The One True English Language Sect

Decent Essays
Summary “Superstitions,” as John Trimble defines them, are grammatical and stylistic rules belong-ing to “literary prudes” or “TOTELarians” (76-78). “The One True English Language Sect,” as Trimble playfully describes it, is responsible for instilling in young impressionable writers “seven nevers” which become a form of dogma that is difficult for writers to unravel from. These “ne-vers” include: never begin a sentence using but or and; never use contractions; never refer to the reader as you; never use the first-person pronoun I; never end a sentence with a preposition; never split an infinitive; never write a paragraph containing only a single sentence” (78). With humor and specific examples, Trimble tackles these “seven nevers” revealing their history and potential reasons for not conforming to them in one’s own writing. In surmising, Trimble acknowledges that while these rules certainly have some…show more content…
On the one hand, my mind was filled with the creative material of an intellectually curious young adult. Yet, on the other, I was afraid of the criticism my grammar skills would impose on me. What I had not realized, and did not until sadly late in my undergraduate study, was what the words grammar and conventions truly meant. Moreover, I kept waiting for the day I would walk into one of my classes and have an English professor de-liver an impromptu grammar test while also seriously evaluating my papers for grammatical errors. What I came to realize, however, was that I had an ability to present my ideas clearly. Reflecting upon this chapter, I know recognize that I was following one of Trimble’s pieces of advice: I was writing to imitate how I would speak to my intended audience. And this is the one thing I want to achieve with my students. I want them to have a clarity in their writing and for their authentic voice to shine
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