Steven pinker academic writing

Each type of writing has its norms. Maybe better to ask a scholar who writes clear prose.

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What causes them? Blog Steven Pinker on why academic writing stinks It discusses what scientists do, rather than the phenomenon of interest.

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The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose. When we write, we want to communicate clearly: to inform, persuade, and even entertain a general readership.

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We use metaconcepts like levels, issues, contexts, frameworks, and perspectives instead of describing the actual thing in plain language. Is it because we seek to obfuscate, as is commonly thought? Save the heaviest for last: a complex phrase should go at the end of the sentence. Luckily for his readers—and those generally seeking to better their writing—Pinker has offered his services free on Twitter with a point list of rules. I only made one of those up. Let your readers see what you are seeing by using visual, concrete language. Starting in with his first book aimed at popular audiences, The Language Instinct , Pinker has discussed not only the origins of language, but the nature of human beings , the nature of our minds , the nature of human violence , and a host of related topics. The question requires context. He says: Keep your critical stance, but write as if what you are saying is in fact true.

Yet most of us are not professional philosophers, scientists, or theorists writing only for colleagues or coteries. I only made one of those up. As we read and learn, we master a vast number of these abstractions, and each becomes a mental unit which we can bring to mind in an instant and share with others by uttering its name.

Consult a dictionary with usage notes, and a thesaurus.

steven pinker academic writing
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Steven Pinker on the Curse of Knowledge and Writing Better