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Category: Communication / Topics: Communication Language, Meaning Writing


by Dan Seagren

Posted: April 17, 2021

Achieving clear communication is not as easy as it seems…

Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses. ok.
Enough is enough. Maybe.

Personally, as an author of some 25 published books, the first half was easier than the second half because the Publisher did most of the work from editing, printing and selling. Not so today as it sure helps if you are a celebrity, with an audience and something to say!

After retiring I had a web page for over twenty years with thousands of columns of 400-600 words each which I did gratuitously partly to keep out of mischief.  Now, looking back I realize life isn't that simple after all, although it takes a bit of effort to do things well, on time, with purpose, honesty and grace, and acceptable—not for fame or fortune. Then there are those who say keep it simple, stupid. Why not try?

First let's define simplicity: the state of being, simple, uncomplicated, free from pretense or guile. Not too bad as long as it is simple but not lacking l in knowledge or expertise. Simplicity is often easier to read and understand what you have read, whether by ether a child or grown up. On the other hand, simplicity can also overlook details, accuracy and content, so beware of those who try to impress rather than making something understandable.

Then there are those who try to impress with thought, word or deed which can backfire for some and impress others. Finding the better or best expression is usually worth the effort. Then there is the necessity at times to deliberately avoid simplicity for expressions that demand precise usage lest misunderstanding occur. This can and does occur in scientific studies where simplifying only makes things worse. There are reasons for the use of both simplification and clarification as well as elimination.

Being overly content with simplifying everything may not be as debilitating as being overly content with unexplained difficult words so care should be given to both. To go over and over to understand  and remember is not only time consuming but may never be worthwhile if simplicity is ignored although perseverance can come to the rescue.

However if complexity is essential for fame and fortune, that is another matter. Both are essential and must work together  which is not always accomplished for best results.

Like diss: Personallly, as an author? of some (10) published bookss, da first= half was {easier} than the second half -cuz the PUBlissher diid most of the wurkk.

See what I mean? 

Editor's Note: I did modify some of Dan's punctuation and corrected a typo or two. That is the role of an editor, but I did not touch that final example, which is almost as bad as the email and text messages many of us send to each other today!

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Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: April 17, 2021

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