Monday, November 24, 2008


Jan Freeman defended wordiness in yesterday's Boston Globe. I raise my glass to her. Brevity is sometimes a virtue. But not always. And not unquestionably.


Name: Matthew Guenette said...

Sorry DCAT, but Freeman's article is not a defense of wordiness--the wordiness she worries about as wordiness is neatly explained as having meaning of its own.

dcat said...

Matt --
You may be right, but I also think that the larger message is that one person's wordiness is another person's expressiveness. I also think it is a bit of a sly backhand to the grammar scolds. I do not think anyone sees wordiness as a virtue, but many of us do see multiple ways to get to the same message, or to convey our own messages.
I had a professor in grad school who always invoked Hemingway when trying to get me to be a bit less verbose, and I think I drew lessons from that. But sometimes there is room for Fitzgerald and Faulkner as well.