“I was an English major, so I love discussing possibilities and alternate theories.” -William Mapother

The time has come for me to answer a question I get a lot. (EDIT: Never.) People tend to ask me, “Sam, why is it that you’re so awesome?” Two which I reply, “Because I was an English major.”

After giving this answer for so long (EDIT: Again, never.) I am worried that many people do not understand what it means to be an English major, or why it makes you so awesome.

A degree in English gives you many things aside from a load of student debt. Among other things, you receive an inherent ability to tell when grammar and spelling are correct, the ability to recall any bit of classical literature flawlessly, and are capable of coming up with no fewer than five synonyms for any given word. The upper echelons of English graduates, which include me, are actually able to personally serve as a reputable dictionary, and may be consulted if any issue arises. (EDIT: Almost none of the above is true.)

But probably the most useful (EDIT: Useless.) aspect is our familiarity with poetry and poetic structure. I’ve written a couple of examples here, to explain popular styles. We’ll start off easy:

A good Haiku

Syllables five-seven-five

Syntax is useless

Everyone knows Haiku’s are short poems consisting of three lines, two of which have five syllables and the middle has seven. Also, they aren’t usually known for their fluidity.

Warmed up? Next up is one of my favorites, and will probably give you flashbacks of high school. Here’s a quick explanation of Mr. Shakespeare’s favorite meter:

To write Iambic verse, unstressed comes first

Stress then comes aft, unless the line’s inversed

Iambic pentameter describes two different ideas. Iambic means the line is broken into pairs of stressed and unstressed syllables. The pentameter is more obvious, for anyone who studied some Greek Etymology (EDIT: Nerd.) No? Just me? Okay, well “penta-“ means “five” and “-meter” means “measure,” so Iambic Pentameter is five measures of stressed/unstressed syllables. As my example suggests, unstressed syllables usually come first, though an alternate method used in the second line has the first ‘pair’ inverted.

Impressive, right? (EDIT: No, it’s not.)

If you want to start acquiring some awesome English major powers, you need only enter the tutelage of an English Master. If you liked my examples above, you’ll be reciting Chaucer under a waterfall in no time.

(EDITOR: We regret our involvement in this article, but due to the author’s delusions we deemed it necessary. Please forgive the grade A horse**** above.)

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