Rules About Writing

Rules about writing in school: 

  • Use short sentences, until you’re told otherwise. 
  • Don’t use big words. The teacher will think you’re plagiarizing, unless, the teacher tells you otherwise. 
  • Don’t write negatively. Everything should be positive. Don’t say that you didn’t like the book, character, article. Don’t disagree unless the teacher says you can. 
  • Your peers might read this. Don’t say anything controversial. Don’t say anything that will make them feel stupid. 
  • It is OK to not be perfect, but only sometimes. Eventually, the teacher/reader will get annoyed at your lack of skills. 
  • At some point, you will feel like the stupidest person in the room. You might be. 

Rules about writing online: 

  • Be concise, but intelligent. 
  • Use proper spelling and grammar if you want to be taken seriously. 
  • Tell the truth. 
  • Very few people will actually read what you write; don’t be afraid to be controversial. In fact, the more controversial, the better. Be prepared to back up your statements. 
  • Fact-check. 
  • Be tough. 
  • At some point, you will feel like the stupidest person online. Don’t worry, you’re not. 

Written for ENGL 712 Spring/Summer, UMass Amherst, 2015

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