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who haven’t cracked a grammar since high school—and whose high-school grammar was probably between 25 and 50 years out of date in any case.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.
I’m preparing an upcoming assignment that includes the option of working with photo essays: you’ll have the opportunity to define the genre and to provide examples from your own visual explorations. As part of my gathering and organizing, I continue to be struck by the NYT article “Summer’s Over; the Game Begins.”
When you completed your initial “My First Week at DePaul” photo essays, we did not discuss audience. For this project, you’ll be asked to think about a particular audience — academic, professional, creative, or community — so that we can think about the needs and expectations of that audience as you compose your project
Because our subscriptions won’t be processed until next week, the kind folks at the NYT helped to arrange an early delivery of the Sunday 9/11 edition — it’s the “bulldog edition” — and they were delivered Saturday afternoon by Dennis and Charlie, from Andrew Distribution.
The NYT is published in the upper midwest by the Tribune Co., at their plant down the street from campus — Chicago Ave. and Halstead Ave. — every night at 10:30 p.m.. Field trip?
WRD 103 introduces you to the forms, methods, expectations, and conventions of college-level academic writing. We also explore and discuss how writing and rhetoric create a contingent relationship between writers, readers, and subjects, and how this relationship affects the drafting, revising, and editing of our written — and increasingly digital and multimodal — projects.
In WRD 103, you will:
Gain experience reading and writing in multiple genres in multiple modes
Practice writing in different rhetorical circumstances, marshaling sufficient, plausible support for your arguments and advocacy positions
Practice shaping the language of written and multimodal discourses to your audiences and purposes, fostering clarity and emphasis by providing explicit and appropriate cues to the main purpose of your texts
Practice reading and evaluating the writing of others in order to identify the rhetorical strategies at work in written and in multimodal texts.
You’ll be happy to note, I hope, that we build on your previous knowledge and experiences; that is, we don’t assume that you show up here a blank slate. We assume that you have encountered interesting people, have engaging ideas, and have something to say. A good writing course should prepare you to take those productive ideas into other courses and out into the world, where they belong, and where you can defend them and advocate for them.
Finally, it’s no secret around here that students who take early and regular advantage of DePaul’s Center for Writing-based Learning not only do better in their classes, but also benefit from the interactions with the tutors and staff in the Center.