Best Thoughts

I know I'm guilty of using too many "waffling" words as Seth Godin's eludes to this recent post. But what I found most interesting was his last observation.

"Saying it doesn't make it so. In fact, it probably makes it unso."

1 comment:

Scott Nicholson said...

This is one of my big pet peeves when I grade my students' writing. I'm a professor in a library program, and talk about this from the first time I present concepts of scholarly writing.

I call them "weasel words" as they are a way to say something that you aren't sure about. It gets tiring to read sentence after sentence like "It seems that librarians may probably be heading toward an unknown future".

Other "weasel words" are starting sentences with phrases like "I think that" and "It seems that".

To fix these, here's what I tell students to do:

1. Remove those soft words.
2. Reread the sentence. Are you comfortable making that claim based upon the evidence presented?
3. If not, then find more evidence.
4. If you can't find enough evidence, then drop the claim.

Gee, can you tell I've been talking about this for a while?

Scott Nicholson
Syracuse University School of Information Studies