Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday games to play with your academic writing

Pin the nominalization affix on the verb
The transformation of verbs into nouns has as a result the complication of the interpreting of your writing.

The syllable-to-word ratio game
My top score (averaged over a sentence of more than 10 words) is currently 3.2. You might think that doesn't look very high, but just wait until you challenge it.

The footnote-to-body-text ratio game
I haven't played this one myself yet, but it was highly recommended by a friend.

The octopus game
Find a passage where from the number of times you use the phrase "on the other hand" the reader can only infer that you have at least eight arms.

Hide the full-stop
See how many clauses you can jam into one sentence before you have to come up for air. (Warning: never play this one against a German.)

And my all-time favourite: Pass the whisky.
(If you tell me that doesn't have anything to do with academic writing, I'll bet you've never written a dissertation.)

What games are you treating your writing to a round of this Christmas?


skookumchick said...

I would like to say - both Mr. S and I found this v. funny. But sad. Pass the whiskey, because I don't even have anything to ratioize yet. ;-) Happy holidays from Up-Over...

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I weep! I weep! It's brilliant. I love the caveat "Never play this with a German."

I think I'm going to try the Octopus Game with my current essay.

wolfa said...

My worst has been that I have had the tendency to overuse certain verbal forms. I have usually edited everything I have written, removing a few extraneous verbs from every sentence.

It also seems that I occasionally use a few hedges.

wolfa said...

Also, I still regularly use 'On the one hand, on the other hand, on the gripping hand'. Hurray, science fiction! Or boo, because no one I know ever recognises it.

StyleyGeek said...


paideia said...

hysterical!! I laughed, I cried. I especially appreciated the German joke (does making fun of German writing EVER get old? :-) )

love your blog, by the way, just discovered it...

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks, Paideia! And welcome!