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Introduction: Why this page is helpful

Auntie Barbara's Writing Guide


Why should you be interested in going through this little mini-course?

I can think of several reasons. Here are the main two:

 

1) The obvious one: to be able to communicate more effectively and precisely.

Does this sound persnickety? It's not.


Misspellings can lead to such blush-producing errors as:

"The film had a happy ending: the last shot was of the hero taking the heroin into his arms."


 

Other errors can be as bad: Courtesy of Richard Lederer, who collects student bloopers: ". . . and victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks." "Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense." "The government of England was a limited mockery." "Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee." "Queen Elizabeth was the 'Virgin Queen.' As a queen she was a success When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted 'hurrah.'"

 

2) And to break through -- let's say it, just take a deep breath -- class limitations at work and elsewhere. (There! You just broke a nasty taboo by reading that! Good for you!)



What do I mean by "class limitations"? Well, it's been my experience that whatever your parents' income, if you attended a U.S. school, you might well not have had access to an education worthy of you. (Or you might have had a good one. It's a roulette wheel right now.)

Yes, I know, class differences and class identification are deeply silly and constricting. That's entirely true. But unfortunately they are very powerful forces in your destiny. That's the U.S.'s dirty little secret. You'll be far freer and more powerful if you can "pass" as an upper-middle class or upper class ivy-leaguer if and when you want to, and in the ways that you want to, and then "pass" as any other class -- or no defined class --if and when you want to do that. Let's hope that these class restrictions disappear in our lifetimes, but until then, we're stuck dealing with them.

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