Write or wrong word

Another blog in the series on creating voice in writing.

Write about what?

chronic waste c2

Diction is one of the building blocks of voice that pushed far enough can become a two-edged sword, making the written word dangerously inaccessible to readers. When teaching Shakespeare’s plays to students I frequently pointed out that it was not the formal speeches that were hard to comprehend. Rather it was the lines full of common slang and innuendos of Elizabethan English that the students failed to grasp. After all, the bard did write to entertain the “man on the street.”

Beginning with the Renaissance there was a movement toward more formal diction in writing, and then sometime before the twentieth century writers started backing away from that same kind of diction. You could blame or praise Mark Twain for this, but he was not the only one in concerned in this swing. Today, the media has morphed into users of an informal brand of Standard English that is sprinkled…

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