There are not many people who would argue that grammar and writing are unimportant, but there are also not many who get excited by clauses, semicolons, and the difference between an em dash and a hyphen. Despite this, everyone on the Rollins campus (not just English Majors and Writing Minors) needs a decent grasp on grammar to survive college and eventually the work force. With this in mind, The Sandspur will partner with the Editing Essentials Class, taught by Dr. Matthew Forsythe of the English Department, to produce columns focused on writing throughout this semester.
The English Department offers this course for either those who love grammar or those who are trying to get a better grasp on it. The 374 level class specifically focuses on grammar, editing, and style. According to the Rollins Course Curriculum, the class “focuses on editing writing at three levels: for correctness (grammar and punctuation); for precision (unity, order, coherence, emphasis, language); and for style (syntax, levels of detail, tone, diction, voice).”
Among other things, students in the class diagram sentences to better visualize structure, edit prose pieces for clarity and style, and perform revisions and reflections on past works of writing for other classes. This gives students a better understanding than the typical student of how to clearly write the sorts of things a college student most often needs: resumes, essays, or creative pieces.
“Good editing is a sign of your professionalism and indicates your attention to detail. When used well, it can reinforce meaning and build a connection to your audience,” said Dr. Forsythe.
“On the other hand, poor editing undermines your ethos and distracts your readers. Imagine that you are eating with friends at a restaurant. You are telling an interesting story, but a piece of the spinach dip is stuck in your teeth. How can the audience focus on your message when they’re thinking about something else? That’s the importance of good editing.”
The columns this semester are intended to give the campus community a breadth of information from a multitude of voices. Some articles will focus on the minuscule—a punctuation mark or a lowly adverb. Some articles will focus more broadly, interviewing a professor or taking general questions from students. Hopefully, this column will help the campus community to think of grammar not as hurdle to be jumped while writing a paper, but as a tool they can employ to clarify their essays. The student writers creating this column aim to inspire and instruct the campus on how to “Write Right.”