Avoid Passive Voice

“[A]n official from the General Services Administration presented Franklin Roosevelt with a copy of a notice that would be placed in every room of every government office across the land. The bureaucrat read this aloud to the president: IT IS OBLIGATORY THAT ALL ILLUMINATION BE EXTINGUISHED BEFORE THE PREMISES ARE VACATED” (Humes 155).

“Roosevelt, known for his clear communication, wryly replied, Why the hell can’t you say “Put out the lights when you leave”? [sic]” (Humes 157).


“The acronym ‘WHAB’ can help you find words that sound a warning bell for potential overuse of the passive” (Humes 158).

Humes, James C. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln. Three Rivers Press.

Group Work

The research conducted by [behavioral scientist Patrick] Laughlin and his colleagues tells us why the best leader operating individually will be beaten to a correct solution by an all-inclusive cooperating unit. First, lone decision-makers can’t match the diversity of knowledge and perspectives of a multi-person unit that includes them. The input from others can stimulate thinking processes that wouldn’t have been developed when working alone. … Second, the solution seeker who goes it alone loses another significant advantage–the power of parallel processing. Whereas a cooperating unit can distribute many subtasks of a problem to its members, a lone operator must perform each task sequentially. (Goldstein, Martin, and Cialdini 100).

Goldstein, Noah J., Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini. Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

FYC and 2YC

Jessica Menkin Kontelis, TCU
“Creativity in the Margins: Deconstructing Assembly Line Approaches to FYC and 2ndYC”

What can Discussions about Inspiration in Creative Writing Texts Teach Us About Invention?—changed name

20 creative writing textbooks “Faculty and Life” from Barnes & Noble…
state of Texas

presence of theoretical work from what is typically aligned with psychology
creativity studies

Wanted to know more of what that meant
What is creativity or inspiration?

Sudden pop of epiphany doesn’t happen reliably and usually happens when people have spent years in a discipline.

Inspiration = inspirare to breathe into, breathing purpose into a thing (composition)

2 prerequisites:
1. internalized knowledge of the systems to which we wish to contribute
2. interests and desires unique to our experientially formed perspectives

focus on second component
desires of writer that are unique
process of invention that is …

importance of triggering the interest of the writer in the topic
Many beginning writers don’t know what they are interested in.
Creative writing texts offer opportunity for triggering student interest.

Students look for topics their audiences will be interested in. But if you have an interest, you can arouse interest in the audience.
Now audience won’t sustain interest always, not forever. We’ll get sick of hearing about it. BUT if you are interested, you will know what is most interesting about the topic because you’ll see new and fascinating which you (as a fan) didn’t know. Most likely the audience won’t know those things either.

The writer is not the driver of invention but the point of articulation.
Hmm. What would that mean? Various forces in the environment combine in ways to engage others.

Considering author interest turns attention to specific rhetorical situations.

Notes from CCTE 2016: Rhetoric 4

Age of Fairy Tales

I know that fairy tales are older than the fifteenth century, as some were written down before then.

However, an article from the BBC says they are thousands of years old: “Fairy Tale Origins.”

Dr Tehrani explained: “We used a toolkit that we borrowed from evolutionary biology called phylogenetic comparative methods. This enables you to reconstruct the past in the absence of physical evidence.
“We’ve excavated information about our story-telling history, using information that’s been preserved through the mechanism of inheritance, so in that sense they embody their own history.
“By comparing the folk tales that we find in different cultures and knowing something about the historical relationships among those cultures, we can make inferences about the stories that would have been told by their common ancestors,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

fairy tale red in bed with wolf

Drawing Notes

This year we experimented in our classes with drawing the notes on an article. (We had already taken written notes.) I used the information I gained from a TED talk to introduce the idea and I shared my drawn notes.

Today I was reminded of that experiment (somewhat successful and, at least, having no negative impact) by an article on JRR Tolkien drawing middle-earth.

map of Rohan Gondor and Mordor Tolkien drawing writing LoTR

pictograph word of the year 2015While I still think it is weird that the OED’s word of the year for 2015 is a pictograph (face with tears of joy), I think it is interesting that literacy seems to be moving towards images… What will the world read like in five hundred years.

Amelia Bedelia for L2

True Confession Time:

I have always loved the Amelia Bedelia stories. That is not what I need to confess, though. Everyone who loves words should love those books.

What I have to confess is I didn’t know that words that mean the opposite of each other are called contronyms.

dust contronym Amelia Bedelia

Dust is a contronym.

So are

For when I am teaching linguistics or my ESL bridge class.