Friday, July 25, 2014
If you write, write right.
Almost yearly, the MLA comes out with new standards in English writing. Some make sense, others I refuse to embrace. And I think in most regards that should be a writer's prerogative. As the new standards become implemented, teachers would have to be hardcore devoted to memorizing those standards and passing them on, which for public school teachers is a lot to add to their plate that includes little pay and stupid standardized testing requirements. So, it could take a decade for some of this stuff to even be taught in public classrooms.
At the grad school I attended, there were come teachers who were very anal about adhering to every new comma rule, splice sentence, etc. And I can understand their logic, but as someone who enjoys writing, please don't make us hate the English language. I got my only C in grad school from an older lady professor who graded my essays harshly because I didn't write the way she wanted me to. It wasn't about grammar, it was about order and opinion, etc. I took the lower grades because I think it should be more about what you're saying than how you say it. (Except the things like to and too and their and they're... those change the whole meaning of a sentence.)
My point is that when it comes to writing, shouldn't it be more about what is being said. In all honesty, as an English teacher myself, every teacher wants something different. This isn't math, where 2 + 2 will always equal 4. I've had teachers who told me I used too many commas, some who said I didn't use enough, yet growing up, they taught you that if you were talking and would pause, that's where a comma would go. They don't say that anymore. Who talks about clauses anymore? These comma happy/comma lacky teachers are just confusing their students by making them obsess over the technical aspects, when it should be about what the CONTENT is. Especially when 9 times out of 10, your professor's/teacher's comma rules are outdated.
I'm sorry to all the writers out there who have spent hours editing their writing because someone has marked their work in red because they used a preposition at the end of a sentence of used three exclamation points, because you're only really "allowed" to use one.
If you can take a stand, do it. If you have to take a C because you know your writing is good and that old lady professor wants you to do it exactly how she does, go for it. No one should have to conform their writing style. There's something to be said for uniqueness.
So all of you that use to and too incorrectly or their, there and they're wrong, stop it. It's not that hard to figure out... seriously. But if you are like me and grew up with two spaces after every period, don't change because your English teacher told you to. What's wrong with two spaces after a period? Does it make things read differently? NOPE. And did you catch that? I said "nope" and used a period at the end... but it wasn't a complete sentence because I didn't have a subject and a predicate. Ugh. Who cares! Not this Grammar Nazi.
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