On writing and saying “I feel like…”

As I read and edit student papers, I find myself crossing out a lot of superfluous (read: extraneous, unnecessary) language which weakens the writing. Often, this extra language takes the form of:  “I believe…”, or “In my opinion…”, or “personally, in my opinion, I feel like…”. My thoughts in this are: if you’re writing it in a paper, your reader can assume that it’s your belief, opinion, feeling, etc. Taking out this language makes a statement stronger, more assertive, more clear and certain. This recent article, Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’ by Molly Worthen (April 30, 2015, New York Times Op Ed) takes a deeper look at this qualifying, weakening language and analyzes it in terms of larger sociological factors. Have a look. Do you agree with Ms. Worthen? Do you find that you use this qualifying language in your own writing or speech?

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2 thoughts on “On writing and saying “I feel like…”

  1. My English teacher says the same thing- she literally drills it into our heads every day. It’s pretty obvious if you’re writing a paper, that it’s going to be of your OWN opinion; it’s going to be about what YOU believe and what YOU think. So, there really is no need to write, “I believe… I think”. But I totally get it. Ever since Elementary school, this is what has been drilled into our heads; to separate facts from opinions. So, it sort of became a habit. For this paper, I looked over it a bunch of times to make sure I didn’t include those terms. But it’s hard sometimes, because it’s like we WANT the reader to know that this is our opinion. But if you think about it, without using “I think, I believe”, your paper will sound more confident… which is definitely a good thing..(I think).. 🙂

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  2. since high school ive been told never to use the word “i” in my essays. by stating your opinion it weakens the argument of the paper. the reader doesn’t know who you are and cant know if what you think is accurate. i made sure not to use any “I’s” in my paper.

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