The concept is an important one for Pseudo-Dionysius, whose name was mentioned this morning on the Silver and Black pride blog. Googling it (the concept) resulted in a lot of hits, so here is a sample:
For many college students the beginning of learning how to write well is to unlearn much of what they’ve been taught. Most students arrive at college with a grab-bag of rules that they try their best to adhere to. They’ve never really thought about these rules, or wondered if they make sense (understandably, since their teachers probably didn’t either). But students believe that following these rules will help produce “good writing,” and that “bad writing” is defined as breaking the rules.
If you think the “rules” are your best guide to good writing, you’ve got some serious throwing-away to do as the first step in your growth as a writer.
Some of the false or overly simplistic rules about essay-writing I’ve heard most often: don’t split infinitives, don’t start a sentence with but or and, don’t use direct questions, don’t abbreviate, don’t say I or you, don’t end sentences with prepositions, avoid pronouns as being too informal, and write essays in precisely five paragraphs. There are also lots of idiosyncratic usage edicts. Some teachers for instance require their students to dutifully change towards into toward every time they come across it.
Yes, I’ve had such students, and the phenomenon isn’t limited to writing.