Monday, March 30, 2020
# 90 / Write On!
I have very recently finished reviewing the papers submitted by the thirty or so students who took my Capstone Thesis course at UCSC last Quarter. Legal Studies 196, commonly known as LGST 196, is a course taken by fourth-year students at UCSC who are seeking a Bachelors' Degree in the Legal Studies program. To pass the class, and thus to be able to graduate with a Legal Studies major, students must write a significant thesis that touches, in some way, on "Privacy, Technology, or Freedom."
I always feel privileged to learn what students are thinking about these often interrelated topics. Thus, I approach my grading assignment, at the end of the Quarter, with lots of postive feelings. The only thing that mars my total enjoyment, as I read student papers, is bad grammar.
I do end up seeing way too much of that!
In order to try to ward off the grammar errors, I furnish students, before they do their writing, with a memo that has collected all of the most common grammar and related errors I have found in past writing submitted to me in LGST 196. Somehow, despite this advisory, these errors keep cropping up anew, every time I teach the course.
For whatever it is worth, I am hereby making my memo available to the world at large, just in case any reader of this blog wants to know what I think about some common grammar and writing errors. Click here for the memo.
In my view, writing is an inredibly important means of communicating and engaging in the debate and discussion that makes our common life possible. And I think that writing well does require attention to the details! So, here is my compendium of some mistakes that we all make as we write - with some suggested ways that we can write better.
Read this memo if you want writing advice, but, whether you want such advice or not...