Info

and Simplicity

To be effective words must be precise. Precision means that words serve your purpose—that is, that they express exactly what you think or feel or see or hear. Precision also establishes an appropriate relationship between you and your readers and guides their responses. But in exposition precision is largely a matter of expressing your topic clearly.

That is more complicated than it sounds. It is not simply a question of deciding what you perceive or think or know or feel, and then of choosing appropriate words. The distinction between what goes on in our minds and how we put it into language is not that clear-cut. Words both limit and reveal reality. We do not so much "choose" words to fit our perceptions and ideas, as we see and think in terms of the words we know. To be more exact, the two knowing, seeing, feeling, on the one hand; and using words, on the one another. Acquiring new words in creases our capacity to understand ourselves and the world around us; and as our sensitivity to self and the world expands, we seek words that will express the subtler, more complicated persons we are becoming.

is the heart of writing. Sentences are important; paragraphing and clear organization are important. But words are fundamental. The essential virtue of words is that they be clear. At the same time it is desirable that they be simple, concise, and original. To a considerable degree these virtues overlap: words that are simple and concise will be clear. Yet there are occasions when these qualities of diction work at cross purposes. Sometimes, for example, the need to be exact will override the need to be simple or concise. But in general you should aim first at clarity, then strive for simplicity and concision.

In this and the next two chapters we'll consider how to use words well. First, we look chiefly at clarity and simplicity; next at concision; and finally at original, unusual diction which gives extraordinary power and perceptiveness to writing.

Here, then, are some things to keep in mind as you strug-gle—and struggle it is—to use words clearly and simply.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment