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.”

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