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Lauryn's Pet Peeves

You've probably already noticed by now that each of your college instructors views things differently. Not every instructor stresses the same things, and each instructor has certain things that bother them more than others. To help you guys get the most out of this class, I think it's only fair for me to let you know what my particular pet peeves are. These are the errors and colloquialisms that tend to stand out in your work and in every-day discussions, and it's probably in your best interests to avoid them at all costs.

Queer--Do not ever use this word to describe someone's sexuality, or to indicate that you think something is "weak"! This word does not mean either of those things! Use it correctly or don't use it at all! Those of you who have had a class with me before know what happens when this word is used incorrectly, and it's not very pretty.

Heifer--This word is not to be used to describe young ladies. Nor for that matter is "chick" or even "bitch." Women are not animals, and do not deserve to be called animal names!

"Since the dawn of mankind..."--Okay, so it's difficult to come up with a great opener for your paper, but these sorts of grandiose generalizations ("since the dawn of time," "for as long as man has walked the earth," "every one who has ever lived," etc.)do not cut it. Can you prove that "Everyone who has ever lived, loves a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich"? I think not. A good motto is: "If you can't support it, don't use it in your paper."

Irregardless--Is this a word? The correct answer is "no." It does not mean what you think it means; the word you're looking for is "regardless."

Example: I like that new Portishead song, regardless of your scathingly negative opinion of it.

In this example, the writer is saying, "I like Portishead's new song, and your negative opinion of it doesn't matter to me." So, the word "regardless" means "without regard." If you add the "ir-" prefix, which means "not," you change the meaning of the word to "not without regard," which is exactly opposite of what you mean to say.

"You"--I'm sure that over the semester, each of you will come to adore me and worship me like the Composition Goddess that I am, but I sincerely doubt that any of you will know me well enough to write in your papers that "I" know or do anything. I do NOT want to see sentences like the following example:

The room was big, the kind that makes you want to run around in circles, twirling until you make yourself dizzy.

The writer of this sentence has assumed (incorrectly, I might add) that "I" want to run around a room and spin in circles. Since I am the principle audience in your papers, the word "you" in your papers refers to me--so don't make any assumptions as to what I do and don't want or like, alright? This includes planting flattering references to me in the paper that could be construed as "kissing ass."

"Etc."--This is fine in an informal writing, such as a note to a friend. I even use it on my websites, from time to time. However, if you are writing an essay or a paper for academic purposes, DO NOT use "etc." It lacks specificity, and looks like you simply ran out of examples.

I could go on and on with little examples like this, but you get the idea, right? If you ever have a question about whether or not you should use a particular word, do not hesitate to ask me. Other than that, if you aren't sure as to whether or not to use a word, and you're afraid to ask, simply don't use the word! It eliminates the possiblility of making an error like the ones listed above!

Syllabus and General Information
Lauryn's Grading Policy
ENGL1323 Section 011-meets TTH 8-9:20am
ENGL1320 Section 040-meets TTH 9:30-10:50am
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