American Tourists

I have to say, people, that at this resort, the American tourists are the best people to have around. The Spaniards are very loud. The Quebecois are extremely rude. The Russians are untidy and throw garbage around. The Dutch find the concept of clothing unappealing. The French never leave tips and are unpleasant to the employees. The Germans love their liquor and become rowdy at night.

The Americans, however, are the quietest, politest bunch of folks who seem obsessed with reading. I even thought there were no Americans here at first. I didn’t hear any English spoken, so I assumed this meant there were no American tourists. Now I have realized, however, that they are all over the place but they either speak quietly or are glued to their Kindles and iPads.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

I’m away, so I can’t provide links to new posts that have appeared this week. Instead, I have created this small collection of my own posts from the past that deserve to be resuscitated.

My encounters with weird men 3 years ago.

One of the very few instances when Dr. Phil was progressive. I guess some things are so self-evident that even Dr. Phil can’t avoid noticing them.

Who owns a husband?

Sexism among my students.

Why I’m happy I was born in a 3rd World country.

I succumb to paranoia.

Paper books are such a weird invention.

The dangers of using a prissy textbook in class.

I’m haunted by Mexicans.

Feel free to leave interesting links and self-promote in the comment section.

The Rules of Good Academic Writing, Part III

10. Avoid colloquialisms. “This is a totally cool novel” is a great statement to make to a friend. In an academic essay, however, it is jarring. It is also extremely annoying to see smiley faces and bunches of exclamation signs in academic writing. Try to convey your emotions with words and not with signs. Also, when I see “LOL” and “LMAO” in an academic essay, I see red. What am I, your Facebook buddy?

11. Avoid cliches. Statements like “Since time immemorial. . .” or “since the dawn of its existence, the genre. . .” sound horrible. If you don’t perceive them as such, this means you need to start reading a lot of good writing. As a former lover of such horrible cliches, this is what I did to learn to recognize and avoid them.

12. Start strong. People have little time and short attention spans nowadays. At the same time, people tend to value their own investment. You need to do all you can to avoid losing your readers’ attention for as long as you can. Once you’ve got them to be interested in the first couple of pages, they are likely to continue reading. This means that the first few paragraphs are absolutely crucial. Try to make them as engaging as you can. Don’t hide your most valuable insights at the end of the essay. (This is something I’m still struggling with.)

13. Avoid interspersing your writing with endless “basically” and “actually.” More often than not, these words mean nothing. Yet some people tend to add them to every other sentence which is beyond annoying. The same goes for “kind of”, “sort of” and “or whatever.”

14. Can the drama. You have no idea how often I receive essays where people spend up to a page describing the problems they faced reading the text I asked them to analyze: “At first, I didn’t understand this reading at all. It made me feel completely stupid because I had no idea what it meant. I read it again and still understood nothing. I was about to give up when I realized. . .” Unless the topic of the essay is “The issues I faced when trying to understand the text and how I dealt with them,” just can the drama and do the work.

15. Avoid repetitions. This has been a huge issue for me, people. Good writing is never repetitive. Each new sentence brings something new to the piece. It makes no sense to write a sentence that does nothing but repeat what you have already said. You need to trust that your readers are not complete idiots and are capable of understanding on a first try. As I said, I find it hard to believe that about people. You see, how annoying repetitive writing is? This is why whenever you feel tempted to say “As I already said”, you might wonder why you are saying it again.

16. Read a lot of good academic writing and pay special attention to how this author structures sentences and paragraphs.

I’ve got to run now but if people have any other suggestions, please share them.

P.S. If you feel tempted to ask why I don’t observe these rules on this blog, the answer is: because this isn’t academic writing. I can be as repetitive and colloquial as I please. LMAO.