Thursday, March 27, 2008

Verbing

I had a rare chance to listen to the broadcast version of Michael Krasny's "Forum" program no KQED radio today as I drove down to Silicon Valley for an interview. On it, he hosted author and journalist Marilee Strong of Oakland, who has written a book "Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives."
Really interesting interview that you can hear here. Really annoying use of the verb "disappeared."
As in: "When he disappeared his wife." I have never heard this construction in my life, and it sounds wretched. But the dictionary allows disappear to be a transitive verb, meaning it can take an object.

v. tr.
To cause (someone) to disappear, especially by kidnapping or murder.

(From Dictionary.com)


I don't know. It still makes me feel creepy saying it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On writing

I could be wrong about this, but I doubt it. (I once gave my dad a Father's Day card that had that sentiment). Email and IM and the immediacy they introduce into our lives are enabling people to write lousy sentences.
It's not just that email and IM are fast, throw-away forms of communication. They encourage fragmented thoughts (splash something out, hit send, move on to the next message or task).
In this world, prepositions grow like kudzu. They lengthen sentences, bore the reader and obscure meaning.
Write actively, not passively. Show your writing who's boss.

I came across this construction this week:
One of the key learning’s I want to start off by highlighting is never pretend to be something you’re not online.
That's what we get paid the big bucks for.

Sentences should be constructed in such a way that the reader is almost forced to stick with it from beginning to end--the way you roll down a grassy hill. For the reader, it should be effortless.

 

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