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#294155 - 11/10/19 05:49 PM Why People Can't Write
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5237
Loc: SOCAL
The Single Reason Why People Can't Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist

Quote:
...As Richard Feynman, the Nobel prize-winning physicist, once wrote, "If you ever hear yourself saying, 'I think I understand this,' that means you don't."...

If you write like you’re trying to explain something to an 8 yo, you might actually communicate better with adults. wink

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#294159 - 11/10/19 11:20 PM Re: Why People Can't Write [Re: Russ]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2766
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Good article. I am fortunate that many people can't write. Technical writing and editing has been my bread and butter for many long years.

Writing in the language of the shop floor is a balancing act.
On the one hand: if you spoon-feed a highly technical audience, they will dismiss you as not credible. On the other hand: if you don't set up a ladder to the second floor, the new guy will be lost, frustrated, and demoralized.

So, I agree that bad writing is defined by a failure to communicate with the target audience.

And you do know who your primary audience is, don't you? (Did you bother to find out?) It's the foundation of good writing. It's essential to put yourself in their shoes, to know their knowledge level and how they perceive the world. Good writing communicates effectively by being in sync with the reader; and that makes it possible to subtly motivate and pull the reader toward greater understanding and desirable actions.

My 2c.

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#294168 - 11/12/19 07:38 PM Re: Why People Can't Write [Re: dougwalkabout]
brandtb Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 318
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
Academics excel at this pretentious crap -

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power. - Doctor Judith Butler (claimed by some to be one of the ten smartest people on the planet - but not by me)

http://www.denisdutton.com/bad_writing.htm
_________________________
Brian Brandt

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#294175 - 11/14/19 01:36 AM Re: Why People Can't Write [Re: brandtb]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 815
Loc: wellington, fl
Writing, speech is not always intended to explain or to provide information to the general public. My colleagues in the ER spoke in a patois of slang, abbreviation, acronym and ellipsis designed to communicate efficiently and quickly within the team, with a byproduct of excluding those outside the group and enhancing group solidarity.

I suspect that brantb's example of prolix. pleonastic, sesquipedalian academic language was intended to enhance the authors status as a member of the intellectual elite rather than to educate the masses.
_________________________
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

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#294176 - 11/14/19 03:36 AM Re: Why People Can't Write [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7066
Loc: southern Cal
And then there are those who can write quite well and be accurte and informative to boot; https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond has always impressed me as a very fine synthesis of human history. And there are lots o folks, perhaps not quit a brilliant, who communicate quite well
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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