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Clutter…and simplicity. What is clutter?. Clutter is a disease that strangles language in unnecessary words, roundabout constructions, pompous decoration and meaningless jargon It infects us with a tendency to inflate and sound important

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Clutter…and simplicity


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Presentation Transcript
what is clutter
What is clutter?
  • Clutter is a disease that strangles language in unnecessary words, roundabout constructions, pompous decoration and meaningless jargon
  • It infects us with a tendency to inflate and sound important
  • The disease is usually worse in better educated, higher-ranking people
what the airline pilot said
What the airline pilot said
  • “We are presently anticipating our trajectory passing through considerable atmospheric turbulence.”

What he meant

  • “There’s a storm ahead and it may get bumpy.”
what the university president said
What the university president said
  • “We have been experiencing very considerable potentially explosive expressions of dissatisfaction on issues only partially related to academics”

What he meant

  • “The students have been hassling us about various things.”
strip every sentence to its cleanest components
Strip every sentence to its cleanest components
  • Cut every word that serves no function
    • Needless to say, it is necessary for us to reduce the deficit = …?
  • Turn long words into short words
    • Interminable dialogue = …?
  • Cut adverbs that carry the same meaning as the verb
    • He ran quickly to the bank = …?
  • Turn passive sentences into active sentences
    • The trees were being fallen from by leaves = …?
slide6

Work together

to market your crops

fighting clutter
Fighting clutter
  • Like fighting weeds– the writer is always slightly behind
  • New varieties sprout overnight
  • “Now” used to be now
  • Today, now = at this point in timeat the present time currently
more clutter
More clutter
  • Up
    • Head up a committee = Head a committee
    • Face up to problems = Face problems
  • Personal
    • My personal friend = My friend
    • My personal assistant = My assistant
    • To my personal advantage = To my advantage
spot the unneeded words
Spot the unneeded words
  • Lessons learned = Lessons
  • Future plans = Plans
  • Background information= Background (or leave it out)
  • Very unique= Unique
  • First introduced= Introduced
  • New innovation= Innovation
  • Early beginnings = Start
words to watch
Words to watch
  • Context
    • In the Vietnamese context= In Vietnam
  • Level
    • At the farm level = On the farm
  • Case
    • In the case of sorghum, = Sorghum yields yields rose by 10%rose by 10%
words to watch1
Words to watch
  • Respectively
    • Yields of rice and maize rose by 3% and 12% respectively
    • Rice yields rose 3%; maize yields went up 12%.
  • Work
    • The NGO has worked to support
    • The NGO has supported
    • The organization worked to promote the sharing of lessons…
    • The organization shared lessons…
yet more clutter
Yet more clutter
  • Experiencing
    • Weather broadcast:“At the present time we are experiencing precipitation” = It’s raining
    • Dentist: “Are you experiencingany pain?” = “Does it hurt?”
things to avoid
Things to avoid
  • Avoid sentences that begin with…
    • I might add…
    • It should be pointed out that…
    • It is interesting to note that…
  • Avoid inflated prepositions and conjunctions

Examples

    • With the possible exception of…Except
    • For the reason that…Because
    • He totally lacked the ability to…He couldn’t
    • She was unable to give any information beyond the fact that…She said
things to avoid1
Things to avoid
  • More inflation
    • With the aim of adapting…To adapt
    • The objective of the project was to…The project aimed to
get rid of the unnecessary words
Get rid of the unnecessary words
  • To acknowledge these initiatives, to learn from them and to prevent double work, the network has been active in supporting the documentation of a number of these.
  • To acknowledge these initiatives, to learn from them and to prevent double work, the network has been active in supporting the documentationof a number of these.
  • The network has documented some of these initiatives.
checklist for avoiding clutter
Checklist for avoiding clutter
  • Re-examine every sentence you write
  • Is every word doing useful work?
  • Can any thought be expressed more briefly?
  • Does anything sound pompous or pretentious?
  • Are you keeping any word only because you think it’s beautiful?
  • Tool for cutting clutter
    • Roget’s Thesaurus or any other good dictionary of synonyms.
three rules for cutting clutter
Three rules for cutting clutter
  • SIMPLIFY
  • SIMPLIFY
  • SIMPLIFY