Monday, February 26, 2007

Things

I've been taught that you should avoid using the word "thing" (things, something) in academic or professional of writing. On the second midterm, the authors used the word "thing" a lot. I noticed that that wasn't copyedited in the first midterm. Am I wrong in thinking that I shouldn't use the word "thing"?

5 comments:

Takashi said...

One of my English teachers in high school told me the same "thing."

I force myself not to use the word "thing" in a formal writing, because my writing sounds childish when I'm allowed to use that word.

Ritchie Mae said...

On the second midterm, I replaced the word "thing" with a lot of other words. As a result, I might have had problems with wordiness.

Jill said...

Really? I think it's okay to you use "thing" as long as it is specific unspecific things. As in, there were things all over the floor; where the "things" were various items that would be cumbersome to list.

I can't think of an example when using "thing" would be necessary in formal writing. I think it's fine as long as it is meant to be unspecific for unimportant items. Does that make sense?

LilyLuvsU said...

The thing is, I'm not sure if this thing will make sense if I keep using the word "thing." The problem may be that things become equivocal in discussing these things. Somethings are apparent, others things are not. One thing for sure is that many things have a more specific label than "thing."

Pat said...

If your teachers discouraged you from using thing, it was because they wanted writing to be a more deliberate, conscious act for you. That is, they wanted you to come up with names for things.

The Dzanc author's frequent use of the word is symptomatic of the limited thinking that went into the writing of the letter.

However, if some of you decided to keep the author's style for most of the letter and did not replace thing with other words, that is probably all right. I'll have to decide on a case-by-case basis.