Thursday, 21 May 2009

The use of "use" is used to make use of the use of "use"

Looking through a stack of student essays and exam scripts makes you spot patterns. One pattern that I noticed today is that of superfluous use of words such as "use", especially in sentences like "the use of evaluation is used to indicate such and such". Why not simply write "evaluation is used to indicate ...", or even "Here, evaluation indicates..." etc. Shorter, more to the point, and sounding less bloated and repetitive.

Another common pattern seems to be using the wrong verbs with abstract nouns. Hypothesis are being fortified, an author enhances a concept, and various other examples which of course now escape my mind. Next time I shall keep a list, which I can then throw back at my students in the hope that the use of this list can be used to improve their academic written use of English.

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