Analyzing My Writing Style

I analyzed an essay I wrote in English 125 that dealt with the motif of water in the book “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers. The first thing that I noticed was my tendency to begin sentences with a qualifying, dependent clause. Examples include “The youngest in a lineage of sailors,…” and “In his telling of Katrina’s action and aftermath,…”. Though often effective for establishing comparisons/opposing ideas, reading the essay again there were times when this habit got tiresome. Nevertheless, I do try to mix compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences and mix those that start with dependent clauses and those that do not. I often find myself keeping a sense of “rhythm” in my head as I write, and this helps mix up my sentence length and construction. One variety of sentence that was rare in this piece was the shorter, simple sentence, and this could be employed to curb especially wordy passages.

Apparently I am also fond of using periodic construction i.e. “Then in 1964, while driving on the highway in Egypt, Mohammed was killed in a car crash.” I think this stylistic habit goes hand-in-hand with the dependent clause at the beginning of sentences and contributes to a building suspense. Also adding to the momentum of the essay was my use of the active voice, a stylistic move that I have tried to incorporate more in the past couple years. Overall, I found the tone of my writing to be very formal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I think it comes across as clear and concise, but experimenting with different tones, maybe similar to how I speak, is something I want to try in future writing.

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.