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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why People Can't Write

Steven Pinker writes about writing, have heard this point of his before.  Good thoughts.  Particularly important in technical topics.  Where communications have to be made to non technical management.

The Single Reason Why People Can't Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist
This common affliction is behind so much unclear and confusing writing in the world today.  By Glenn Leibowitz in Inc.

" ... These are questions Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker asks in his book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. They're questions I've often encountered --and attempted to tackle-- throughout my career as a business writer and editor. Whenever I see writing that is loaded with jargon, clichés, technical terms, and abbreviations, two questions come immediately to mind. First, what is the writer trying to say, exactly? And second, how can the writer convey her ideas more clearly, without having to lean on language that confuses the reader?

For Pinker, the root cause of so much bad writing is what he calls "the Curse of Knowledge", which he defines as "a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose."   ...  " 

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