11/7 – Writing Day

Today is a writing day, as usual for Mondays. For our essay ambulance, I want to focus on a few things

First some little stuff

  • The verb “teaches” cannot apply to a book. A book can offer lessons, a book can suggest moral values, a book can even be a great vehicle for teaching literary devices. But by itself to say it “teaches” degrades both teaching and books, imho.
  • Reminder: Book titles go in italics, not quotation marks.
  • The generic “you” is almost NEVER helpful in academic writing. It’s a personal pronoun when you’re writing in the academic register. In persuasive writing, it hides the true subject of the sentence AND it puts your opponent on the defense AND it can create a hasty generalization, none of which help the real YOU develop an argument.

But what’s the generic you, Mrs. B?

It’s when YOU use the word “you,” but YOU don’t actually mean YOU. Like YOU just mean any random, generic person.

YOU know, when it’s cold outside and YOU come inside and put YOUR mittens on and then YOUR fingers feel both hot and cold

  • In academic writing, you have to recast your sentence so that the “you” isn’t required.
  • In persuasive writing, recast the sentence to use I/me/my or we/our. This language is specific (no hasty generalization) AND inclusive (avoids alienating your audience)

Then, two bigger issues.

  1. We’re having a lot of trouble with warrants. I don’t know how to teach these exactly. It just takes practice. I will say that they are simple statements that explain WHY your evidence and your claim work together to prove your argument. I also think it can be really helpful to look at specific examples. So here are a bunch of warrant examples.
  2. We’re also having some trouble with revising. Some of you are under the mistaken impression that it is my job to “correct” your writing or that I am simply “telling you what to fix” on your papers. Sorry. No. I am a writing coach. Here’s what that means for you.



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