Friday, April 3, 2015

One more from Sheridan Baker

From the chapter “Correcting Bad Sentences”:

Now let us contemplate evil — or at least the innocently awful, the bad habits that waste our words, fog our thoughts, and wreck our delivery. Our thoughts are naturally roundabout, our phrases naturally secondhand. Our satisfaction in merely getting something down on paper naturally blinds us to our errors and ineptitudes. Writing is devilish. It hypnotizes us into believing we have said what we meant, when our words actually say something else: ”Every seat in the house was filled to capacity.” Good sentences therefore come from constant practice in correcting the bad.

Sheridan Baker, The Practical Stylist (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1973).
A related post
The Practical Stylist