Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Killing That Which You Love

I love the English language. The way words can be manipulated and used to do whatever we want.

Both spoken and written. The way a pun or clever turn of phrase can turn a sentence utterly mundane into something amusing, hilarious even. True, some of it is down to cadence and timing, but it can make a huge amount of difference.

So why, exactly, do I butcher everything I write? Things that I manage to say quickly (sometimes with sufficient wit or glibness) fail to convey meaning when I get down to actually getting it down. Tautology is king in many pieces. Often I stumble over phrases that sounded great in my head, but written out look like verbal vomit. Phrases become strangled and overly complex or indecipherable. If a sentence is particularly long, I sometimes lose interest and stop it mid-way flow.

It's a mystery, and has created a fair few pickles.
I recommend The Economist's Style Guide (it's hilarious, as well as very informative).

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