In-Class Reflection: June 29, 2016

The following is a portion of our class notes in English 4300 on June 29, 2016:

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 10.08.28 AM.png

In considering the 8 word principle, Greg instructed the class to critically analyze a sample of personal writing.  I pulled up a paper that I wrote for Kim Larsen’s English 3336 class (Spring 2016).  I was surprised to learn that my word count spanned from 15 to 45 words.

My paragraph structure looks something like this:

24 words

15 words

30 words

15 words

17 words

15 words

23 words

31 words

45 words

The following is a visual representation of the sentences in my paragraph: 

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 10.09.17 AM.png

The paragraph that I chose to evaluate was an introduction paragraph to one of my Victorian Literature papers from English 3336.  Within this paper I compared two characters and their differing roles within the novel.

According to the 8- word principle: 

3/9 sentences are 90% understandable

1/9 sentences are 85% understandable

2/9 sentences are between 50-80% understandable

3/9 sentences are less than 50% understandable

I do think that variety in sentence length adds to the complexity of a educational paper; however, to much complexity results in a decrease in eloquence.  The purpose of an educational paper is to convey a message or argue a point.  It is imperative to use the most effective use of communication in the presentation of the argument.  The most effective type of communication is the type of communication that is most understandable.  Therefore, sentence length is a crucial element to consider when editing ones writing.

With this knowledge in mind, what changes do I need to make in my approach to educational writing?

  1. I need to be more concise in my writing
  2. I need to use periods to break up and break down thoughts
  3. I need to ensure that every word within my sentence contributes to the main point of the sentence



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