Thanks to reader Nick Corcodilos for sharing a link to an especially mind-numbing bit of English prose. I won’t publish the link he sent me, but I will give you an excerpt:
Leveraging the unique capabilities of Case Based Reasoning (CBR) to research, [this company] has created a comprehensive mirror pathway for personalized medicine incorporating the standardized processes required to infuse into pharmaceutical research, development and lifecycle pathway.
I looked for other examples of this kind of writing and, alas, found plenty:
Strategic management research on the development of new capabilities has largely overlooked the process whereby initial capabilities are transformed by the firm to create new capabilities.
Whether the reader is new to diversity work or wishes to learn how to further leverage existing diversity initiatives with other strategically important business priorities, this book provides a comprehensive blueprint for navigating the complex and changing nature of situations involving diversity.
We are committed to an organizational capability and mindset which guarantees rapidly delivering exceptional customer and stakeholder value by negotiating and making the appropriate tradeoffs among schedule, quality, cost, functionality, technical limits, and resources.
“[…] reflects a striving for excellence in higher education that has been made more inclusive by decades of work to infuse diversity into recruiting, admissions, and hiring; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices. It also embraces newer forms of excellence, and expanded ways to measure excellence, that take into account research on learning and brain functioning, the assessment movement, and more nuanced accountability structures. […] is a multi-layered process through which we achieve excellence in learning; research and teaching; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; workforce development; and more. It is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.”
I suppose the meaning of these texts can be worked out, but why write something that has to be puzzled over? I don’t mind struggling with a text that was written a couple of hundred years ago, but when it comes to contemporary writing, I won’t waste my time.
Writers need to worry when Latinate abstract nouns outnumber function words in their writing. An annual rereading of Orwell’s essay on language wouldn’t hurt:
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. — “Politics and the English Language”
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