5 things graffiti can teach you about writing your next paper

les mecs puent

Be bold.

Go ahead and make a bold assertion: Les mecs puent. That gets my attention. Of course, you’ll have to back that up in a paper. but why not start out with an attention grabber?

Keep it simple.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in college-level French classes is students trying to write lengthy, complex sentences. Subordinate clauses will lead you down a treacherous path to academic hell. Use them sparingly. And while it may be true that too many short sentences in a row might create choppy prose, good transition words can smooth things over.


Embrace rebellion.

Take a stand. Question conventions and assumptions. Graffiti often responds to the context of its surroundings. In the photo below, the graffiti sprayed on the ground is a biblical quote that contradicts the “regarde le ciel” graffiti message seen all over Paris. It uses the context (the ground that the reader is obviously looking at to read the message) and a quote from an authority figure to counter the work of another “author.”

Be dedicated.

Even good old fashioned scratching words into a bench takes time. The person who has carved a message into wood (not that I recommend it) has invested some time and effort to make their mark.

Love triangle


Humor never hurts.

This bench made me laugh. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a love triangle, considering it’s Paris, but still…