analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

22 April 2001 Sunday





One doesn't know what bad writing is until one's seen good writing. I don't profess to write well, but it is painful to read bad writing.

What's bad writing? When it is tiresome to read. Indigestible. Incomprehensible. My thesis was a sleeping pill - guaranteed to put you to sleep, as my friend said. I had tried so hard to write it in plain English. Yet years later, I, too, find it difficult to read.

How often have we been intimidated by the verbosity of the text - and fail to question what the author is trying to say? How often do we numb ourselves in passive tense and long sentences? The long and winding road to nowhere. When we eventually get there, we're lost.

Spelling mistakes, typing errors, and other grammatical inconsistencies aside, bad writing plagues the good. We are crippled by how we think we ought to write. Why can't we write the way we talk? No - oh- no. That's too informal. We think writing for publishing requires some kind of formality. So we handcuff ourselves to a communication medium that makes it more complicated than necessary.