Monday, August 10, 2009

Welcoming your suggestions

I welcome your suggestions for future blog posts. If you spot a good example of unclear or not-so-clear writing, and you would like to see me critique it, please make a comment to this post, identifying the writing sample and specifying its URL.

Please be aware that I may not be able to use every suggestion, for one or more of the reasons explained below.


On this blog, I do not critique anything written by a young child or by a non-native English speaker who has not yet achieved high fluency. Obviously, we should not hold these people to the clarity standards of adult, native English speakers.

And believe me, I do empathize. Once, while traveling alone in France, I had to write a one-page letter in French. It took me three hours. The recipients later told me that they had laughed until their stomachs ached.

Generally I do not critique legal documents, newspaper headlines, PowerPoint bullets, telegrams (do people still send those?), or Twitter tweets -- even if I have permission. Strictly speaking, none of these is prose, or is intended to be, and therefore none of these is subject to the rules for prose.


As I have explained in several posts, the purpose of this blog is educational, not sensational. I select samples of prose that enable me to explain specific concepts and techniques of clear writing. Occasionally I state my opinion that a certain type of error is typical of a group (e.g., politicians, university professors, or business journalists), but I never intend to single out a person for criticism.

The Takeaway: Comment on this post. Indicate a writing sample(s) that you would like to see critiqued. Include the URL. Thank you. Here's to clear writing!

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