One of the dues you have to pay as a freshman at CU Boulder is taking a lower level writing class. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s the most boring thing in the entire universe. However, a great option for a class that will get the requirement out of the way and teach you some valuable writing techniques is Advanced Writing and Rhetoric. Here are 5 of the best and most useful writing tips you’ll learn in this class.
1. Writing Without “To Be” Verbs
The first assignment you’ll be given in this class is a description of your bedroom that didn’t have any “to be” verbs in it. This is a lot harder than it sounds. “To be” verbs include sayings like “I am”, “you are”, or “this is”, which is a huge part of our description vocabulary. This was an incredibly useful exercise because it helps expand writing beyond simply listing descriptive qualities and forces the writer to be more creative.
2. Proper Citation Techniques
In any summary of a book or story, it’s incredibly useful to have quotes and references to the text that one is writing about. If you want to do this, you’ll need to fully understand how to cite quotations and texts. There are so many quotation techniques that you’ll learn in just the first couple of chapters, that citing in any format (whether it be MLA or Chicago) will be a breeze.
3. Fact Use of Fact (FUOF)
This concept comes from the textbook Make Straight Your Arrow, a book that was written by the instructor who now teaches this course. He really likes using confusing – and sometimes unnecessarily long – abbreviations, but one that you’ll come to recognize is FUOF. Fact Use of Fact centers around the idea that facts themselves do not qualify as arguments. This technique will improve the quality of any argumentative paper you produce throughout your career.
4. Agent Prose/Operational Prose (APOP)
This is another commonly abbreviated concept drawn from the textbook that will remain prevalent for the whole semester. By learning how to properly identify and use APOP, you’ll be able to clearly state who did something, what they did, who it affected, and much more. Using this technique as opposed to using prose based on abstractions makes your writing much clearer and more energetic.
5. Refuting an Argument
Although the definition of “refute” might be to prove wrong, refuting an argument doesn’t involve stating whether it is right or wrong; it’s about pointing out holes in an argument that cause the argument to lose its ground and appear invalid. Being able to understand the difference between refuting an argument and just proving it wrong is an important skill no matter what you’re writing, and this class goes over it in incredible detail.
Taking a lower level writing class is something that everyone has to get out of the way your freshman year of college, no matter what level their writing is at. If every other class that fills this requirement seems unbearable and too simple, taking Adv. Writing and Rhetoric is an easy way to fill this requirement and learn a lot about what makes a piece of writing good.