Re: Fog Index, take II
<<Don't use a long word when a short one will do.>>Since this is a paraphrase from George Orwell, one of my personal literary heroes, I have to point out that you're not paying enough attention to the last two words: "will do." If the short word does not convey the meaning required, then it clearly won't do. The advice is not to use a short word in all circumstances, but to use a short word whenever possible.
A textbook case of oversimplifying. The correct statement is "Use the right
word for your audience."
<<Short sentences are easier to understand than long ones.>>Even better: write to the sense, not the rhythm, of the sentence.
Another case of oversimplifying. The correct statement is "Use the right
sentence length; don't artificially shorten a sentence, nor allow a sentence
to grow so long it collapses under its own weight."
Many compound and complex sentences don't exist because they're necessary. They exist because people insert clauses because they think that something extra has to be added to make the sentence sound better. In speaking, this habit results in people using cliches to fill in the gaps. In writing, it often results in people giving too much information in one sentence.
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com
"They pout, they pose, they curl their lips,
They miss too many meals
With their implants and injections
Only God knows what is real."
-Garnet Rogers, "Where'd You Get That Little Dress?"
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Fog Index, take II: From: Hart, Geoff
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