite Barrie quotes (no, we didn’t just focus on Peter Pan… though we couldn’t omit it entirely). We chose some of our favorite spine-tingling and thought-provoking quotes commenting on life and death. We hope you enjoy!

Also, head over to eNotes to learn more about J.M. Barrie and his works: The Little Minister, The Admirable Crichton, and Peter Pan.

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister

Continue Reading ›

The Next New Thing: Personalized Learning

High School Teacher Helping Student With Written Work

One thing about education as a profession—the grass is never allowed to grow under a teacher’s feet for very long. There’s always something new coming down the pike, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does induce a kind of professional dizziness from time to time. Adapting to the “next new thing” is always a challenge, especially if it moves from the periphery onto the center stage in classroom practices. The most recent concept in education is personalized learning, not to be confused with differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction addresses how lessons are delivered to students, based on their individual needs. Personalized learning is more complex.

enotes blog squaresIn its purest form, personalized learning allows students to choose what they will study and to proceed at their own pace in meeting individual goals. Implementing it requires four instructional strategies, which are summarized in “Personalized Learning: A Working Definition”:

  • Continual assessment as a student progresses toward “clearly-defined goals,” with the student advancing and earning credit after demonstrating mastery.
  • Learning environments designed to meet students’ needs in reaching their goals.
  • Customized “learning paths” based on each student’s progress, motivations, and goals.
  • Up-to-date “learner profiles” that chart each student’s strengths, needs, motivations, and goals.

That’s a lot to do after taking attendance! Seriously, it’s a lot to do period, and the current demands of standardized testing make personalized learning seem like a classroom fantasy. It’s a great idea, though, so what can be done to personalize learning in a system based on covering a specific curriculum in a limited amount of time? Apparently, quite a bit, starting with learner profiles. Continue Reading ›

Scholarship Spotlight – May 2015

Every month, eNotes will select some of the best scholarships around and post them on our blog. Take a look at this month’s scholarships! When you are ready to apply, check out our tips on How to Write a Scholarship Essay.


$10,000 Comeback Clothes Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Eligibility: Must be under 26 years old. Continue Reading ›