Re: Simply

Subject: Re: Simply
From: <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Chris Borokowski <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com>,<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 13:38:18 -0400

Certain words and phrases that we encounter (but would never *outselves* use) seem to derive from styles common in advertising or in legal writing.

Exempli gratia:

- "Simply press the button, and we'll do the rest." (It's intended to be comforting, not condescending.)

- "Whereas the party of the first part, being desirous of the obliteration of useless and annoying adjectives and adverbs as found in the aforementioned technical and scientific writing..."

Those styles are suitable only in first drafts that we have dashed off in a hurry or that we have imported wholesale from the advertising or legal departments or from SMEs who think that bloat implies importance. I am always amazed, on a second reading of my first drafts, at the verbal sins I have committed. Will Strunk had it right: "Omit needless words."

--Peter Neilson


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