Test Your Writing

Gregory Benford recommended Helen Sword’s article “Zombie Nouns” in the New York Times:

Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings:

The proliferation of nominalizations in a discursive formation may be an indication of a tendency toward pomposity and abstraction.

Sword’s article links to the Writer’s Diet test where you can paste in a 100-1000 word writing sample and find out whether it’s “flabby or fit.”

Since I’m working hard in case I’m called upon to fill in for Scalzi at Whatever (and riding that joke into the ground) I put “Plenty To Be Humble About” to the test. The robots declared the piece “Fit and Trim.”  They didn’t declare it funny, however, which worries me.

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5 thoughts on “Test Your Writing

  1. How true, how true, how true…Sword’s article, Greg’s item based on it, and his comment.

  2. ” The robots declared the piece ”Fit and Trim.” They didn’t declare it funny, however, which worries me.”

    Would a robot having a sense of humor violate one of the Three Laws of Robots?

  3. Robots aren’t known for their sense of humour. (Insert compulsory Mitt Romney joke here to be contemporary.)

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