WRD 103: Composition & Rhetoric I Rotating Header Image

Before You Submit: Some Tips for Self-Editing

There’s a brief article on the important topic of “self-editing” in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education. I’ve bolded some phrases here because they’ve come up in our class just recently:

Things Writers “Correct” Needlessly

A number of so-called rules are obediently observed by writers who haven’t cracked a grammar since high school—and whose high-school grammar was probably between 25 and 50 years out of date in any case. As a result, the writers avoid a raft of constructions that are actually just fine:

­The passive voice. As long as it doesn’t obscure or mislead, the passive is a natural and honorable feature of fluent English.

Use of the first person. Even formal scholarly writing came around some time ago to allowing a writer to speak for himself. [Or, we might add in WRD103, for herself.]

Split infinitives. And prepositions at the ends of sentences. And sentences beginning with and or but. And sentence fragments. These prohibitions and quite a few more turn out to be imaginary monsters under the bed.