Have always appeared to be a bit rigid in their rules for my taste. I think an amount of experimentation is always good. Of course, my writings as an undergrad were sloppy. I misused commas, had run-ons, fragments with glaringly missing subjects, and over all meandering of thoughts.

It wasn’t until college that I began to realize how important a well phrased sentence is. Even then, I understood that writing is a muscle that needs to be worked out constantly in order for it to get stronger and better, and a way to make writing stronger is through good teaching. It wasn’t until a creative writing teacher sat down with me and went over a short story, word for word, did I realize just how sloppy my prose was.

Later, Dr. Darawula sat down with me and went over all my commas for a paper I turned in for a graduate school application. Once in grad school, I was in constant fear of Dr. Schwartz’s telling me to reevaluate my topic sentences and Dr. Milbauer telling me to proof read and be more careful with my writing. It was during this time that I started to realize how much more powerful a sentence could be the more concise it is. This revelation did, however, curtail my creativity.

These are the issues that a new article in slate.com address about Stanely Fish’s new book on writing. This article gives a nice history of the sentence and its evolution; hopefully when I have some time, I will be bale to read through Strunk and White and compare it to Fish’s book.

Sometimes I do feel I am killing student’s creativity by telling them that their language is too flowery or too wordy. I, too, try to teach students to avoid redundant phrases and to be concise. But it seems right to do so. You have to know the rules, how to do it “properly” before you get to bend and break the rules. But I should really be grading my students’ writings now, not blogging about writing…

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