ERIC Number: ED165185
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Identifying Causes, Not Symptoms, of Writing Problems.
Strange, Dorothy Flanders; Kebbel, Gary W.
Most of the mechanical and content errors in the sentences written by journalism students can be attributed to four faulty patterns that can be traced to errors in the thinking process: fragmented sentence parts, personification, bureaucratic coding ("officialese"), and compressed sentences. While acceptable in spoken communication where clarification can occur rapidly, sentence fragments in writing cause redundancy, errors in the use of phrases and clauses, and lack of agreement between subjects and verbs or pronouns and their antecedents. Personification, a form of bureaucratic language that gives things human characteristics, results in incomplete thinking and inaccuracy in writing because it does not allow thoughts to follow a logical pattern. Somewhat related to personification, coded language is the result of using words to hide, rather than to convey, meaning. Such messages rely heavily on abstract words and ideas, as well as on lengthy sentence structure. In an attempt to reduce codes to journalistic style, some students tend to overcompensate by compressing the essential thoughts out of a sentence. Correcting these faulty thought patterns involves a basic understanding of sentence parts and concentration on the construction of simple declarative statements. (MAI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (61st, Seattle, Washington, August 13-16, 1978)