Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Getting to the basics: Were you ever taught how to write ‘clear, logical prose’?


EDITOR’S NOTE: I have recovered this post following a website “Crash.” The original brought two or three comments from readers who agreed that the teaching grammar and fundamental English writing skills seems to be disappearing in America. Unfortunately, I have no way to recover those comments and include them with this reconstruction of the original post. But those of you who commented are certainly invited to do so again.)

I’m serious about the question asked in the title of this post: Were you ever taught how to write clear, logical prose? I put the “clear, logical prose” in quotes in the title because I picked up the idea for the question from this article written in 1995: “Why Johnny can’t write — teaching grammar and logic to college students.” I hope you’ll read that entire article, though it is very lengthy. Whether you get a chance to read it all or not, I want you to note this sentence:

“The only thing that composition teachers are not talking and writing about these days is how to teach students to compose clear, logical prose.”

I really hope some of you reading this — yes, I know you’re out there — will comment about your experiences in learning how to write “clear, logical prose.” Have you taken any courses which taught you basic grammar and writing style? If so, were you taught to write clearly, logically, and concisely? Or were your English/writing classes simply “feel good” sessions where you were encouraged to write “creatively” — but never taught the basics?

I want your feedback. I truly hope to make this website useful for writers of every type and of every level of experience. I’m sure some of you are better grammarians than I. I’m sure many of you are better writers all around than I am.

Give us all the benefits of your experience and your knowledge. Please.
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