September 23, 2017

Quotes on avoiding jargon

What writers and others say

Quotes on avoiding jargon

Start making sense “Dump the technospeak. Nobody understands it.” — Joyce Bustinduy, global publisher, Levi Strauss & Company

“If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well.”
— Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics

“When people don’t understand the material, they tend to go more with the original, often too-technical and undigested information from a primary source. A writer who really understands the information can translate it accurately into lay language.”
— Neita F. Geilker, Ph.D., aka The Grammar Guru

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
— Irish editor

“While intelligent people can often simplify the complex, a fool is more likely to complicate the simple.”
— Henry David Thoreau, American author and philosopher

“From time to time, I am cruelly slandered by members of the public relations industry, who accuse me of writing unfairly about their profession. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love PR professionals. They’re a hoot, because they are such pathetic, desperate dillweeds. I am right now looking at something called Your Market Wire Newsletter, a package of financial ‘news’ that arrives, unbidden, in journalists’ inboxes every week. It is filled with incomprehensibly written press releases on subjects of even less interest than can be found in a non-interest-bearing fiduciary debenture with negative yield. That’s exactly how these releases read, only they are less scintillating and more crammed with jargon. One word never suffices when 16 can do the job; big, important-sounding words are better than small, clear ones. Plans are ‘initiatives.’ They are not begun; they are ‘implemented.’ These releases could sedate an enraged rhinoceros.”
— Gene Weingarten, columnist for The Washington Post

“As a novice in a field reads its professional prose, he will predictably try to imitate those features of style that seem most prominently to bespeak membership, professional authority. … Simultaneously, if a writer new to a field does not entirely control his ideas, his own prose will often slip into a style characterized by those same clumps of abstraction.”
— Joseph M. Williams, author, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace

“‘We don’t call them tattoos any more,’ said Richard Teerlink, chairman of Harley-Davidson, as the screen behind him showed a bicep emblazoned with what he called a ‘dermatological graphic’ of the Milwaukee motorcycle maker’s familiar symbol.”
The Wisconsin State Journal
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