Marko Saric’s excellent post, 6 Ways Your English Teacher Wrecked Your Writing reminded me of my girls’ high school days, when every piece of their (and some of their friends’) written work encountered my notorious red pen.
Both of my girls are excellent writers, so the editing was mostly for flow and to catch an errant typo or two. I was continually frustrated by the way writing is taught in our schools — I told them to write this way to please that teacher and then, please, never, ever again.
From Mario, here are the worst:
- They made you use big words • At school, using big words got you better marks. This helped to increase your vocabulary, which is good. But it also taught you to garnish your writing with pretentious words and corporate jargon.Here’s the thing: nobody’s stood over your desk handing out house points for being a [sic] words-worth anymore. But these big smart-ass words are letting you down. In blogging, your goal is to be clear and persuasive – not score points for using a thesaurus.
- They made you write passively • The ultimate English teacher no-no? Daring to refer to yourself or the reader.You basically couldn’t write ‘you’ or ‘I’. So, “the liquid in the test tube was heated to 80 degrees” was ok, but the active form (“I heated the liquid in the test tube to 80 degrees”) wasn’t. Your school taught you that using the passive form made you sound formal and objective.
Time to wise up, because today the opposite is true in successful blog writing. When you address people as “you,” they’re more likely to tune into your words. And when you refer to yourself as “I”, it makes you sound accountable.
Read the rest on How to Make My Blog.com.
And please do not write this way. Ever. Promise?