“With the research of the history I will know about the other countries and how they were before I got there.”

This is another student who believes that most of what we know of life began more or less with his birth. Fortunately, he is aware that “the other countries” do have SOME history that he can do “the research” on, just to sketch in that primitive past. Does he hope to find out what they were like, or the means by which they existed, one wonders…

Beyond pointing this out, words fail me.

I will leave you to enjoy the resonances of this sentence, and I hope you find them as amazing as I do.

About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

5 responses to ““With the research of the history I will know about the other countries and how they were before I got there.”

  • philosophermouseofthehedge

    Also interesting how the author managed to use the word “I” twice in this short sentence?
    Do you think someone once taught him not to start a sentence with the word “I”?
    What a sentence.

  • RJ Schundler

    Why not start a sentence with I …. “I do… ” and ‘I will … and ” I believe …” are all good ways to start a sentence

    • RAB

      You’re right, as we say in the English racket, DEPENDING. In this particular assignment, starting a sentence with “I” is perfectly appropriate, since the assignment was an informal Prospectus for an anthology project and the student was reporting on his (in this case) envisioned project, plans for research, and plans for gathering literature. Elsewhere, students are generally advised not to start sentences with “I” in application letters (they’d start EVERY sentence that way!), and not to use the first person in academic writing (because the papers would be full of “I think,” “I feel,” “I truly believe,” etc., and students who use those expressions usually forget to present any actual evidence or reasoning to support their claims—the personal belief is deemed sufficient! Most teachers of writing give students a few “nonce” rules (“while you’re in this class, I want you never to begin a sentence with ‘There is'” is one of mine) designed to break habits. As Phil says, this student may have been given the “no ‘I'” rule at some point, and even though my ASSIGNMENT invited him to write in the first person, he just couldn’t let dear old gray-haired Mrs. Ampersand down by beginning a sentence with the taboo word! So he made one sentence where two might have been more efficient, and buried the “I” after an introductory phrase.

  • yearstricken

    I hope the student was not overly surprised by how much happened before he/she arrived.

    • RAB

      I love his phrase “how they were.” Makes me think that the research of history will tell him “Oh, they were okay.” Doesn’t actually mention events, structures, beliefs, that kinda thing….

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