It Depends (Again)

Once again, I’m teaching English Grammar to advanced majors, and once again, some are wanting easy answers to complicated questions about writing and grammar.  They want “once and for all” rules that will apply to all writing situations.  For example, one student asked today if writing in short simple sentences is better than writing in long complex ones.  It reminded me of that piece of folklore some teachers expose about paragraphs needing five sentences.  I know I frustrate them a bit by answering most of their questions with “It depends.”  But that’s when it really gets interesting because what “it depends” upon can lead us to some very good thinking about the rhetorical or situational nature of writing and what real readers expect of real writers.  For more on “It Depends,” see what my Grammar students from two years ago did.