My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I needed this book. Everybody needs this book – even if English is not your language of choice. In an age when degenerated vernacular makes its way into electronic mail, and worse… papers, reports, news stories…when the idiotic term “fake news” is slung with chopped sentence fragments of Twit-verse…the need to write well has never been more … needed.
This was listed as a reference in a class on writing I had last month and as I had it on my “someday” list, I bumped it up to “now”. Evans has an impressive pedigree and writes with authority and knowledge. He also writes for a reader, no stretch given his editorial positions. In three parts, he breaks down the mechanics of writing well, focuses the reader on making words count and focusing on meanings, and explores the consequences of bad writing. And on the mechanics, I had difficulty not succumbing to monologophobia when writing that last sentence. Coined apparently by Theodore Bernstein, a monologophobe is “a guy who would rather walk naked in front of Saks Fifth Avenue than be caught using the same word twice in three lines.” (“God said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was solar illumination.”) Evans might have convinced me that there is nothing wrong with repeating the correct word.
Full of tools, great stories, even better examples of actual editing for content and communication, I’ll be returning to this (particularly as I has to write a research paper for a course administrator who seemingly thinks just like Evans…)
Evans gets a sixth, invisible star for skewering the tragedy of what writing and communication has become since the … come on, you can do it… tragedy… of 2016.