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My English classes confuse me.

  1. Aug 16, 2006 #1
    9th grade teachers: "Kids, write a thesis that specifically states 3 different supporting topics"

    10th grade teachers: "Write a thesis that is three-pronged, is factual, and supports the main point of the paper"

    And, happy new school year, all!

    What do I get in 11th grade English?

    Teacher: "Your previous teachers should have been teaching you not to use the three-pronged thesis, and instead you should have a more open thesis that's ARGUABLE OPINIONS."

    Wait... what?

    Why don't different grade levels communicate on what they're teaching? =|

    It rather confuses me, reading about this... What should I do? I hate re-learning stuff t.t
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2006 #2
    English, unlike math... or science... sigh. Anyway, English is very often a matter of style, with no truly fixed rules, just generally accepted conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation) and a sense of what sounds good. Very touchy-feely, fluctuates depending on what you're writing.

    My rule of thumb: Ignore this particular teacher's rules; just write what sounds good. Works for me, but not for everyone. If you read enough quality writing (Heinlein, Asimov, all of "the classics"...), you should do OK as long as your writing doesn't grate on you.

    Proper rule of thumb: Don't ever bother "learning" anything besides spelling, grammar, punctuation, and rules that you like. Just follow each teacher's rules as they come.

    Then do a math problem to cheer you up. :wink:
  4. Aug 16, 2006 #3


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    This kind of thing is true in universities, as well. And it's even more true in industry, unfortunately.

    - Warren
  5. Aug 16, 2006 #4

    Thank you, guy with wierd name. ^.^
  6. Aug 16, 2006 #5


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    I think s/he's mumbling. :biggrin:

    I think the good lesson you can get from this is to learn to adapt your writing style to suit the needs of the reader. That sort of flexibility in your writing is a good thing to develop since you will always need to adjust to suit the readers you're targeting.
  7. Aug 16, 2006 #6


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    :bugeye: I'm speechless!
  8. Aug 16, 2006 #7


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    While the English language is more complicated than building a time machine, people would like to think it's as straight forward as one rule applying to everything.

    Just shut up and do what the teacher says. If it's an excellent teacher, who doesn't care all that much about teaching, you can get good grades with good writing no matter how it's done. If it's a crappy teacher whos entire life revolves around school (read: power trip), the only way to get a good grade is to do exactly as they say.
    The only way to win either situation is to do exactly as they say.
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