Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why be Persnickety about writing?

Why, you might ask, am I so persnickety when it comes to the discipline of sociology and sociological writing? There are several reasons. First, writers are heard more clearly when their readers are not distracted by annoying errors such as writing "wether" when the writer meant "whether." (Look up wether, whether, and weather. You will find that "wether" is a neutered male goat. Surely there might be some reasons why you would want to refer to a neutered male goat in your writing at some point, but there are limited uses of the term in college classes.) Second, I am persnickety about requiring students to use sociological viewpoints so that they will, well, learn sociology! I do not believe students can truly expand their sociological imagination when they persist in thinking, talking, reading, and writing non-sociologically. Third, students pay valuable tuition dollars to learn how to read, write, think, and talk sociologically; the University pays me to examine their work carefully and help them learn how to read, write, think, and talk sociologically. This means pointing out where students' work can be improved. Though at first you may think I am just being persnickety, stick with me. I believe my enthusiasm for the discipline of sociology and my passion for teaching the tricks of our trade will make you a better reader, writer, thinker, and talker of sociology.