I listened to KERA’s Krys Boyd interview author Steven Pinker about one of my favorite topics: plain English. Mr. Pinker authored The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. He claims that education often interferes with a person’s clarity. He refers to this wordy English dialect as academese, which is similar to corporate hack boilerplate.
I agree. Most academic papers are terribly written, as is the text in many corporate websites.
Both dialects employ the passive voice and zombie nouns: nouns created from verbs. For example, instead of appearing, there is an appearance. Instead of cancelling, there is a cancellation.
Mr. Pinker closes with the “prime directive” of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style:
Omit needless words.