Words Matter: Simplicity

Dave Friedman tackles the way lawyers, professors and management consultants use language to distinguish themselves from mere mortals and in the process end up producing some really crappy writing:

Many, but not all, lawyers and professors are obviously interested in casting themselves as living on a higher, more exalted intellectual plane than we plebians, and, therefore, in an attempt at what Althouse calls “careerism” write intentionally obsfuscatory prose. After all, if only a small, hyper-educated elite can read what you have to say, then it must be the literary equivalent of the nectar of the Gods.

The irony is that instead of impressing their customers, they confuse them. Good writing consists of choosing the most appropriate words and using the smallest number of them that will do the job.

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