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Be#sure#to#include#the#prompt#in#the#header.

Rhett Meeks
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Editing 350
Comment [1]: Love#the#title!#
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30 November 2015
Deleted: . A noun, which means
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:04 AM
To Prescribe or Not to Prescribe, Or Should I Describe?
Deleted: . Another noun, though
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Prescriptivism: the act of prescribing rules and regulations for a certain topic or practice. Deleted: ,
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Descriptivism: (this one takes on an opposite meaning) when rules and regulations are built upon Deleted: ere
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a case-to-case system all depending on how you as an individual would like it done. Now that I Comment [2]: I#think#introducing#that#
you#are#particularly#talking#about#writing#
have bored you with these little descriptions, I would ask the question, why do these terms and#editing#by#this#point#would#be#helpful#to#
the#reader#and#to#the#clarity#of#the#rest#of#
the#paragraph.#
matter? Well, in all reality they only matter if and when you are tired of people throwing rules in Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 8:54 AM
Deleted:
your face. Or the contrary, when rules are cast out the window and never regarded and you just Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 8:54 AM
Deleted:
cant seem to function without them and you wonder how on earth some people can be so nave! Sophie Roberts 2/10/2016 10:12 PM
Comment [3]: Even#though#Word#doesnt#
Im sure you have been, or have met, someone on both sides of this argument. And thats the consider#it#a#fragment,#this#sentence#is#a#
fragment.#I#think#that#you#can#keep#it#
stylistically,#but#just#make#sure#you#know#
unfortunate thing right there: the fact that its even an argument at all. In my particular field of its#there#and#its#intentional.#If#you#want#to#
be#a#little#safer,#I#would#either#make#it#a#
study (i.e. writing and editing), I am constantly at odds with someone in some way, shape, or complete#sentence#or#keep#it#the#way#it#is#
and#add#an#em#dash#instead#of#a#period#
before#or#(you#know#I#love#my#em#dashes).#
form, especially here at BYU where we all as students are pit against each other to succeed. Not Actually,#I#think#I#would#make#them#one#
sentence,#because#I#think#I#understand#your#
everyone can have that specialty job, or be that professors TA, or have that scholarship, or be argument#better#when#those#two#ideas#are#
joined.#
Sophie Roberts 2/10/2016 10:12 PM
that intern for that major company. Even so, my style is mine, and someone else might (and
Comment [4]: Chicago#discourages#using#
Latin#abbreviations#like#i.e.#Would#you#like#
probably does) have a problem with it. I can either choose to be upset by this or just accept the to#revise#or#keep#it#for#style?#
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fact that I judge other writers and editors the same way. This is where we can usher in these two Deleted: ,
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terms, prescriptivism and descriptivism. Throughout my experience as both a writer and an Deleted: ,
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editor, I have found that there is a necessary balance between being both a prescriptivist Comment [5]: I#really#love#your#thesis!#
Its#solid.#I#think#the#buildIup#to#it#was#
leading#me#in#a#different#direction.#Maybe#
and a descriptivist, as both are equally as important in establishing yourself in the written join#the#idea#that#you#judge#writers#and#
editors#like#they#might#judge#you#with#the#
virtuosities. idea#that#prescriptivism#and#descriptivism#
are#important#a#little#more#clearly.#How#do#
these#two#philosophies#affect#competition#or#
disagreements?#
Be#sure#to#include#the#prompt#in#the#header.#

I fell in love with the written word like many other writers out there have, through

reading as a child. And like most children in our generation, my all-time favorite books to read
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Deleted: young kid
were the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. I loved the magic. I loved how her writing style
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Deleted:
transported you to another place where only the imagination could survive. For me, my
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Formatted: Font:Italic, Highlight
imagination thrived. I spent countless hours reading and rereading Rowlings books. I couldnt
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Comment [6]: I#love#this#analogy.#
get enough. By the time I had entered high school, I had read a Harry Potter book (not any

particular one, though the fifth was by far my favorite) over thirty times. During my sophomore
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Comment [7]: I#see#what#youre#saying,#
year of high school, I entered a friendly competition with a good friend to see who could read a but#it#took#me#a#second.#Maybe#reword#for#
clarity.#
Harry Potter book more times before the end of the school year. Lets just say that collectively,

by the end of that competition, I had read a Harry Potter book up into the triple digits. I hardly

remember anything from that year of school. I know that I did very well in my orchestra and

theatre classes, but Im pretty sure I got low marks in French and Geometry. I digress, though the
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Comment [8]: This#is#the#British#spelling.#
amount of times I read Harry Potter is actually important to my point.
OK#or#revise?#(fitting#for#a#Harry#Potter#fan)#

See, by reading Rowlings works so thoroughly, my writing style almost morphed to

match her writing style. I wasnt trying to let this happen, but it sort of just happened. This was
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Deleted: did
around the time that I started to write my own literature; though I wouldnt call anything I

conjured onto paper at this time very good. However, after Rowlings seventh and final Harry
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Formatted: Font:Italic, Highlight
Potter book released and I had a couple of copies in my hands (yes, I had two copies: I flew to

London to get the seventh book and then purchased another copy when I returned to the states)
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Deleted: S
and I read in from cover to cover three times in the first week of the release, I was at a loss for
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Deleted: e
what to do. What was I then to read? And was anything else worth reading? Lets be honest
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Deleted: of
though, is there? Well, I had a couple of friends who introduced me to a new author and a brand

new story for me to delve into. This author had a very different style from J. K. Rowling, and
Be#sure#to#include#the#prompt#in#the#header.#

though I wasnt too fond of the story line, I was intrigued with this authors style. Rowlings

writing style was very clear, elegant, and easy to read, as it was originally geared towards a
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Comment [9]: I#think#we#talked#about#this#
younger audience. This new authors style was quite the opposite. There were many moments
construction#in#class,#or#I#remember#reading#
about#it#in#Chicago.)I#dont#think#were#
when the main characters motives and actions were unclear, the author wasnt very concise with supposed#to#use#it.#Perhaps#use#because.#
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descriptions and used the same adjectives for many different things, and her work was littered Deleted: re
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with comma splices, fragments, and many other grammatical errors. However, I was hooked. Deleted: she
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This author was none other than the infamous Stephanie Meyer. There was a very real feeling Comment [10]: Nouns?#

from her writing. She wrote in the first person, so the writing was raw and had a certain edginess

to it, just like the way our thoughts are in our own heads. Do I think in complete sentences?
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Deleted: how
Beats me. Though the story line drove me crazy, (not jump-off-a-cliff-to-hallucinate-my-ex
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Deleted: though
crazy) Meyers style had me rereading some of her novels. I grew to overlook her lack of
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Deleted:
grammatical structure and see her style, as Im sure she would appreciate.
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:26 AM
Deleted: ,
So why does this matter? Obviously two different authors have two different styles,
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Deleted: see
especially when writing two different genres. To me, this was something more. As a writer, it is
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Deleted: me to do
difficult to find my own style that I feel gets my point across. This is a free response paper, so it

has more of an informal tone to it, but it is also supposed to be some of my best writing. For me,
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Deleted: m
that is difficult to judge. That basis all depends on your personal opinion. Some readers may
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Comment [11]: That#is#a#little#unclear#
enjoy this essay, some probably will not. I can either accept that fact, or I can conform to what
here.#Good#writing#is#difficult#to#judge?#

others expect from me. This idea, this notion, has been the catalyst to lead me to understand that

I need to feel the same way towards someone elses work. Yes, there are necessary rules and

regulations out there that we as writers and editors need to follow so that our work is credible
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Deleted: performs as
work. These rules are important because they allow us to be consistent and organized.
Sophie Roberts 2/12/2016 10:47 AM
Comment [12]: I#would#perhaps#
introduce#some#rules#in#this#paragraph#so#
that#your#reader#has#a#better#handle#on#your#
argument.#
Be#sure#to#include#the#prompt#in#the#header.#

Knowing and understanding these rules allows us to be prescriptivists. However, we

cannot be over the top with prescribing these rules to others. As I have studied editing and

grammar, I have learned that English is an evolving language and it is consistently changing.

Some grammatical rules have become a bit archaic and arent as important to follow anymore.

[Insert Chicago quote]. When transitioning from Harry Potter to the Twiworld, I had to make a
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Comment [13]: Just#calling#your#attention#
choice: Was I going to disregard an author solely because he or she breaks many traditional here#so#you#know#to#put#the#quote#in.#
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:33 AM
rules, in a sense, and prescribe what kind of author he or she is supposed to be? Or was I going to Deleted: broke
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:33 AM
regard the fact that everyone has a voice and that voice is unique, that I as a reader was merely to Deleted: prescribing
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:33 AM
describe his or her style with an understanding that each voice is equal? Would it shock you if I Deleted: was
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:34 AM
now say that I need to be a bit of both? Probably not, at this point. However, there are reasons I Deleted: to

have chosen this path. First, as a writer I feel freedom while having an understanding that rules

are equally as important. By following the rules, I am open to the many possibilities of writing in
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Comment [14]: As#important#as#what?#
different genres and scholarships. Second, as an editor I am better equipped with the rules to

maintain the authors voice while helping them become a credible writer or speaker.

I am still on this journey of understanding exactly what my voice is as a writer and what

kind of editor I will become. I know that if I stay in this parameter of having an equal balance

between prescriptivism and descriptivism I will find success, and not just monetary success, but

success in my abilities and progress to become personally credible. As students here at BYU we
Sophie Roberts 11/20/2015 9:35 AM
Deleted: in becoming
need to remember that we are small fish in a very large pond. It is very difficult to feel you have

a personal voice, and it is even more difficult to have that voice heard while competing with

literally thousands of others. I hope that this short essay will help you in your journey as a writer
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Comment [15]: This#is#a#little#
in whatever profession you choose. And if you ever have the opportunity to edit or review
discouraging#to#a#reader#who#wants#to#be#a#
successful#editor#or#writer.#Do#you#have#a#
few#encouraging#words#on#this#point?##
Be#sure#to#include#the#prompt#in#the#header.#

someone elses work, go easy on them. They are probably feeling just as exasperated as you

from swimming against the current.


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Comment [16]: I#love#the#ending.#Good#
mic#drop.#

Sophie Roberts 2/12/2016 10:48 AM


Comment [17]: Remember#to#include#
quotes#and#a#works#cited.#