Re: The Main Problem

John Priestley (
Sun, 22 Oct 1995 19:50:13 -0500

>Writing is a human emotion process, not a rule process. What happens to
>writing teachers when they, after a number of years, start restricting
>writing instruction to all these rules instead of what writing really is?

I beg to differ on this point, Fred. I think you're right generally that
there's something hypocritical in the way I've seen myself and others teach
practices we do not ourselves engage in. But writing must to some extent
be rule-governed, or it fails to communicate. Absolute prescriptivity is,
as you note, ridiculous; but the opposite extreme -- a sort of
I'm-ok-you're-ok approach to writing -- makes for as many mutually
indiscernible languages as there are people. Babel.

>Real life, MBU.

I'm always highly suspicious of any argument that culminates in this claim.