Monday, May 08, 2006

Style Summary 7

Lesson 7: Concision

Chapter 7 is relatively simple, as Williams offers five principles of concision:

1.) Delete meaningless words.
2.) Delete doubled words.
3.) Delete what readers can infer
4.) Replace a phrase with a single wor d when possible
5.) Change neatives to affirmations.

The prinicples of metadiscourse state that sentences can be pruned to enhance their meanings. Much of this depends on the writer's confidence, what direction the writer intends for the reader, and the structure of the text. we are warned, though, that too much obfuscates the meaning of the sentence. A brief, but important point that Williams raises in reference to metadiscource is that one should not announce that one has no sources for a declaration.

Excessive hedging is a major issue in writing. A balance between caution and confidence is necessary to avoid hedging. For example, one would use "suggest" and "indicate" rather than "prove" or "show." Intensifiers, rather than hedge-words are useful for delivering one's point in a persuasive style. However, Williams warns that an aggressive style is not necessarily persuasive, and can come off as abrasive and pushy.

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