Say What You Mean

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I’ve found that syntax problems in student writing often result from their attempts to sound academic or to express a complex and exciting idea in too compressed a space. I tell students “Say what you mean” and encourage them to do that by reviewing material in the handbook on tone, conciseness, and jargon or, just as usefully, but having them reflect on the writing styles of the essays we read, which often use plain language to express very complex ideas.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.