Through the Style Masquerade activity and the Style chapters we read for homework I became much more aware of the syntax and diction I use while writing. In terms of word choice, I repeatedly use certain linking and transition words such as “however,” “although,” and “in addition.” I also tend to create complex sentences that involve a lot of commas. I remember having difficulty writing the original version of the paper I rewrote for the Style Masquerade because no matter how I phrased things nothing sounded right. In contrast, rewriting the first paragraph of this same paper felt both easy and liberating. I may not have completely followed the style of my author, Zadie Smith, but just by trying to sound like someone else I felt the words come more easily. I no longer felt pressure to sound academic and instead felt free to explore different ways of phrasing things. For example, two of Zadie Smith’s essays started with a question, so I decided to change the first sentence of my paragraph to a question, which I never would have done for the official research paper format.
One thing I found interesting from the Style chapter was the idea that simplicity does not always lead to clarity. Having read George Orwell’s “Of Politics and the English Language” in high school (one of my influential writing examples), I always avoided big words for fear of sounding both pretentious and vague. Rosenwasser and Smith contested this idea by pointing out that using one big word is often more concise and less awkward than using many little words. At the beginning of this post I originally wrote “word choice” and “sentence structure” but decided to substitute these for “syntax” and “diction” in order to be more succinct.
I haven’t yet given my blogging style much thought. It’s definitely more casual than the papers I write for class but less casual than the language I use in my personal journal. In general I try to write the way I talk, meaning that my blog style would probably be classified as conversational.
For my Why I Write project I am thinking of doing an argument that builds from thesis to conclusion since I’m most comfortable with this style. For my supporting evidence I will talk about different influential factors such as my eight and tenth grade English teachers, my reasons for constantly journaling, and my reasons for choosing the writing minor despite being on a premed track. I am going to have to look back to my Letter of Interest for the Minor in Writing to make sure my arguments aren’t too similar because I think there might be some overlap.