Der Amerikanische Urlauber

Saturday, March 26, 2005

What an Ingenious Book...

What a great book... Posted by Hello

It's amazing how much you really continue to learn about your own native language even after you've been speaking and writing in it for years. English is a complicated language, especially to write in. We have tons of different rules, inane spelling, and pronunciation is about as ridiculous as French (particularly due to our borrowing a huge percentage of our modern wordage from French)

This book, pictured above, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity in Grace, always seems to teach me something, with each of the ten lessons that I read. This particular lesson was devoted to the wonderful art of concision. Concision is extremely important. I'm certain I could be more concise, as could everyone.

But at the same time, there's a danger of being so concise and to the point that you lose the effect you wanted to have on your reader in the first place. It can make the writing sound cold or overconfident. So there's a fine line to be walked when it comes to concision. Essentially, as author Williams writes, you have to listen to the reader, because only they know how to be your reader. Yay for willing guinea pigs.

Honestly, I sometimes employ up to a dozen people to read those papers I deem essentially important and worthy of critique. Of course, I've found the greater the pool of judges, the greater the spectrum of critique. One person will praise what another says to omit, and so on.

So that's when I decide to listen to those points that resonate with me and that open my eyes to legitimate problems.

I was amazed that right after reading this particular section, when I went and re-read over my journal analysis that I've been writing for International Studies, the editorial pen went to paper and repetitive words and excessive metadiscourse (filler that we like to add in spoken conversation which is essential to, but can weaken, an essay) went out the window. My what a difference that made.

I do indeed love this book. And it's so nice and short. Why can't all academic readings be this... concise?


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