I feel like I'm back in high school

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Kilian 4

Did anyone else, after reading this chapter, feel like they read a high school/basic composition grammar review? Most of this stuff is just re-hashing, but here are my thoughts nonetheless.

Activating the Passive "this puts attention on the action, not the actors" 59

We have yet another parallel with newswriting: leave yourself out of the content. People are obviously reading your page to get some kind of information out of it. Unless the site is a personal opinion blog, chances are people are not reading to find out what you think on a subject (this excludes our academic blogs as well, since they are opinions). The book is talking about websites for organizations and groups. I believe a fundamental principle of communications applies here: manipulation. On page 59, active sentences are converted into the passive, removing the opinion aspect and making the statements seem more factual. Now, your audience will be more inclined to read if they are reading non-partisan content. They are now more free to form theire own opinions.

"a cliche is a phrase or expression that was once so new and surprising that everyone repeated it"-62

Like the smiley, phrases and jargon can be so over-used that people stop listening. I completely get turned off political speeches when the candidates begin using jargon and buzzwords. They are probably trying to sound smart (and I'm not saying that they aren't), but people listen to speeches to get content. The message is what counts the most. Half the time I can't understand what political analyists are talking about-I hear the word "economy" and then a bunch of cliche words familiar mostly to those involved in the field. Remember, you are speaking to an audience: you must adapt your style to ge the message across.

I don't think cliches make people sounds smart: I think they make people sound lazy.

Please, please don't use "proactive, synergy, paradigm shift, or green"-they're all so ambiguous. Be specific and to the point.

*now I'm starting to see how communications fits into this major*

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Jackie Johns said:

You make an interesting point in your comments about active and passive sentences. I never really thought to move beyond the grammar to the implications of the two sentence structures; as such, I never considered a passive sentence structure a way for people to form their own opinions. But it's true, since the absence of a strong subject would leave them more open to interpret the meaning of the sentence. However, I think there is a fine line with passive sentences that we as writers must be careful not to cross; we should use them when necessary, but avoid overkill. Too many might confuse readers and make things too ambiguous.

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