don’t write ridiculouslylylyly

Grading is soooo boring.

Number one pet peeve being reinforced by these papers: “thusly.”  What an awful word.  I don’t mind so much that it is, as far as I can tell, a completely useless synonym of “thus.” I’m fine with synonymy.  But it sneaks into the language masquerading as the adverbial form of thus, which is already an adverb, plus it sounds ludicrously formal.  I mean, “thus” already sounds pretty formal.  “Thusly” is something that would be used in satirical academic dialogue.  And there are really a lot of kids who are using it!  Ech, just stop!

I remember one time my thesis adviser (that spelling is always counterintuitive to me) told me about a study that compared freshmen/sophomore writing to junior/senior writing.  Professors were to evaluate sample essays based solely on their style, and the f/s bath was way better than the j/s batch.  The suspicion was that the upperclassmen had read a critical number of primary texts and thought that was the style to match, so they just wrote with lots of big words and convoluted syntax, but didn’t have the structural or compositional understanding required to make that style work (and of course it just sounds silly when they use words like “betwixt”).  Who knows how much of that is true (the study included), but it’s a fun anecdote anyway.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Did you see the etymology at thefreedictionary? I will quote it thusly:

    “Thusly was introduced in the 19th century as an alternative to thus in sentences such as Hold it thus or He put it thus. It appears to have first been used by humorists, who may have been echoing the speech of poorly educated people straining to sound stylish.”

  2. Posted by okalexk on January 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    God, that’s perfect! I should just comment that link when they use it.

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