Rosenwasser & Stephen – Analyzing Style

While analyzing a final exam paper I wrote last semester for HJCS 277 The Land of Israel/Palestine Through the ages, I found it hard to decipher one “go to” sentence shape. I assume this is because after years of English class I have been taught to be cognizant of my sentence structure and vary it as much as possible. One thing I did notice is that I start many sentences with the word “however” (Ironically, I was about to write this sentence as ‘however, I did notice that I start many of my sentences with…”). The use of “however” seems to serve as a way to introduce several ideas within complicated topics. I’ll state one thing, but then use however to show that it’s not necessarily so simple and there are other sides to the argument or other important factors to acknowledge. In this paper in particular I noticed that my diction and tone were definitely more formal. While this make sense for the specific assignment, I do notice myself using a more formal tone in the majority of my writing. It simply feels less risky. I don’t have to worry about constructing a poor narrative or trying to add in a failed attempt at a beautiful metaphor.  Yet at the same time, I don’t want my writing to fall in to Rossenwasser and Stephen’s category of “tone deaf”. It is important to remind myself that casual, humorous, or elegant writing all have their place, and to be conscientious of where I can incorporate them into my day to day writing. 

One thought to “Rosenwasser & Stephen – Analyzing Style”

  1. I totally get what you’re saying about “however.” I use it all the time, too. I like what you said about why you do it though. I’ve never really thought about why I say it so much in my writing, but I knew I did. I think it’s especially weird because I almost never say however in every day life. But in my writing, it’s almost 100% sure to come up.

    I also think what you’re saying about not wanting your work to be tone deaf is a really great point. Targeting that and making sure that your voice shows through even sophisticated and formal pieces would probably make a great goal for this minor.

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