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Mr Kovitz kindly said [metadiscourse]:
>The two most likely candidates for introductory content are
>definitions and an overview. A definition says what you're
>talking about, in effect providing a hook on which the reader can
>hang everything you say later. An overview says the same thing
>as what comes later, but in less detail, bringing macro-level
>relationships into focus.
Which caused Mr. Stockman to reply:
>I agree that empty, filler statements are Bad Things, wherever they
>appear (pop-up help, section intros, and so on).
>However, my experience in training (strictly self-taught, so anybody with
>formal training training -- duplicate intended -- should jump in to
>correct me) is that people respond well to a structure like this:
In addition to text that introduces a topic or section, I understand
metadiscource can apply to any spot where an author needs to refers to
himself/herself, or to the act of writing itself. I can see how that
*does* make it different from pure informational content or overview.
From what I understand, phrases such as, "this research leads us to
believe," "In conclusion, we have shown here that," are regarded as
metadiscourse or metatext.
Ben Kovitz is right when he expunges the drier sort of metatext to take
the hot air out of a
dryly-academic document, but I agree with Mike Stockman who sees no harm
in using it to help with organization.
And Simon North beat me to the punch: The Toastmasters International
mantra of "tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em
what you told 'em," is pretty good structure--in public speaking anyway.
And, some publishers seem to prefer some sort of metatext; a computer
publisher who encourages authors to affect a 'friendly' style might cause
an author to stray into overblown passages of first-person rambling. Like
this message. :-)