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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  179 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Teaching is Fulfilling: what TFG's been up to #3

What kind of language did you write your thesis in? Did you follow the high consensus because that was required of you, or did you simplify it somewhat?

    But the art of using simple language well? Yeah, they don't teach that. They teach you how to navigate byzantine jargon so that you can snow undergraduates with it.

Can you tell me more about this? I'm curious but can't find a sufficiently specific question.




kleinbl00  ·  179 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have an engineering degree. My thesis was in engineering english, which means strunk'n'white with lots of jargon and equations. It was also only like 20 pages because they don't require theses of undergraduate engineering students. So really, it was more of a sales brochure for a device Procter & Gamble asked me design. With way more equations.

    Can you tell me more about this? I'm curious but can't find a sufficiently specific question.

-I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

Blaise Pascal

So the above paragraph is five run on sentences. It is literally how I speak conversationally, rendered as type. As is this paragraph. The way we speak is different from the way we communicate formally using the written word, however, and the art of writing is the art of knowing (and exploiting) the difference.

If I were writing the above for an editor, or for anything other than the ephemera of the Internet, I would write

Engineers don't write theses. My capstone design project involved a presentation of the device I created for Proctor & Gamble, but it was a brief, not a thesis. It was written in English, with lots of jargon, figures and tables.

If you write that way in technical English you will be graded down. They make you start sentences with participles and bury it in jargon and if you don't do that, you're an idiot.

My Finite Element Analysis TA graded our assignments based on how much they weighed.