Tenured Radical lists some Hackneyed Academic Phrases (scroll down to get to them).

I’m guilty of at least half of these.

But hey, now I can outsource the work of my Inner Editor to Tenured Radical!  My Inner Editor has 56 eyes, a nasty proboscis, and wings that buzz very annoyingly, so I much prefer to imagine Claire Potter in my head snarking at my prose.


2 thoughts on “Ouch

  1. I had somewhat the same reaction (though minus the vivid image of the Inner Editor; I’ll have to contemplate what mine looks like). I also find myself with something of a dilemma: though I personally deplore what Jonathan Mayhew calls “excessive signposting,” avoid it myself, and try to get my students (in a writing-in-the-disciplines class) to keep it to a minimum as well, at least at my students’ (midway+-through-undergrad) level, I’m very glad to see them doing some things: not “my argument will be,” but variations on “scholars have discussed x, but not y, which will be my focus here” (99% of them wouldn’t recognize a lacuna if *it* sprouted wings, etc. and buzzed annoyingly around their heads, so at least I’m safe from that particular phrasing). But if I’m still trying to get them to get *into* the habit of making such moves halfway through college, that allows precious little time for students to internalize said moves to the extent that they can then be taught to signpost them more subtly.

  2. Aren’t we all! And some of these I think of as useful to readers. It takes a really gifted writer (which most scholars are NOT) to make a transition visible without some kind of signposts. And the clunky ones are better than the alternative, which is unconnected paragraphs of stuff! Of course, the more you have really thought through structure, the better the signposts will be.

Comments are now closed.