Reflections at the Intersection of American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic Life
Monday, November 9, 2015
What Is Good Writing?
The Oxford University Press blog interviews Geoffrey Huck from the professional writing program at York University. Here is a taste:
In your professional opinion as an associate professor of writing, what defines good writing?
I liken good writing to fluent speech, i.e., the kind of ordinary speech that any adult speaker without organic deficits uses naturally on a daily basis. It doesn’t draw attention to itself by being especially lyrical or confounded with solecisms; it’s just routinely effective for the various uses to which it’s put. There are differences between speech and writing, of course, but a good writer is functionally proficient in writing in the same way that an adult native speaker is functionally proficient in speaking. Neuroscience shows us that basically the same brain structures are responsible for fluency in both speaking and writing if you ignore the muscular aspects, so we should expect the two kinds of fluency to be related.