Welcome to the Active Voice Blog, the official blog of the Wake Forest University Writing Center. You can find all the information you need about the Center around our main site, but this space is reserved for students, faculty, and staff to share perspectives on writing practices and processes. We hope you’ll find something here that speaks to you!
“Winding, sinuous, involved; roundabout, circuitous; spiral.”
“It was clear from her anfractuous talking that she did not do the reading for her class.”
“anfractuous, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 31 May 2017.
Shout out to all the ‘slow-typists’ out there! A study from the University of Waterloo shows that typing slowly may improve the quality of your writing. Particularly, a slower speed seems to augment the sophistication of one’s vocabulary, as writers have more time to think about and be selective in choosing a word when they take longer to type it.
“Disputatious argument, bandying of words, wrangling.”
“His answer to the question was so confusing, the hiring committee thought it was pure argle-bargle and didn’t give him the job.”
“ˈargle-ˈbargle, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 31 May 2017.
“Characterized by, or given to, disputation; inclined to dispute or wrangle; contentious.”
“Everyone knew that the professor was disputatious so they never argued over their grades.”
“disputatious, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 31 May 2017.
Finishing a paper can sometimes seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be! Break down your task into manageable pieces by setting some S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific: State exactly what it is you need to accomplish. Be as explicit as possible, including the requirements and details of the task. Maybe it’s completing a final draft of your history paper, or maybe it’s brainstorming thoughts for your thesis statement.
Measurable: Decide how you will know when you have met your goal. Maybe it’s when you turn the paper in, or maybe it’s after you’ve written the first 300 words.
Actionable: Determine what steps you will take in working towards the completion of your goal. Maybe it’s by spending all Saturday at the library revising your essay, or maybe it’s by spending an hour each day doing research for your proposal.
Relevant: Focus on how the steps you’re taking help move you toward your goal, instead of getting off track. Maybe it’s finding three primary sources to read tomorrow or maybe it’s deciding that color coding your notes isn’t a very effective strategy.
Time-bound: Set a deadline so that you commit the correct amount of time and effort to meeting your goal. Maybe it’s finishing your first draft by your writing center appointment, or maybe it’s finishing your outline before the 10pm Game of Thrones watch party.
Linguist Geoff Lunberg investigates the varying (and sometimes extreme) opinions surrounding the exclamation point. According to his research, women actually use the punctuation more than men, and both corporate and educational codes generally ban its use with little justification other than prescriptive rules of taste. Lunberg makes an argument for why we should all be more generous with our written exclamations. Essentially, he argues that whereas the written word can become a muted translation of our lived experience, the exclamation point is a way to revive our writing–it is a way to reinsert the vibrancy of the spoken word into the realm of the written. Where do you stand on this point? It may be time to rethink your disdain for the effusive, over-the-top exclamation point.
“Name for the flora and fauna at or near the bottom of the sea.”
“Ariel and Sebastian stage an elaborate song and dance among the benthos.”
“benthos, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 31 May 2017.