Bad Writing

I’m no Hemingway but I know bad writing when I see it. My 11-year-old brother brought his English course syllabus home and after reading it I’m confident his writing skills will not improve this year. Example:

Each unit addresses an over-arching theme designed to serve as a lens through which students explore the human experience across time and distance in their own writing and published exposition, narration, poetry, and drama.

Ahh, the language of a self-important writer. All that mess says is “Each unit allows students to practice writing.”

…students learn the dynamic relationships among literature and language as they study the significant role language plays in literature and in the craft of expressing oneself through the written and spoken word.

“Students learn about the relationship between literature and language and how it can improve both their writing and speaking.”

He goes to a public school so I guess we’re lucky he can even read.

Here’s a new Starbucks in-store promotion:

The morning begins and is already complete. A wholesome, nourishing breakfast inspires a whole you. Start with coffee. Full-bodied and spicy Starbucks Anniversary Blend. Hot oatmeal completes the meal with whole grains and protein. Whole fuel to make it through the whole morning.

But is it whole?

I don’t even understand the first sentence.

The worst piece of writing I have ever seen comes from the internet and was authored by Steve Gillmor from TechCrunch.

We handle nourishment requests from our loved ones by sharing, which is another way of saying dividing the materials to just above the point where each portion proves insufficient. Children come first since quieting their cries reduces the possibility of alerting outsiders while requiring relatively small amounts compared to peers. Then the spouse or friend is satisfied, setting up a social interaction around the breaking of bread. “Let’s grab a bite and talk about the deal.”

:crazy:

Both Starbucks and Steve use the root word “nourish.” Coincidence?

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Jason
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Jason
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Ever read Empire by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt? I’ve never read more masturbatory pedantic writing.

SeaFighter HSV
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SeaFighter HSV
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“I’m no Hemingway”

You’re barely more literate than VK.

Zosimus the Heathen
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Zosimus the Heathen
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While I’ve seldom been accused of bad writing, I did go through an unfortunate period some years back when I thought I was creating works of literary genius simply by cramming every sentence I wrote with as many adjectives and adverbs as I could. Still, I’m not too hard on myself about that given my biggest influence at the time was H.P. Lovecraft; rereading a collection of his short stories last year, I could see only too well how his material had corrupted me. Talk about purple prose! (Actually, a lot of his stuff’s pretty good – he creates some wonderfully evocative scenes of horror and general weirdness; he plays with words in an interesting and unique way; and his material certainly increases your vocabulary! It’s just that he went overboard with things a lot of the time. He also seemed to have a curious aversion to using full stops; I lost count of the number of times I had to restrain myself from throwing the book across the room when I came across yet another fucking sentence in it that went for half a fucking page!)

Alex Weir
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Alex Weir
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eldtritch.

Meeze
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Meeze
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I think the most surprising part of this whole post is the revelation that you read TechCrunch.

finefantastic
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university is a great champion of bad writing, particularly
art theory class. mutability-this, reflexive-that. it is just preparing you for the bullshit workplace. this is a handy tool to have for work:

http://members.aol.com/matt999h/bullshit.htm

finefantastic’s last blog post: Wet T-Shirt Contests in Hell.

Namtab
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Namtab
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Dude – that’s an ELEVEN YEAR OLD’S syllabus?

LanierHts
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LanierHts
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I miss Kathrynon.

anon
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anon
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only a techie could coin the term “Nourishment requests.”

I once went to a ‘diverse’ public highschool in L.A. for a day, to help out a teacher I knew there. Instead of ‘recess,’ it was ‘nutrition.’ And the intercom would blare “5 minutes” “1 minute” “30 seconds” ’til class starts.

finefantastic
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anon:
And the intercom would blare “5 minutes” “1 minute” “30 seconds” ’til class starts.

hahahaha. my high school would berate us into submission and depression by blaring seal’s “kiss from a rose” over the intercom every monday morning

finefantastic’s last blog post: Back to Cool..

Nina
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Nina
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art theory class?
did you ever thought about philosophy class?
it’s a lot of shit!
But it could be good if you get lucky.

Sunny
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Sunny
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Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully – in Ten Minutes, by Stephen King

http://www.greatwriting.co.uk/content/view/312/74/

I can’t believe that this guide for adults is simpler than your little brother’s syllabus.

Dirk Diggler
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Dirk Diggler
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I can. It wasn’t written with the purpose of impressing other Educrats.

roissy
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roissy
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related:

http://xkcd.com/451/

roissy’s last blog post: Who Is Smarter?.

Lisa
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Lisa
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Creative writing is simple: Whatever topic you are given, think about what it reminds you of, and write about that instead.

Mig
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Mig
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This is all too similar to Pitchfork Media. Pompous writing at its finest.

TC the Terrible
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TC the Terrible
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“He goes to a public school so I guess we’re lucky he can even read.”

Classic. Sad. True.

matilda
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matilda
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>I hope that all of you that make this hateful and reckless comments about Heath burn blissfully in hell. It’s so classy of you to take the plunge on him now that he can’t fight back… Really brave!
>Yeah… Awesome…. Just fucking burn in hell. All of you, motherfuckers!
>

dignan
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dignan
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Plus, the longwinded syllabus writer hyphenated “overarching” when he/she shouldn’t have. Maybe this writer should focus more on learning the technical basics instead of expressing a concept in as many words as possible.

Five Cents
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Five Cents
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The mention of ‘whole’ over and over is an old rhetorical trick called Anaphora (google it). Shakespeare also used it in his plays.

hotdoguero
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hotdoguero
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skim through the Internal Revenue Code for some wonderful bedtime and coffee shop reading. That kind of text, legal writing, is the pinnacle of bad wordcraft.

Alex Weir
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Alex Weir
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eh, ill take effusive over curt if im having a read. as long as it makes sense of course.

Dirk Diggler
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Dirk Diggler
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The only thing missing from your brother’s syllabus were EduSpeak buzzwords like “rubric” or “outcome based evaluation.”