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  Home | Other stuff | Gerald Grow's bad writing hints

Gerald Grow's bad writing hints

(Alternative title: "How to write like a doctoral student.")

How to Write Badly
by Gerald Grow

1. Start with a simple statement: "We quit because nobody knew how to program the computer."

2. Put it in the passive voice, to dilute the responsibility: "It was decided to quit."

3. Expand with terminology that does not add meaning: "It was decided to terminate."

4. Build in noun strings: "It was decided to terminate project processes."

5. Add a qualifier of uncertain relation to the original statement: "On account of the status of the computer, it was decided to terminate project processes."

6. Add noun strings and terminology to the qualifier: "On account of the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was decided to terminate project processes."

7. Separate related words: "On account of the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was decided to terminate until a later date project processes."

8. Equivocate: "On account of the uncertain status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was proposed and tentatively accepted to terminate until a later date project processes."

9. Obfuscate: "Due to uncertainties in the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, proposals were carefully considered and tentatively adopted to suspend temporarily until a later date project processes."

10. Cover your tracks to make yourself look good: "Due to unavoidable uncertainties in the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, a number of contingency proposals were carefully considered and one was tentatively adopted to suspend on a temporary basis until a later date those project processes deemed unessential to the expeditious fulfillment of contract requirements."

Used by permission of Gerald Grow at Florida A&M University.

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