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Writing Center FYS Writing Award


When it comes to the evaluation of the grammatical and syntactical aspects of written language, two perspectives stand apparently opposed. The prescriptivist perspective promotes strict rule-following; the descriptivist, an acceptance of rule breaking as natural language usage and evolution. Yet the diverse nature of written language – in terms of purpose, audience, style, etc. – demands the application of both, with emphasis on one or the other depending upon such distinctions. Although certain situations demand prescriptive grammatical adherence, the effectiveness of technically erroneous communication in colloquial contexts suggests that the successful transfer of meaning outweighs the importance of standard, conventional language usage.


Mohala Kaliebe was the 2019 recipient of the First Year Seminar Excellence in Writing Award at Dickinson College.

Advisor: Associate Professor Erin M. Díaz