Writing and rhetoric

Language By Law

Does the United States need laws to enforce clear writing? Apparently so, because on October 13, 2010, President Barak Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which seeks “to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies … by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.” The Plain Writing Act […]

Winston’s Rules

General Dwight D. Eisenhower once asked Winston Churchill to review a draft of one of Eisenhower’s speeches. Churchill’s critique? “Too many passives and too many zeds.” When asked to explain, Churchill replied, “Too many Latinate polysyllabics like ‘systematize,’ ‘prioritize,’ and ‘finalize.’” Then, to emphasize the power of simple, straightforward verbs, Churchill lambasted the General’s use […]