Daily Archives: September 19, 2017

* Do I Make Myself Clear? by Harold Evans

Written by a former editor of The TimesDo I Make Myself Clear?: Why Writing Well Matters is an uneasy mix of memoir and writing prescription, and my thoughts as I was reading it were: Why do books about writing have to be so prissy and boring? And, in this case, so cluttered? We get many pages listing cliches to avoid and bloated words with alternatives. All very useful but it does not add to the readability of the book.

The author seems to delight in showing us samples of bureaucratic and legal writing, which are indeed absolutely awful — but does he really believe that bureaucrats and lawyers want to be understood? I’m thinking it may not be pure incompetence, but perhaps a penchant for obfuscation.

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