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Begging for your indulgence and patience

  1. May 9, 2013 #1
    Yes;

    As it is! I have been put on notice to improve my technical writing process, and in general to dispense with making a farce of myself. I could have used a different adjective, yet, as there might be children reviewing this forum, I decided 'farce' was apropos. Anyway, I need to enlist the aid of some few brave men and women to brave the limits of rationality, in the hopes I may better my skills at communicating my thoughts with technical accuracy, and prowess. These individuals must possess the skills of patiently explaining just what the SNAFU is all about. Because, you see, while I can proof out common errors, and misconception; the problem seems to be centered around the communication itself; viz, not necessarily errors in content, but the specific errors of the ability of readers to 'parse' communication, without smacking their brows and growing impatient. You see, the major difficulty lies in that I understand what I write quite well. So well, I do not understand why others are not just 'getting' me. The obvious ones; such as cutting down on fanciful, farcical, or overly colorful language; which is not much needed, or even relevant to the topic on hand; can be vastly reduced. Yet, as I'm beginning to realize, the issue goes far beyond just that.

    So if anyone, by so reading this, feels inspired to work with me on this, please do so at your pleasure.

    So with that, by which I lay my mea culpa on, I bid thee all, a good, yesterdays, tomorrow. In the present moment.

    Jeffrey
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2013 #2

    dx

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    Hey! :)

    Are you sure there are no errors in content? I saw this posted by you recently which made no sense to me:

     
  4. May 9, 2013 #3

    phinds

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    Even as you state your recognition that it would be good to cut down on the fanciful language, your whole post is filled with unnatural-sounding phrasing.

    Also, you seem to want to use more words than are necessary and in doing so you fail to pay attention to what you are actually saying. Take the sentence above, for example. If you boil it down grammatically, what you have said is

    cutting down on ... can be vastly reduced.

    That is, you have said that the cutting down can be reduced when I'm sure what you mean was that the fancifulness can be reduced (or that the cutting down can be increased).

    Try for simple sentences.
     
  5. May 9, 2013 #4

    BobG

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    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  6. May 9, 2013 #5

    lisab

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    Simplify.
     
  7. May 9, 2013 #6

    dx

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    Although probably not appropriate for serious discussions, I like the way you talk :) Reminds me of a character on a show I used to watch when I was 10

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  8. May 9, 2013 #7

    WannabeNewton

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    Yey Boy Meets world!
     
  9. May 9, 2013 #8
    Haha this thread is hilarious! By reading your post I can see that you actually have a powerful grip on the English language. You might be interested in these dialogues spoken in your style but with the repeated use of the letter V(they are taken from a weird movie called V for vendetta)-

    V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
    [carves V into wall]
    V: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
    [giggles]
    V: Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
    Evey Hammond: Are you like a crazy person?
    V: I'm quite sure they will say so.
     
  10. May 9, 2013 #9

    WannabeNewton

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    One thing I've noticed with your writing is that you focus too much on vocabulary while compromising basic grammar. For example, you repeatedly misuse the semicolon. The semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses but in your paragraph you use it to separate dependent clauses over and over. There are also places where you should be using a colon instead of a semicolon. Also keep in mind that a comma separates a dependent and independent clause, not two independent ones.
     
  11. May 9, 2013 #10

    collinsmark

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    I've been accused of the same thing myself from time to time. So keep that in mind with my post.

    Here is my general advice (this is general advice that I would give to anybody; it's not targeting your writing style in particular):
    Keep the writing as succinct, concise and as easy to read as possible.
    You may think of this as the golden rule of writing.* This applies not only to technical writing but any kind of writing.

    In other words, your goal in writing is to successfully communicate your thoughts in as short of space as possible.

    Of course, this means being grammatically correct if you have the luxury. Don't use text-speak if you are not constrained by character limits. Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar make the writing easier to read.

    Stay on point. Straying off the subject in the middle of a paragraph only serves to distract the reader. It's best in these situations just to remove the tangents. If they don't support the main point get rid of them.

    Avoid adverbs if you can pick a better verb. For example, instead of writing "the mice quickly and noisily ran across the floor," say instead, "the mice scampered across the floor." The same applies to adjectives and nouns (and adverbs modifying adjectives). Treat adjectives and adverbs as necessary evils that should only be used as a last recourse. Try to use as few words as possible and still communicate the ideas.

    Choose the simplest words possible that communicate your thoughts. Do not use big words just because they are big words. You will not successfully communicate your thoughts if your readers scramble for a dictionary every paragraph. Choosing unnecessarily "big" words is a form of bureaucratese, and should be avoided at all costs. If a big word substitutes for many small words (or even sentences) consider using it. But if a common word can substitute for the big word with no loss of information, use the common word.

    *(Edit: Besides the other golden rule of writing: "keep your readers in mind.")

    ------

    Once when explaining these ideas to a friend, my friend asked, "What about poetry? These guidelines don't apply to poetry do they?" Yes, they apply to poetry! They especially apply to poetry. Poetry is the epitome of these ideas. A great poem will communicate a novel's worth of information in just a handful of stanzas. That's what makes the poem great. I don't care how well a particular poem sounds or rhymes, if it doesn't convey a lot of information in a little space, it's merely crap and fluff.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  12. May 9, 2013 #11

    BobG

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    Please keep in mind that, while many nations share English as a dividing language, no nations practice English identically. His semicolon use is perfectly acceptable for natives of San Seriffe.

    85.jpg

    In the US, the only proper use of the semicolon occurred in a newspaper headline for an article about a truck full of pig entrails spilling across all of the northbound lanes of a busy interstate.

    COLONS FALL OFF OF SEMI
     
  13. May 9, 2013 #12

    ZombieFeynman

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    You use more words than you need.
     
  14. May 9, 2013 #13

    Bandersnatch

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    Personally, I've found your writing style to be problematic only when tackling technical subjects.
    You often seem to use synonyms or embellishments where words need to stay exactly as they are, due to their specific meaning in the scientific context.
    Poetic language is not appropriate for expressing mathematics(although the opposite is true), since you want the recipients to know exactly what you're trying to convey, rather than to give them wide berth for interpreteation of the meaning.
    I don't have any problems parsing your framing, or introductory, or casual sentences. I rather like reading them, actually. But when talking science, I'd advise dropping all that gilding and talk as if you were programming a computer*. The reader needs to know that now you're being precise and every word means exactly what it says on the tin. This is A, this is B, this is a function relating A to B, the function is linear, etc. Adding any unnecessary word is as useless as painting the Mona Lisa around an equation. Looks nice but you can't see the important stuff.
    If in doubt just use actual equations. Learning to LaTeX should help here.

    *unless you're programming in Shakespeare.
     
  15. May 9, 2013 #14

    AlephZero

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    So far, 0 out of 2 clauses have any obvious meaning, to a native british engilsh speaker. I didn't bother to read any further.
     
  16. May 9, 2013 #15

    berkeman

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    TBH, I only made it about 1/4 of the way through your first paragraph. Then managed to skim to about 1/2 way before giving up. So my first piece of advice would be to learn to use paragraphs to make your writing more coherent. That means that each paragraph has a purpose, the purposes work together to make your point, and there is a blank line between each paragraph.
     
  17. May 9, 2013 #16

    Evo

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    By any chance have you been diagnosed with asperger's? Your writing appears pedantic.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pedant

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pedantic

    http://www.reference.com/motif/education/pedantic-speech [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  18. May 9, 2013 #17

    Borek

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    English is my second language, what you wrote classifies as a third.
     
  19. May 9, 2013 #18

    BobG

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    There's a lot there to fix in a short paragraph, so I'll offer a helpful hint.

    Try diagramming your sentences.

    A well constructed sentence is a thing of beauty when diagrammed.

    Such as:

    original.jpg

    This is truly a thing of beauty. You want to turn it sideways and hang it from the ceiling, creating an elegant mobile that rotates slowly in the breeze.

    Or:
    1_123125_122953_2180638_2201304_081001_gw_sentencediagram.gif

    Okay, there's some problems here, such as that extra stuff that had to be left floating in space. She really should have added a "now" after "go" and sung it so people would realize it wasn't actually part of the sentence. Except without the "Where, where do we go, now?", nothing after "important" makes any sense. Really, the entire sentence has to be broken into stanzas and sung to the accompaniment of heavy metal music for the listener to get anything out of this sentence.

    You want sentences similar to the first example. You want to avoid sentences similar to the latter.

    As it is, over half of your sentences are diagrammable, so you're over halfway there!
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  20. May 9, 2013 #19
    Evo, no actually I'm Bi-Polar, thank you for your concern.

    AlephZero. To be sure! "Yes;", was the salutatory. As it is! Was an exclamation. I'm happy I did not bore you with the rest!

    On the whole, and in the main; I thank you all for your considerate responses. And while I was inspired to moments of verbosity, several times, I am happy to report I restrained myself. I will take all your feedback, crushing to my ego, or not, to heart and try to make my language usage conform to acceptable standards. Hopefully I may inspire AlephZero into moments of hilarity, yet, if not, I will not bother to fash myself with disappointment.

    Once again, thanks.

    Jeffrey
     
  21. May 9, 2013 #20
    Borak;

    So, I've given you another language, have I? ;)

    I'm gratified!

    Jeffrey
     
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