Wikis and usage advice

You have surely concluded from our recent polls that we are interested in your favourite online sources on language use. After receiving a large number of different answers from you when asked about your go-to online sources, I noticed that some people rely on wikis when it comes to language advice.  Therefore, I decided to look into a few different formats of advice giving on these user-generated sites. WikiAnswers is the leading Q&A website in the world: it comes in really handy if you need to get quick answers to questions such as: Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition? or Can you use ‘literally’ in a sentence? If there are several similar questions and answers, the alternatives are listed under the entry. Contributors are awarded ‘trust points’ or badges which makes participating on this wiki site a fun experience. WikiAnswers is an ad-supported website, which might distract you from your strictly linguistic interests which brought you here in the first place.

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Wikipedia, the most widely used and the best known wiki, provides users with a good overview of the discussion on a particular usage item in which they are interested. Aside from a definition as a quick way in, the readers are often presented with histories of disputes, famous examples from popular culture, linguistic analyses, examples from different languages, etc. If you are interested in the wider context and the origins of the respective dispute, Wikipedia makes a good starting point.

Finally, wikiHow is the visually most attractive of the three websites. This how-to website uses step-by-step explanations and guidance on how to use ‘who’and ‘whom’ correctly, improve your grammar, and choose between ‘I’ and ‘me’.

With the number of examples, tips, and external sources, wikiHow is a goldmine for teachers, students and learners of English. Remember, if you think that the answers, accounts or the advice are not up to date, you can always edit and join the growing wiki community.

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