Re: When to use the word "curate?"

Subject: Re: When to use the word "curate?"
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:29:25 -0800

On 12/19/2012 12:06 PM, McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:

Um......... didn't the bulk of our language come from Latin?

Nice question. I am reading Writing to Win by Steven Stark.
http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Win-Steven-D-Stark/dp/0307888711

The book is written for lawyers and other legal writers but I think it provides an excellent discussion about writing for the audience. Beginning on page 53, Stark provides a concise and compelling discussion about the use of simple language. Sections from two paragraphs that discuss Latin quoted from pages 53-54 follow.

... "Clearness is secured by using the words that are current and ordinary," wrote Aristotle. To be sure, a careful writer always strives for precision above all else. That's why legal writers should always keep a dictionary and a thesaurus handy. "You ought never to use an unfamiliar word unless you've had to search for it to express a delicate shade," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote.
Still, simple words--many of which came into the English language from Anglo-Saxon--tend to convey meaning more strongly than words that came into the language later from French. Words derived from Latin tend to be conceptual words and are often "lugubriously ambiguous" and sleep-inducing. If your sentences are full of multisyllabic Latin-based words, you're courting trouble, particularly in an Internet age, in which you need your readers to get what you're saying even if they're distracted.

Suffice it to say, this book is my current favorite read. Chapter 11 is Technical Writing. It's brief and Stark focuses on the technical writing used in legal documents, like patent applications and scientific documents, but he does give a nod to everyday technical writing, like directions for board games and cookbooks.

Read the preview on Amazon and my guess is that folks who enjoy owning books about writing will buy this one. Page 15, available in the preview, begins an illustrative view of the writing style and subject matter featured in the book. While most people here would have little understanding of criminal procedure and diversity jurisdiction, the examples provided are so clear that you will come away with an accurate understanding of the subject matter in just three concise paragraphs.

Page 18 features a paragraph that can provide self-reflection for older and educated writers as well as a one-sentence condensation of Moby Dick. Discussions of readers in the Internet Age and the use of jargon that are featured throughout the book apply to technical writing and are enlightening.







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Follow-Ups:

References:
When to use the word "curate?": From: Cardimon, Craig
RE: When to use the word "curate?": From: Tammy Van Boening
Re: When to use the word "curate?": From: Ryan Pollack
RE: When to use the word "curate?": From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: When to use the word "curate?": From: Mike McCallister
RE: When to use the word "curate?": From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: When to use the word "curate?": From: Alec Chakenov
RE: When to use the word "curate?": From: Cardimon, Craig
RE: When to use the word "curate?": From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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