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Old 12-01-2017, 09:52 AM
 
1,481 posts, read 597,067 times
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The only college writing course that I took was freshman composition and the emphasis was on proper punctuation, spelling, and presenting a coherent argument to support your thesis. Business writing wasn't taught in the College of Letters and Science, maybe it was in Business School. The closest I came to learning a clear and concise, minimal writing style in college was a semester of journalism where we learned to tell Who, When, Where, What and Why in as few words as possible in plain language, and a poetry class where we read and analyzed some Haiku.

For the most part college papers were written in a formal essay style, stretched out to meet a minimum number of words or pages assigned, and liberally sprinkled with all our best vocabulary words. I don't recall any teacher ever criticizing formal style or fancy vocabulary. 30 years later when my son and daughter were majoring in English Lit. in college, nothing seemed to have changed. English Lit papers were still being written more in the style of NY Times editorials than of news stories.

For example the opining paragraph of yesterday's New York Times editorial is totally superfluous and could have been eliminated completely.

"The New York Times ... By The Editorial Board Nov. 29, 2017
As more senators show signs of sacrificing their principles and embracing the Republican tax bill for minor and nebulous concessions, it bears looking more closely at the process that produced this terrible legislation and some of its lesser-known provisions."

... and just have gone into the story ....

"The Senate tax bill, a 515-page mammoth, was introduced just last week, and the chamber could vote on it as soon as Thursday. "



Quote:
Originally Posted by Empidonax View Post
Many colleges offer business/technical writing; perhaps yours didn't. College-level writing for literature also should strive for concision and clarity, but most professors also like to see an engagement with rhetoric and style.

Your success in the business writing course you took may in fact be due in large part to your work in writing in college English classes. It's possible that the latter classes helped position you to move up to the next level of writing when you were more intellectually mature. That happened to me both in high school and in college.

Last edited by bobspez; 12-01-2017 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:27 AM
 
698 posts, read 384,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
That only means that you didn't have a very good writing professor in college. I had those kinds of atrocities flogged out of me by the time I hit my sophomore year.
Fall classes my freshman year started on a Thursday. The first half of the first day in an honors Thought & Language course was devoted the usual particulars -- attendance, reading lists, exam schedules, office hours, etc. The second half was devoted to writing a 100-words-or-less essay on American government. On Friday, the essays were passed back out again and read aloud. Almost all were absolutely horrible collections of mindless clichés and glittering generalities that would have earned failing grades in my high school English classes. I don't know how many of those folks were ever set straight, but like many at C-D, they certainly had a long, long way to go.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:00 AM
 
3,980 posts, read 1,608,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VendorDude View Post
Fall classes my freshman year started on a Thursday. The first half of the first day in an honors Thought & Language course was devoted the usual particulars -- attendance, reading lists, exam schedules, office hours, etc. The second half was devoted to writing a 100-words-or-less essay on American government. On Friday, the essays were passed back out again and read aloud. Almost all were absolutely horrible collections of mindless clichés and glittering generalities that would have earned failing grades in my high school English classes. I don't know how many of those folks were ever set straight, but like many at C-D, they certainly had a long, long way to go.
You're right. The poster in question makes it sound as if we all sat around with quill pens writing about truth and beauty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

An English degree from a good school has rigorous standards for writing. By that, I don't mean just a certain style of writing intended to pass review by scholastic journals. Instead, being able to master a variety of approaches in terms of style, voice, and overall strategy. Academic writing, journalism, copywriting, business writing, technical writing, and creative writing are all widely divergent disciplines with utterly different requirements and demands.

The other thing? Writing is thinking. Show me someone who can't write clearly, and I'll show you someone who can't think clearly.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Out in the Badlands
10,400 posts, read 8,360,335 times
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Jobs
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:49 PM
 
2,244 posts, read 811,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
You're right. The poster in question makes it sound as if we all sat around with quill pens writing about truth and beauty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

An English degree from a good school has rigorous standards for writing. By that, I don't mean just a certain style of writing intended to pass review by scholastic journals. Instead, being able to master a variety of approaches in terms of style, voice, and overall strategy. Academic writing, journalism, copywriting, business writing, technical writing, and creative writing are all widely divergent disciplines with utterly different requirements and demands.

The other thing? Writing is thinking. Show me someone who can't write clearly, and I'll show you someone who can't think clearly.
I never understood how people who've not majored in something could understand the intricacies or complexities of that major. How do you go about criticizing something that you have no experience with?

Problem is many people think they are good writers since it's something we do on a daily basis. In many cases, that's not true at all.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:05 PM
 
Location: California
604 posts, read 439,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left-handed View Post
I never understood how people who've not majored in something could understand the intricacies or complexities of that major. How do you go about criticizing something that you have no experience with?

Problem is many people think they are good writers since it's something we do on a daily basis. In many cases, that's not true at all.
English is hardly worthless. You learn philosophy. History, how to construct sentences properly etc in that major. An English degree from a good school and a few internships will set you up for a decent career in advertising/publishing etc.

I majored in Biology. Talk about worthless at the undergrad level. Now I work in healthcare.
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:44 PM
 
1,505 posts, read 1,966,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njbiodude View Post
English is hardly worthless. You learn philosophy. History, how to construct sentences properly etc in that major. An English degree from a good school and a few internships will set you up for a decent career in advertising/publishing etc.

I majored in Biology. Talk about worthless at the undergrad level. Now I work in healthcare.
Problem is those internships can be just as competitive as getting the "real" job especially when it comes to a creative field. I.e... company X will probably have more openings for Accounting interns than graphic design or copywriting interns.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:05 PM
 
3,980 posts, read 1,608,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazeddude8 View Post
Problem is those internships can be just as competitive as getting the "real" job especially when it comes to a creative field. I.e... company X will probably have more openings for Accounting interns than graphic design or copywriting interns.
That's true. But that's really a matter of networking than anything.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:06 AM
 
23,265 posts, read 16,104,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njbiodude View Post
English is hardly worthless. You learn philosophy. History, how to construct sentences properly etc in that major. An English degree from a good school and a few internships will set you up for a decent career in advertising/publishing etc.

I majored in Biology. Talk about worthless at the undergrad level. Now I work in healthcare.
Or alternatively you go to grad school and become a teacher or professor. Or one can be a professor or teacher and still work in publishing/advertising. Or English majors can go to law school and become lawyers.
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