Simplicity zinsser essay

In his book " The Secret Life of Pronouns" (Bloomsbury Press ) Professor James W. Pennebaker describes how the more people changed from using first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) to using other pronouns (we, you, he, they) in their writing, the better their health became. Their use of words reflected their psychological state. He also found that people who had a traumatic experience and kept the experience a secret had more health problems than people who talked openly. It was found that people who were asked to write about their secrets had improved health. Also, using words associated with positive emotions is also beneficial to health.

Function words such as pronouns and articles require social skills to use properly and this is backed up by brain research. Men were found to typically use articles ("a" and "the") more than women. Ignoring gender, people who use "a" and "the" a lot tend to be more organised, emotionally stable, conscientious, politically conservative and older.

I must say though, the conclusions drawn from the study and by many of the commenters are rather irksome. If someone is highly and unequivocally intelligent, I highly doubt the use of sophisticated language will make them appear dumb. Others may feel dumb in their presence, but that is another matter entirely. People like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Stephen Fry use sophisticated language and they are clearly intelligent people. I remember first reading Joseph Heller’s amazing classic ‘Catch 22’ and having to use a dictionary every third sentence. It didn’t detract from the obvious conclusion that the man was a genius.

In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) Henry Watson Fowler says, "It is the second-rate writers, those intent rather on expressing themselves prettily than on conveying their meaning clearly, & still more those whose notions of style are based on a few misleading rules of thumb, that are chiefly open to the allurements of elegant variation ," Fowler's term for the over-use of synonyms . [15] Contrary to Fowler's criticism of several words being used to name the same thing in English prose , in some other languages, including French , it might be thought to be a good writing style. [16] [17]

I’m reminded of a letter Raymond Chandler wrote to a woman asking him to help her son become a successful writer. He wrote back, “Dear Mrs. Hogan, My experience with trying to help people to write has been limited but extremely intensive. I have done everything from giving would-be writers money to live on to plotting and re-writing their stories for them, and so far I have found it all to be a waste. The people whom God or nature intended to be writers find their own answers, and those who have to ask are impossible to help. They are merely people who want to be writers.”

Simplicity zinsser essay

simplicity zinsser essay

I’m reminded of a letter Raymond Chandler wrote to a woman asking him to help her son become a successful writer. He wrote back, “Dear Mrs. Hogan, My experience with trying to help people to write has been limited but extremely intensive. I have done everything from giving would-be writers money to live on to plotting and re-writing their stories for them, and so far I have found it all to be a waste. The people whom God or nature intended to be writers find their own answers, and those who have to ask are impossible to help. They are merely people who want to be writers.”

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