Chapter Four

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After writing God-only-knows-how-many of these blogs this week, I am starting to do the exact opposite of this chapter's title.  I do not really have the mental capacity to organize my ideas very clearly tonight, so they will be long-winded and boring.

The section about activating the passive had already been known to me; Stephen King's book 'On Writing' speaks of this at great length (along with making the statement that the road to hell is paved with adverbs).  Most of the other statements that Kilian makes were already known to me, whether I practice them is another story.

The one thing that I had never heard of was the Anglo-Saxon vs. Greco-Latin words.  Of course, as a future author, I tend to stray in the direction of Latin words because they sound much nicer to the ear.  For example, I have always abhorred the usage of folks (A.S. word) because it sounds too hick-ish; people (G.L. word) is much better and more intelligent in sound.  Sorry I copied that one from the book, but it is near and dear to my heart.  I do, however, realize that some words might be egregiously long for the internet, and will aid in the loss of readers, so there is no sense in using them.  I do not know that it is the best idea to just dumb down you text, which I do feel is what happens, just because some readers might not understand them, but I am only a freshman who knows little about the English language or the internet.

So are you an Anglo-Saxon (boo) or a Greco-Latin?

A link to the course site, written in an entirely blaze fashion?  What is this world coming to?

4 Comments

Jessie Krehlik said:

Of course we have to "dumb down" text for our readers. I hate it...but I guess it's important to acknowledge that not all of our readers are always as smart as we'd like to hope they are. The sad part is, sometimes when we "dumb down" too much, we lose some of our more intellectual readers. Last year in newspaper, I never dumbed down our articles, because I figured that the people who actually bothered to read the paper were probably smart enough to either understand a few big words or figure them out from the surrounding context.

I guess it comes down to society yet again lowering expectations to fit the lazy portion of our population. What is the world coming to?

Andy Lonigro said:

I don't feel like you have to dumb-down your articles. If you think about it, what's the difference between "folks" and "people?" Maybe just a regional difference? I feel that a great writer should be able to explain, with words, very complex concepts in a clear, simple way for others to understand. Perhaps if a person can't communicate well with the public, he/she isn't a very good writer, or is very stubborn in the fact that he/she won't write any other way. A good write must be open to learning to write in different, more understandable ways. That's just what I think though.

Jed Fetterman said:

A good writer should make ideas clear, but there is a melodic aspect to the way words sound. That is the reason why I decided to become a creative writing major. I think that that is one of the problems with the internet; it is too easy to just give up. When I first read Faulkner, I did not understand much of the book, but I kept reading because there was no back button, and because it was interesting. I'd like to think that I can understand his works better now, but I know for a fact that I learned things that easier, more Stephen King/John Grisham books would not have given me. To make a long story short, hitting the back button may be easier and more entertaining, but I believe it also atrophies the intelligence of everyone. That being said, it is not my place in the world to increase the knowledge of those surfing the net.

Alex Hull said:

I don't feel that writing this way is dumbing down your writing. I think it just part of taking your readers into mind. What is the point of writing for an audience if your audience members cannot stand your writing? Go for what they will like and comprehend. Of course, every style of writing usually has an audience. So it's most likely that you can write the way you want, and someone will enjoy it.

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Alex Hull on Chapter Four: I don't feel that writing this
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