Avoid Using Big Words Unless You Want to Look
asinine, imbecilic, insensate, deficient, idiotic, ludicrous, moronic, stupefied, puerile, Stupid
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on September 17, 2012
Therefore, what has been proposed above as a means of redirecting the development of postmodernity toward more livable, human dimensions is a heterotelic narrative transitivity—an active reimmersion of narrative in the social—which contrasts sharply with the autotelic concern for their own procedures and the hermetic intransitivity of modernist self-consciousness and late modernist self-reflexivity.
—Joseph Francese, Narrating Postmodern Time and Space
I normally like to teach business writing by positive example. I read a great sentence, a carefully crafted argument, a metaphor that grabs me by the necktie and pulls me in, and I hold it up like a bird in a well-built nest and praise it to the sky.
Today’s sentence by Joseph Francese, author of Narrating Postmodern Time and Space flies in the face of positivity. In fact, it flies in the face of good writing in general: nothing concrete, no sunrises, no tastes of octopus or nettles, no stench of rotten egg or gasoline, no sigh of wind in aspens or sense of how the hair on your arms quivers and flexes in a storm.
Business Writing Doesn’t Need 18 Abstract, Headbanger Terms that Defy Understanding
If the job of business writing is to clarify, Francese has tried to make himself look smart by making you feel stupid.
Go back two paragraphs to “Today’s sentence by Joseph Francese.” Now count the number of words you can see, taste, hear, feel, or see. There are 19, if you allow me to count “flies” and “face” twice.
Which sentence would you rather read?
If you know what Francese is trying to say, please act as our translator.
Send in your best guess for what he’s trying to say, and I’ll send you a Word Czar Hat.
Don’t know what a Word Czar Hat looks like? Well, for starters, it doesn’t look like the dunce cap that Francese ought to be wearing for business writing like this.