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Gordon DesBrisay, History Faculty

Grammar and Mechanics

Is attention to grammar and mechanics important in a History essay?

It is in my classes. It has to be. How could it not be? Because it's...What's the essay for? It is to demonstrate their understanding of something and make a case and try to persuade a reader that what you're saying was so, and that maybe what other people were saying is less helpful as a way of understanding this. So, if you're trying to persuade people, of course language is critical. We live in language. We think in it. We speak in it. We need to use it effectively. Grammar for its own sake is a kind of false issue, I think. Grammar [should be considered] as the fundamental usage of the key tool in our arsenal. I've almost never read... Maybe it's happened once or twice, but it's almost impossible to imagine a really good paper that's really badly written. It just isn't credible. If your ideas are so good then... Well, I don't know that they're any good unless they're clearly set forth.