loading words...

Jan 15, 2019 03:01:51

Avoid fuzzy thinking in writing

by @davidnge | 356 words | 🐣 | 104💌

David nge

Current day streak: 0🐣
Total posts: 104💌
Total words: 29592 (118 pages 📄)

When we're about to write something often we're (at least I am) not sure what we're trying to say.

And if we're not sure what we're trying to get across but write it anyway, the sentence becomes cloudy. This leaves the reader's mind blank after reading that sentence.

I found a few sentences online that exemplify this:

1) We are going to pre-board the plane.

There's no such thing as pre-board the plane, you either board the plane or you don't.

2) I want to take a day out of your time to discuss this. 

When you want to take a day out of my time, you mean schedule.

> I want to schedule a day with you to discuss this.

3) The appreciation of a host-controlled environment will become not only the best way but the only way to implement complexity of a distributed network. 

What is the appreciation of a host-controlled environment? You can't implement the complexity of a distributed network.

Here's how I would rewrite, assuming host-controlled environment is the best way to host this distributed network.

> Host-controlled environment is the best and only way to implement distributed network of this complexity.

4) A clear understanding of the conversion that will take place is illustrated by the diagrams that follow. 

Too many passive voices, which makes the sentence hard to follow. Also, jargons like "A clear understanding of.." and "that will take place" can be replaced by simpler words.

Here's the rewrite:

> The diagrams below clearly illustrate the conversion that's going to happen.

5) The following list of security coordinators has authority to write policy statements. 

"The following list of security coordinators" really just means "these coordinators".

> These security coordinators have the authority to write policy statements.

The lessons here are:

- First get clear what you're trying to say before you say it.

- Draw logical connections. The cause and effect of what you're saying should be clear.

- Spell things out, don't force the readers to make assumptions. Make it easy for the readers.

- Read back your sentences. If your mind goes blank, don't leave it and walk away. Fix it.

  • 1

    @davidnge Very good points. Some of these mistakes occur through lack of practice, but others sound very typical of people who don't speak English as their first language. Either way, I hope people pick up on this.

    Gabriel Greco avatar Gabriel Greco | Jan 15, 2019 12:07:04
    • 1

      @gabrielgreco Yes, I'm not a native english speaker so it was very eye opening when I first learned these concepts..

      David nge avatar David nge | Jan 16, 2019 02:30:41
  • 1

    @davidnge #1 reminded me of the great bit by George Carlin about flying. If you haven't seen it, I think you will enjoy it. https://youtu.be/46fOtLfYC4Q

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jan 15, 2019 04:21:12
    • 1

      @brandonwilson looks cool! Adding it to my weekend watchlist :)

      David nge avatar David nge | Jan 16, 2019 02:31:03
contact: email - twitter / Terms / Privacy