Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rules Are Made to Be Broken, but Not the Little Annoying Ones

I'm really not sure I'm going to be able to keep up with the once-a-week thing I seem to be forcing on myself--especially as I should really currently be marking, writing a lecture, drawing four comics, and cleaning my apartment in anticipation of my parents' visit, which will coincide with my convocation this Friday (the 13th, of course)--but it's hot, and it's Saturday, and I feel like complaining about stuff.* Before I begin ripping into you, however, I have a few comments to make about Other Business:

1) I've been neglecting PFROD. It's admittedly kind of exhausting to maintain; however, I'll get back to it eventually. I've stuck a few entries at the bottom of this post, though you should note that these entries constitute only a tiny fraction of what I get every day.

2) If you haven't seen the comments on the last post, check them out. Two Instigators of Filthy Plagiarism have infiltrated the site, and I and a reader named Kyle have declared war on them. Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?**

3) I sometimes amuse myself by googling this blog's name and trying to figure out who has noticed it, mostly because I like it when people get funny ideas about it or, well, me. A case in point: the nice people at Blogged have filed KUMGEW under "Entertainment." What? Entertainment? Essay writing is not entertainment! It is deadly serious and can destroy you if you do it badly! Would it be entertaining if you started an essay with a quotation one too many times and your marker came after you with a hatchet? Would it be entertaining if you repeated your thesis statement word for word in your conclusion and inadvertently started a nuclear war?*** I. Think. Not.

As well, a StumbleUpon user has described KUMGEW as "hilarious, British, spicy, educational." Note the "educational" (not "entertaining"). "Hilarious" and "spicy" I'll give you (and thank you, sir), but it's the "British" that gets me here.

Blimey, mate...why do you think my blog is British? It's sodding Canadian, innit? Bloody hell. I go out of my way to project a bracing northern sort of character, and what do I get for it? Suddenly, I'm British! That's bollocks! Too right I've gone off my nut on this one. Give us some credit, will you, love? Cheers.****

Seriously, though: do I sound British? I don't mind sounding British, but do I? I don't sound British in real life.

4) KUMGEW is possibly the worst acronym ever. Well, oops.

Now that all that randomness is out of the way, I proudly present:

Stupid Essay-Writing Rules and Why You Should Follow Them

In my postwriting post, I spent a lot of time explaining in great detail the ten thousand important things you needed to do to your essay between the time you finished writing it and the time you handed it in. I neglected the ten thousand and first: after you have read for sense, content, form, spelling, flow, consistency, and logic, you also need to make sure you have followed the formal conventions that are keeping your markers from losing their brilliant but fragile minds.

You see, it is possible to grow tired of writing, "Underline or italicise titles of novels," in the margins over and over and over again. It is possible to come to loath the sight of the words, "Incorporate quotations into sentences of your own," "Use double quotation marks consistently; single quotation marks should appear internally only,"***** "Indent twice for block quotations," "Take block quotations all the way to the right margin," "Double-space block quotations," "READ UP ON THE RULES FOR BLOCK QUOTATIONS!", "No comma between author's name and page number," "No 'p.' before page number," "Use parenthetical citations, not footnotes," and, "Use footnotes, not endnotes." It is extremely possible to hate writing these comments so much that one will eventually, when faced with the prospect of an essay riddled with such errors, begin to cry.

Some of the comments above apply exclusively to MLA-formatted essays. Other styles involve other rules. The important thing is that you know which rules you are meant to be following, then follow them. Ignorance is no excuse. If you don't own a style guide, acquire one; if, for some reason, you can't acquire one, find one at the library or check out one of the many websites that cover these niggling little rules.

Why do I care? Am I anal? Well, yes, I kind of am. Do I hate you and want to mark up your essays in evil and unnecessary ways? No, I do not. I would prefer not to have to mark up your essays at all. I would love to receive papers so pristine and beautifully argued that all I could really do was swoon and award them "A+"s. I don't enjoy writing the same bloody comments thirty times in a row. I do it because I am trying to cure you of sloppiness, laziness, and a propensity to regard essays as busy-work.

You're not just learning to read, write, and argue; you're learning to present yourself and your ideas. If published authors aren't allowed to format their pieces any old how, you shouldn't be allowed to do so either. Following conventions is tedious, but it creates damned professional-looking essays. If you go on in academia and submit journal articles in which you haven't bothered to italicise titles--or, worse, if you are blithely italicising the wrong titles--editors may reject your work, no matter how brilliant it is. If you take an office job and demonstrate an unwillingness to stick to the formal rules necessary to reports and presentations, you may be branded as lazy, sloppy, or irresponsible. Sure, these rules are "petty." They're still rules. Make an effort to learn them; they are really not all that difficult to remember.

I won't claim the rules pertaining to titles are absolutely universal, but here are the ones I have always been taught to follow:

1) Underline or italicise titles of books, plays, long poems, or websites. Choose either underlining or italics; they mean the same thing. Underlining is a convention dating from the days of the typewriter. As typewriters could not italicise words, writers would have to use underlining as a sort of shorthand for italics. I would recommend sticking to italics in typed work, while underlining titles in in-class essays.

2) Put quotation marks around the titles of short stories, articles, short poems, web pages (belonging to larger websites), lectures, and unpublished books (such as dissertations).

If in doubt as to whether your professor subscribes to these rules, approach her and ask. With luck, she won't even bite your head off.******

The Filthy Plagiarists' Roll of Dishonour

Today's selections from FPROD are:

free discrition essay written by a student on myroom with a bay window

As I have said time and time again, why don't you simply walk into your room and describe it? It's your freaking room. Why do you need to steal someone else's description? Could it possibly be because you can't spell "description"? You are evil, and I hate you. I don't know whether or not I should be encouraged (or less angry) because after you found my blog, you actually spent the next fifteen minutes reading various bits of it. Have I shamed you out of being a Filthy Plagiarist? Please say yes.

How Do You Write An Essay About Aliens

It is possible that this person is simply looking for very specific instructions about how to write an essay that happens to be about aliens. It is also possible that I am British.

opinion essay example hobbit

Honestly...does anyone write an original essay on The Hobbit any more? The impression I get from FPROD is that there exists, somewhere on the Internet, one essay******* about The Hobbit, and everyone else is constantly stealing it and handing it in.

need good sentence in English describing a room

describing a room essay without telling a story

It is also my theory that all students asked to describe a room have been copying the same essay off the Internet and are thus describing the same room countless times for countless different markers. I'm tempted to write a really bad description of a room and post it online somewhere. If I did, I think the failure rate in English classes around the globe would probably go up.

sample narrative essay primates

A narrative essay is often simply a (true) story. You are going to steal a true story about primates? How? Are you going to claim that your name is Jane Goodall and that you have been living with the chimps?

My temple is throbbing, and I am continually beating back the urge to kill. That's probably enough for now.

Until next time, I remain,

Kem the Merciless
(beating up plagiarists since 2007)

*It's true that only the first two of these circumstances do not apply all the freaking time.
**I cite my sources. Those last three questions are lyrics from Les Miserables.
***It's possible.
****I am so, so sorry.
*****There: I just proved I wasn't British.
*******To rule them all.


Kyle said...

Yes, I hear the people sing!
And I hear the distant drums!
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Oh dear - what does it mean that I can recall these lyrics with such ease?

And I used to live in Toronto. I never once thought you were British. Your Canadianness shines through with the light of a thousand maple leaves, burning with anti-plagiarism fervor. (Or fervour.)

Francois said...

Meh, I've been mistaken for a New Zealander, and I sound like the effin' queen of England.
And incidentally, that little piece of mockney jiggery-pokery will be remembered if ever you set foot on This Sceptred Isle.
Glad you're posting again.

Kem said...

I did apologise in a footnote. However, to appease the Brits, who are lovely, I shall here append a parody of Canadian speech:

Nice weather we're havin', eh? Six whole degrees outside, and I haven't even seen any moose walkin' down Bloor Street. How's aboot them Maple Leafs, eh? That's beauty, the way they keep puttin' the puck in the net as I crack open my two-four and watch, eh? I was oot and aboot yesterday when some hoser tried to tell me the Canadiens were better, and I hit him over the head with a hockey stick and then went off to eat Nanaimo bars and Maple syrup in the Timmy's down the road. You goin' to be oot curlin' with us tomorrow? Beauty! We's all together again, eh?

When all's said and done, the mockney jiggery-pokery probably counts as slightly less

Greg said...

Take off, eh?

I love this blog, KEM, count me on the barricade with you: the blood of the writers will water the URLs of cyberland.

Teramis said...

You, sir, are amazing. So glad I stumbled across your website. What a delightful read. I am sharing the url with many friends, and inflicting it some who need Clue.

Looking forward to future posts,


Deborah Teramis Christian

Kem said...

Greg: Welcome to the barricades. Pick up your musket over by the stereotypically ragged revolutionary flag, and don't trip over the street urchins.

Teramis: Thank you very much. One note, however: I am not a "sir." I am a "madam," albeit not in the unsavoury sense. Huh...interesting conundrum. If a "madam" is a woman of dubious morality in charge of a group of sex workers and a "mistress" is a woman of dubious morality attached to a gentleman who is not her husband, what am I...chopped liver? Why have we taken many of the English words that refer to women and made them unavailable for general use? Why isn't a "sir" or a "master" a man of dubious morality who does...many dubious things? I hereby protest the English language.*

*Just, you know, in general.

Suzanne said...

As someone in law school, and on the law review editorial board (legal equivalent of academic journals), I can tell you that actually, plenty of published authors in law don't bother formatting their citations correctly. Particularly if they're famous and know they'll be published anyway. I can't begin to tell you the number of painfully bad footnotes that have to be edited out of the writings of Supreme Court Justices and Harvard academics. Nobody knows the difference between a hyphen and an em-dash, or the proper place to put a comma anymore. It drives me insane.

Daniel Kwok said...

In arrangement to wage you with the maximal train of company in essay authorship, employs exclusive proficient academic writers to activity on your distribution.

how to write a narrative essay

Donna Chavez said...

This is very nice blog i am totally agree with this blog writing services is a very help and provide best services.

Ac-smooth said...

Nobody knows the difference between a hyphen and an em-dash, or the appropriate place to put a comma anymore. It drives me insane. Why have we taken many of the English conditions that talk about women and designed them not available for typical use? Particularly if they're well-known and know they'll be launched anyway. I can't begin to tell you the wide range of shatteringly bad footnotes

from an essay writing site

Olivia Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olivia Ashley said...

I am regular reader of Utterly Merciless Guides! essays writing service also showed me some great ranked services and tips!

Robert Jackson said...

Waow man! You know you have helped several people including me, thanks for sharing with saving our never-ending hours of browsing…

Albert einstien said...

Fabulous ideas you have still provided to us, anyway this blog is really wonderful for all. When an essay is an issue

Mary Mercado said...

it is very nice blog masters dissertation writing service.

Betty Baker said...

Writing and editing tips ....... APA formatting could be the globally approved normal prepared by the actual American Psychological Organization, which can be typically helpful to write research docs throughout social sciences linked disciplines.

APA Editing Services

donaldyates said...

Admission to a best college is more difficult for these days. Students are struggling in writing good admission essay. That is why most of the students go through online admission essay writing service so that they can get admission to the required college. They will give you a well written admission essay with your requirements.

ngocanh said...

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one.
temple run 2 l download temple run 2 l temple run 2 game l temple run 2 download l temple run 2 app

ngocanh said...

Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and impressive.
geometry dash apk l geometry dash game l geometry dash l download geometry dash l geometry dash app

ngocanh said...

I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.
launcher l download launcher l launcher apk l launcher app l launcherapp

masrafi rahman said...

Its an universal truth though many believes in it. Since the inceptions of the situation to breaks the record in every possible manner each step is the ideal situation to all. therefore this is the best approaches to yield the possible mechanism for the smoother operation task to propel. We can get the best college paper writing service form online on similar topics.

John Abrams said...

It is impressive! Thank you very much! I was looking for such information and finally found it. Awesome!

Cover Letter Writing Help

IT - Spring Cleaning said...

Intended for busy people and firms, spring cleaning will be able to lead to decrease in valuable time period and benefit. That's why some people today simply call up companies specializing in cleaning products and services - intended for fast, quality in addition to hassle-free cleaning at your home and in the office. cleaning services in jlt

Thu LĂȘ said...

I was very impressed by this post, this site has always been pleasant news. Thank you very much for such an interesting post. Keep working, great job! In my free time, I like play game: What about you?

hayat said...

Glad to see you again with a perfect blog! If you want to get best project ideas to make your blog impressive and effective. then check out this page and get interesting ideas.

robert said...

Here is a wonderful writing of Kems on easy hand writing. In this blog I have found some significant info about "Rules Are Made to Be Broken, but Not the Little Annoying Ones" which is really important for writing content. Thanks for this lovely sharing. read here if you want to know more about the quality writing services.

Emma L. Gates said...

There should be really some rules in life and before breaking we should really learn them.I read a blog on and it was properly about rules of life.

sina said...

Good information.

sina said...

In this earth everything has its own rules so its clear to us that systemic way is perfect for us. In this blog we can easily find some effective points which has impressed me. One of most impotent why should we follow easy writing tips. Thanks and keep posting. useful link you can trust for the quality of writing.

Filipe Anderson said...

Writing is hard work for me. But this post really clears me about writing. I find out more information about writing. That's helpful to me. I will try my best now.

xccc said...

Which are the indicators of global recognition of individuals during this contemporary world? Of course, amount of followers on the Twitter account can be described as firm indication in today. buy non drop twitter followers

dipali sharma said...

All this and a lot more could be in you kitty if you are using this platform diligently. buy targeted facebook likes

unknown said...

This is the first run through in the history when we saw upbeat holidays.It is seem like an extraordinary thing which we can just understand.Hope this is the most ideal manner by which we can go through at some point with our family.

poni said...

You might have know those rules first on on this page and then you should think about to break those as we have a nature to break it down.

nes said...

Yeah could say that those rules are here to be broken but you need to check more info before breaking some law or rule in your side.

Darnell S Dickens said...

This can be the primary tell you from the heritage after we discovered main stream breaks. It truly is could be seen as an extraordinary try this matter which often we can easily simply just fully grasp. Trust this can be the most ideal approach with which we can easily experience sometime with the spouse and children.

Krystal Barnett said...

Life-time Replacement is an element that you scarcely find, when you Buy facebook reviews. Exclusively a few decent suppliers offer this. buying facebook reviews