Group 1 Wiki Page


Excerpts from Group 1 student writing on the wiki used in ENG 2200 Introduction To English Studies, St. Johns University, Queens, NY in spring 2013 (student names have been removed)

 

"10. In ordinary composition, use orthodox spelling. do not write nite for night, thru for through, pleez for please, unless you plan to introduce a complete system of simplified spelling and are prepared to take the consequences" (Strunk and White, 108.)

 


     With technology expanding at an exponential rate, communication has been driven to be shortened and simplified. These changes can be seen as wholly unwelcome as they would impede the delicacy of modern language. The cultural traditions that have been set would be easily disregarded. Should newer words develop, connotations would change and the rules would shift. But why not embrace this change? As the world is modernized and technology spreads, newer vocabulary would be needed to convey modern concepts and ideas. Through development and growth, language is allowed to change and flow as needed by the world. Eventually different styles of lingo and language are made that differentiate from previous languages.

 

 

 

 

      "14. Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able" (Strunk & White 111.)

 

 

 

"But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.  Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what—these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence.  And they usually occur in proportion to education and rank.” (William Zinsser,  p. 6.)

 


There is a direct dialogue that exists between the above excerpts (rules 9 and 14) from The Elements of Style and the excerpt below taken from On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  This dialogue does not only exist between correlating content, but in a larger way that is embodied within the writing itself.  Both extend a commentary on the simplification necessary for fluid writing.  Strunk and White refer to this process with the analogy of the "twenty-dollar word" and the "ten-center", while Zinsser expresses this in literal terms through the need to "(strip)every long word that could be a short word..." (Zinsser 6.) There is also a direct relationship between the way that each piece qualifies the use of swollen language as being arguably connected to the psyche of the writer.  Zinsser relates this in the passage, "...these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence.  And they usually occur in proportion to education and rank," creating a connection between the likeliness of a writer to commit one of these fallacies and their class.  Strunk and White however, create a less vague idea...that defines a writer's lack of filter as their egotism materialized in their writing.  Both the idea of Zinsser and the idea of Strunk and White, produce a larger idea that is useful in writing.  It begs a writer to understand their own nature as a writer as a window to their internal thought or vise versa; a really intriguing concept.

 

 

Zinsser, William, On Writing Well, Seventh Edition, Harper Collins:New York, 2006.

Strunk, William J. and White, E.B., and Kalman, Maira, The Elements of Style (illustrated), Penguin Group:New York, 2000.

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Comments:

 

 

  "Concise or complex, man’s greatest dilemma. Concise seems very appealing but is difficult to pull off and can lack depth. Complex is great because it allows for depth but it can be confusing, almost unnecessarily so. However, I am a great believer in telling long stories to get to a point – this way you can see the transformation of the idea, and better understand the path that led to the conclusion. It also depends on who your audience is - what will they understand better: mix or amalgamation?
  Overall thoughts: Well-chosen topics and interesting arguments. Good job!" (Lindsey)

 

  "I honestly have a problem with the idea of limiting language. You can turn every single point that was written in the elements (of) style into an antithetical argument. For example...I agree that... you shouldn't be writing "Please" like "Pleez", and that there should still be a general rule for writing. I'm kind of wondering about the culture of writing. Like, what if you were writing a story and you wanted to express to the reader that these characters had really bad diction, or that they said "Please" like "Pleez"? Then in that case, to get your point across wouldn't you need to write it in this way (?)
   Also, who's to say that the correct way to write is the way that {The Elements of Style} presents? I think it would be pretty awesome if {The Elements of Style} was written in a way in which it stated, "There are no rules to writing, just write." That's why I really agree like how Tracy stated that she just scribbles a lot, or how professor Lisabeth stated that JK Rowling began on a napkin. Great things happen, if you don't restrict it." (Terrianne)

 

 

Wassup, guys!

i reeellly enjoyed yer presentation. Nah far da furs sexshon I mus sey I luved da wey een ha-wich ya'll deesscus da form-u-lashon of lenggadge. i pirsonaly disagree wit it bekause i FeEl dat da VuRnAkUlAR ees jus ass eemportent ass proppar inglish. Werks lyke Jaames Joys' Finnegans Wake end Trainspotting bye Irvine Welsh hold substanshal litereree merit bekause dey challenge da reeder 2 kweshon wat dey r reeding; eet ees dificult, but beakuse of da course lenggadge da reeder gets uh beeter undastandin of da karaktars eenvoled. Een dis dey end eyj wee sea all difarant tipes off lenggadge end da 'Propa' wey of speeking/riting ees evolving 1 minde et eh time. All dat eet teaks 2 kreate noo speech ees a weel farmed thought end a voice ar pen dat kan express eet. (Lorenz)