What this blog is for and about

I also offer personally-tailored, individualized English conversation practice (including etiquette) and coaching in writing techniques. Finally, I edit texts such as magazines, business proposals, memorandums, emails so they are presented in English which does not embarrass you or your organization. For further details, please mail me at: language.etiquette@gmail.com

Remember: all pictures can be expanded to full page size by clicking on them.


01 February 2013

Advice-points on written English #1 (repeated): Clarity

I can see I am going to have to go on saying this. I first made the point on 4 April (see post), but it cannot be stressed enough. The first rule of good writing is clarity. In the light of that, I was distressed to see the headline above.
     Having read it, are you confident that you know what it is that Chuck Hagel actually supports?
  • Does he support cuts in knives, daggers and other sharp weapons in the sense of wanting to reduce their numbers?
  • Does he support sharp cuts in weapons generally, from knives to bombs?
  • Does he support cuts with sharp weapons, as opposed to blunt ones which can make such a mess in delicate surgery?
 What, in God’s name, does Mr Hagel actually support?
       This headline, in today’s Moscow Times, is so loosely worded that you have to read the paragraph beneath it to find out what it is actually trying to say, which turns out to be none of the above! (see below).
     I suggest it would have been better written like this: “Hagel Supports Deep Nuclear Cuts”. It is not that difficult to be clear.

No comments:

Post a Comment