Monday, May 4, 2015


Thursday, April 30, 2015


Monday, April 27, 2015

Because faddishness

The proudly ill-educated are giddily following the current fad of using because as a preposition. For example:

“I’m late because YouTube. You’re reading this because procrastination.” (Source)

Some ditzy writers and editors at The Atlantic seem to think it’s cute. So do a lot of dudes and bimbos on the internet. But if you are a grown-up, in mind as well as in body, you will abstain.

The Takeaway: If you want to be taken seriously, if you want to preserve your self-respect, try not to imitate this latest puerile fad brought to you by the people who popularized having said that and at the end of the day.

See disclaimer.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You can say a lot in only 100 words (8)

Another writer who does a lot with 100 words is Butler Shaffer (pictured), a professor of law. In his well-constructed article titled “The Foundations of Our Extinction” is this concise paragraph:

What passes as “news” in today’s culture is largely centered upon hostilities between or among persons or events that can be exploited for the purpose of further empowering the state not only to resolve the immediate conflict, but to mobilize the energies of massive numbers of persons to be galvanized into demanding a governmental response. If, for instance, a white police officer shoots an unarmed black man, those who identify themselves with the race of the victim will likely react with a more intense anger than might be the case if a white policeman shot an unarmed white man. (99 words)

Notice also that, although Mr. Shaffer uses two very long sentences (55 and 44 words long, respectively), his good sentence structure makes his meaning clear.

The Takeaway:  If you want to make your writing more concise, keep reading writers who are good at writing concisely. To see the earlier pieces in this series, search on “Mr. Clarity” and “You can say a lot in only 100 words.” For even more examples of good concision, search on “Mr. Clarity” and “Concise writing is usually clear writing.”

See disclaimer.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Avoiding redundancy (6)

Originally created

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.” (Source)

Something can be created only once; therefore, “originally created” is redundant.

Potential red flag

“Rising Inventories = Potential Red Flag” (Source)

A red flag is an “indicator of potential problems”; therefore, “Potential Red Flag” is redundant.

A snow event

“Parking During a Snow Event” (Source)

Snow (a form of precipitation) is an event; therefore, “Snow Event” is redundant.

Snow plowing events

“The City of Hudson has a specific ordinance that deals with snow plowing events that require all residents to remove their vehicles from all City streets, roadways and city-maintained alleys.” (Source)

Snow plowing is an event; therefore; therefore “snow plowing events” is redundant.

The Takeaway: Whether you are speaking or writing, be careful to avoid redundancy. If you use a lot of redundancies, your intelligent listeners or readers may conclude that you are ill-educated, stupid or careless.

See disclaimer.