You Might Be An English Major If
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You Might Be An English Major If

Studying English isn't all rainbows and butterflies, but we still think it's pretty great.

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You Might Be An English Major If
Rachel M. Brownstein

Are you an English major? If so, you’re doubtlessly well-acquainted with the papery world of books and essays that we inhabit. See how many of these ten tell-tale traits of our literary clan apply to you:


1. Your required “textbooks” are all novels.

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What other major assigns reading from novels that have been on your personal must-read list since high school? (Hint: None of them do.) When you're an English major, it's easy to get so engrossed in the book you're reading for class that you work ahead on your homework—for fun!

2. Your "pleasure" reading is nonexistent.

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The down-side to all of the reading that goes along with majoring in English is that it leaves basically no time for anything else. This means that during the school year, your list of books to read strictly for pleasure continually grows longer, and any extra-curricular books that you foolishly attempt to start reading end up abandoned on your shelf until summer vacation. Pleasure reading in the middle of the semester? Ha! The very idea is laughable.

3. Your room resembles a library.

Or a bookstore. Take your pick. Either way, there are definitely enough books lying around to deserve a building to themselves.

4. All of your books have writing in the margins.

Nobody marks up a book like an English major. From profound insights offered by your professors to your own private revelations to hearts drawn next to your favorite passages, you have no fear of attacking the pages with whatever writing utensil you have available. For you, this isn't disrespectful—it

's simply your way of connecting with the text on a deeper and more personal level.

5. You have a love/hate relationship with essays.

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One the one hand, you love writing. That kind of comes with the "English" territory. On the other hand, essays are stressful for everyone, and as an English major you write more than your fair share of them every semester. Writing all of those ten-page research papers can really start to take a toll on your sanity after a while. When you hear your non-English-major friends complaining about their "long" four-page papers, you want to smack them and remind them how good they really have it.

6. It's MLA or bust.

APA? Chicago Tribune? What are they? Your science and education friends may try to argue, but you know that there are no valid alternatives for citing and formatting according to MLA standards.

7. Oxford commas are mandatory.


You aren't swayed by the roaring debate about whether or not to use the Oxford. The technicalities of the issue don't concern you. For you, it's not even a question. One should always use the Oxford. Always.


8. Everyone always asks what you’re going to do with your major.

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Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, an English major is widely marketable, and it equips you to pursue a wide range of careers. Whether you want to be a lawyer, an editor, a teacher, or an author, English will get you there. So why does everyone assume that you're going to end up a penniless poet? Maybe it's Edgar Allen Poe's fault.

9. You use obnoxiously long words in everyday conversations.

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Why say "angry" when you can say "vitriolic"? Why say "blue" when you could say "cerulean"? Your vocabulary may drive your friends and family crazy, but the expansiveness of the English language is one of the reasons you love it so much. You might even call yourself a Sesquipedalian.

10. You know a literary quote for every occasion.

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As an English major, the literature that you study is never far from your mind. When you toss a line of Shakespeare into casual conversation or find the perfect moment to drop your favorite Faulkner reference, you may leave your less literary friends scratching their heads in confusion...but you just can't help it. Literature is part of your life, and drawing connections between the books you read and the situations you face is both natural and healthy. Just try to have mercy on your non-English-major friends when they can't keep up with your literary genius.

Congratulations, English majors! You are part of a close-knit clan of scholars, literary enthusiasts, and lovers of language. Sure, we have our idiosyncrasies and our struggles, but we all agree that we're studying the best subject in the world. Here's to English!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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