And other lies they told us….
When we were younger, there were a variety of writing-related “rules” that were common in many, if not all, elementary schools. Most of them, we took up with great assault–whether or not we wanted to is a different story. However, as I was thinking earlier today, it seems that many of those silly little rules simply do not matter any more. Some of them are as follows:
1) You will write in cursive until you die. Not writing in cursive will result in a failing grade; until the end of time….. Now I don’t know about you guys, but if I wrote in cursive for one of my classes at the University (given that we are actually writing anything at all and not just emailing or submitting over ctools), I am almost positive that I would receive a zero. This is not because teachers dislike cursive (although I wouldn’t know; who ever asks professors’ opinions?), but rather, my cursive has become so unreadable that I dont think they would even have the patience to grade it.
2) The five paragraph rule holds true for anything you will ever write, ever. Ok. We have all written A LOT over the past couple years. We are also relatively good at it, enjoy it, think we have a future in writing, etc. That being said, just how many papers have you guys written in the past semester with the five paragraph form? A five-page essay simply will not fit into five paragraphs. Nor will it be a strong paper with only three arguments. As college writers, we develop a thesis, devote each paragraph to a topic, and don’t worry about how many paragraphs it takes.
3) Using I is bad. I am in a creative writing class where writing about I is KEY to a strong, reflective, yet meaningful piece. I am in a Communications course where our professor asks that we use I to signify when our beliefs begin and those of the other sources end. In our writing class, we had an assignment titles “WHY I WRITE.” No universal rule exists on using I. Different audiences and different disciplines have different expectations, so ask. I am assuming the old rule on’t always hold true.
Myths of childhood writing, DEBUNKED.