The Curse of Knowledge


Questions Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker asks in his book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century : whenever I see writing that is loaded with jargon, clich├ęs, technical terms, and abbreviations, two questions come immediately to mind. First, what is the writer trying to say, exactly? And second, how can the writer convey her ideas more clearly, without having to lean on language that confuses the reader?
For Pinker, the root cause of so much bad writing is what he calls "the Curse of Knowledge", which he defines as "a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose.
This common affliction is behind so much unclear and confusing writing in the world today.

Interesting Read: The Single Reason Why People Can't Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist - Inc. - Pocket

From Trace:
I read the BEST BOOK ON WRITING: Elements of Style when I was in college and still have my copy. Short sentences. Not making the reader work too hard to comprehend. Simple sentences. No, we're not dumb but our writing shouldn't make the reader struggle to read. I like Pinker's idea. But this also depends on who the reader is.. are they in your field of study or in the genre you write about ... so it depends on who they are...
I'm writing a poem about poetry.
I'll post when it's done.

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