Williams Understanding Style in Writing
Williams, J. M. (2009). Style: The basics of clarity and grace. 3rd Ed. New York: Pearson Longman.
Chapter 1: Understanding Style
• Clarity and Understanding
o "We bewilder readers when we can't organize complex ideas coherently (p. 1)."
o Writing clearly is a good idea. Anyone can write clearly.
o "Written deliberately or carelessly, it (academese) is a language of exclusion that a democracy cannot tolerate (p. 2)."
• The Irresistible Lure of Obscurity
o Question - Why do we write that way? See notes below.
• Some Private Causes of Unclear Writing
o "...some writers plump up their prose to impress those who think that complicated sentences indicate deep thinking (p. 4)."
o "Others write unclearly because they freeze up, especially when they are learning to think and write in a new academic setting (p. 4)."
o "Our own writing seems clearer to us than it does to our readers, because we read into it what we want to get out of it (p. 5)."
o "...when we also read about a confusing subject written in a complex style, we too easily assume that its complexity signifies deep thought, and so we try to imitate it, compounding our already-confused writing (p. 5)." Don't fall into that trap.
• On Writing and Rewriting