International Students Say the Darndest Things

ME: One of the most important strategies for excellent academic writing is to be as specific as possible. Highly specific writing is much more convincing. Let’s do a quick exercise just to make sure we all understand what it means to be specific. I’ll say a phrase and you make it more specific. Ok. “The instructor is wearing clothing.” Frank, can you make that more specific?

FRANK: The instructor is wearing a brown sweater.

ME: Great. Yoshi, can you make that more specific? We should try to be as specific as possible.

YOSHI: The instructor is wearing a brown sweater with a small logo on the front.

ME: Great. Yawen, can you be more specific?

YAWEN: The instructor is wearing a brown sweater with a small logo on the front and the sweater is a large size, because the instructor may have put on a little weight.

ME: Ok, Yawen, from now on you be less specific.

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