November 19th, 2007

Vanitas desk

Beware sweeping generalizations

As a general rule, "throughout history", "throughout time", and other sweeping phrases about the entire course of existence should be banned from history papers. They're nearly always incorrect. In fact, as a history student, you're more likely to be factually correct if you just avoid those phrases altogether.

Thus it is with some chagrin that I find myself unable to tell my current students to avoid "throughout history", because, for once, they're all using it appropriately. I'm proud and relieved - but it's still a dangerous phrase to throw around.