The biggest thing I try to stress to my students is the
difference between formality in spoken and written English. In
written English, especially in academia, the point of view should
almost always be third person. We rarely, if ever, speak in third
person about our own thoughts. In writing, one shouldn't use the
word "you" to address the reader, but "one" or "the reader".
Grammar is, of course, only evident in written English, as when
speaking we emote things like commas with pauses and changes in
tone. This can be hard for some students to grasp.
I was going to say this very rule. It drives me nuts in
both spoken AND written English, but have you noticed how
acceptable it has become to verbally answer questions in the "2nd
I find professional atheletes do it the most. The
interviewer asks, "How does it feel, coming off a big win like that
and knowing you have to turn around and do it again next
week?" The answer inevitably comes in the form that everyone
watching and listening has experienced such pressure: "Oh you know,
you get out there and you see and hear your fans cheering you on,
and you just know you can do it. You feel like you can do
anything, even with that kind of pressure, when you've got the fans
behind you like that, you know?"
Meanwhile I'm thinking, "No, I really don't know. My
career-pressure has unfortunately never been supported by hundreds
of thousands of cheering fans."
My other thought (in response to your question) is to look at
the way teenagers (and many others now, sadly) have begun writing
on the internet (whether email, social networking, or blogs,
etc). It seems everyone is looking for new ways to express
"voice" that are wholly unconventional and so far unnacceptable in
the respected publication world. For example, I've noticed
several people who insert things like (sarcastically) before a
comment in order to ensure that everyone knows the comment is
ironic. I think it is a little sad, in a way, that we've
become so overt. I think it has also encouraged redundancy,
an epidemic in student-writing.