20 Questions Every English Major Is Asked (And Is Probably Annoyed By)

As a fourth year English major at UCSB, I have mastered the art of answering the many questions people ask about my major, all while hiding how I annoyed I am with these questions. Each time I am at a party or family reunions, people question me about everything from assignments to jobs after college. These questions can be very insulting and quite frankly on the border of major shaming.

So, here are 20 questions every English major has been asked and are probably really tired of hearing.

1. So, do you want to be a teacher?

While being a teacher is a great profession, that is not the only option for English majors. I mean you wouldn't ask a Chem major if they were going to teach high school Chemistry...


2. What are your tests even like?

Just like any other course, the test depends on the professor. Sometimes it is on memorization and identification, and other times it is an in-class essay. And I freak out just as much as everyone else during finals week. But, I think we can all agree, regardless of our majors, that exams are horrible.


3. Do you just write essays all the time? I hate to write.

Yes, I do, and thanks for sharing your opinion, I guess, but really you don't hear me complaining about how much I dislike problem sets. 


4. What job do you expect to get after you graduate? Good luck with that.

I don't think you know how much I hate this question or how many times I am asked this because of the fact that I am an English major. There are many job opportunities for writers and creative thinkers. And no one wants to have to answer the post-graduation question, so let's have the courtesy of not asking that now. 


5. Can you edit my paper for me?

But, I mean, I most likely will, if you ask nicely. Just don't expect me to not give you back a paper that is almost dripping in red ink... because I will. 


6. Are you hipster?

English majors come in all shapes and sizes, and they don't all have to drink coffee in obscure coffee shops. I don't even drink tea! 


7. What do you do all day - read? I hate to read

Yes, yes, I do read all day, and thanks for sharing your dislikes with me...? But, hey, I mean we all have different interests, and that is totally okay. 


8. Are you going to grad school?

I don't know how many times I have to say, "I am not going to graduate school," before people cease asking! As English majors, it has for some reason become expected of us to continue on to grad school. But just because it is expected doesn't mean we have to go on a previously set path. 


9. What does (insert word here) mean?

I am an English major NOT a dictionary.


10. Do you ever have to study for tests?

If I would like to have a good grade, then yes, I will study. And with 20-plus readings before week 5, I most definitely will need to pull an all nighter. 


11. Aren’t you worried about not having a practical major?

No, I am never worried because I love being an English major, and what you are saying is that what I love to do is pointless. So, let's move away from major-shaming and not ask this question ever again because it is just plain rude!


12. Do you know the difference between affect and effect?

Yes, yes, I do, but don't expect me to tell you... jk. Or am I? *insert winky face emoji*


13. Are you applying to law school?

Go back to question 8 and replace grad school with law school, and there lies your answer. 


14. Can you write my paper for me?

Nope, absolutely not. I am not willing to risk being kicked out of school to write your English 10 paper. 


15. Are you good at math?

I am a pro at figuring out tips and discounts. I mean just because I am an English major and not a Math major doesn't mean I am useless with numbers. Just please don't ask me what the quadratic formula is. 


16. Does this mean you’re a good writer?

I would hope so! I don't think I could survive being an English major if I wasn't at least decent at writing. 


17. I bet you can quote Shakespeare huh?

There's more to English than Shakespeare and Jane Austen, but I can quote both, so I guess I fit the stereotype, huh?

18. Who’s your favorite author?

This is one of the nicer questions I am asked, but let me tell you this is one of the hardest questions ever! I can't just pick one!

19. So, are you like a grammar Nazi?

Yes, I admit I'm 100% guilty of this, and I am sorry because I know I am such a douche when this happens. 

20. What’s your favorite book?

Replace question 18 with favorite book instead of favorite author, and you will have your answer.