The search for the perfect adjective
December 17, 2002 2:19 PM   Subscribe

The search for the perfect adjective Everyone wants to become a writer these days, it seems. And why not - with software such as this (wow), you can practically automate the process, or you can hire a novelist to write the novel for you, so you can concentrate on getting paid for touring the country to read out loud. No wonder we now have so many book clubs to sort out what to read. Hope we have enough trees.
posted by Voyageman (17 comments total)
 
[From the StyleWriter page--follow the "this" link in the FPP and click the "Next" arrow:]
StyleWriter works by teaching you to write in plain English - the style underlying all great writing. Don't think plain English is simplistic or patronizing. Plain English is clear English. It's the style of all great writers. Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway and John Steinbeck are writers with a simple, clear and direct style. Time, Newsweek, Scientific America and the Washington Post - just about every successful publication - owe their popularity and readership to adopting a clear, readable style.
But apparently it doesn't correct the names of popular science magazines.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2002


I've always been fascinated with the idea of ghostwriting.

I'd love to get together a posse of several talented, quick, and flexible authors, give them a single memorable name that looks good on a book cover (and perhaps a brief biography), and then start cranking out bestsellers.

Hmm...maybe I should start working on that instead of just talking about it....
posted by oissubke at 2:35 PM on December 17, 2002


At times, I agree with Herrn Geheimrat:

"I wish the stage were as high and narrow as a tightrope so that only the most highly trained would dare to venture out upon it." --Goethe
posted by muckster at 2:39 PM on December 17, 2002


apparently it doesn't correct the names of popular science magazines

...Or the name of Ernest Hemingway.
posted by staggernation at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2002



Nearly every person who needs to communicate effectively wants to break poor writing habits and write clearly and effectively for results.

What poor habits? Like repeating the same word in the same sentence.

With so many rules governing grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and proper writing style, it's easy to make mistakes. Anyone who writes -- novice or pro -- needs an expert editor to weed out bad grammar and style faults.

Mistakes like putting a comma before "and" and linking a thought after a list making it difficult to understand what they mean? Looking over their site it seems they could use a bit of their own medicine.
posted by rjeschmi at 5:09 PM on December 17, 2002


Easy rjeschmi. The comma before and is making a come back.
posted by folktrash at 5:30 PM on December 17, 2002


It's called a serial comma, and many of us have always preferred it.

As for the first link, criminy, how many times do we have to read this story? It's the upscale version of "it's so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk!" Gosh, those darn writing programs, some people love 'em, some hate 'em, whattaya gonna do? Or: I've got a column due tomorrow and I have nothing to say on the issues of the moment; time to round up the usual suspects.
posted by languagehat at 5:34 PM on December 17, 2002


The comma before and is making a come back.

And not a moment too soon!
posted by rushmc at 6:19 PM on December 17, 2002


Heh, knew the grammar-punctuation posse would swarm on this one.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:12 PM on December 17, 2002


Why is it so hard to find out what platform it runs on (only Windows and installation comes on two floppies (??)?

And their Demo applet doesn't seem to be working right on IE for the Mac (but then I guess it wouldn't have to, huh).
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2002


From the Stylewriter site:
It plugs directly into all versions of Microsoft Word, Word Perfect or any Windows application through the Clipboard. StyleWriter searches for thousands of writing faults, including complex words, jargon and abstract words, wordy phrases, hidden verbs, passive verbs, clich├ęs and long sentences.

Hmmm.

Don't think plain English is simplistic or patronizing. Plain English is clear English. It's the style of all great writers.

Ah. there's the utter bullshit I was looking for.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:15 AM on December 18, 2002


What does this do that the style thing in MS Word doesn't do? (Which I don't use, granted.)
posted by Elvis at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2002


It's called a serial comma, and many of us have always preferred it.

Also known as the Oxford comma.
posted by Prawn at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2002


I've always found Word's spelling and grammar check adequate. But this wonderful little dictionary/thesaurus plug-in is much better than Word's. And it's free. That should be all you need to write well with a word processor (but then again, maybe I'm just not reaching for the stars...). Oh yeah, don't forget to get an education before you try these in a real-world situation.
posted by micropublishery at 11:47 AM on December 18, 2002


I've always found Word's spelling and grammar check adequate.

You have?!? I've found the grammar checker to be a complete and unmitigated abomination. Its suggestions are technically wrong far more often than they are correct, and its interpretation of the text is even worse. (And yes, it too is biased against "long sentences.")
posted by rushmc at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2002


rushmc: When I said "adequate," I meant adequate. Of course grammar checkers going to be wrong most of the time; I expect that. So I don't rely on it for much more than catching a passive voice that snuck into my copy (many a click on the "Ignore" button). It's only adequate because my expectations are so low! I certainly hope Word can't do the hard part of writing. When it does, I'm out of a job...
posted by micropublishery at 12:02 PM on December 19, 2002


It doesn't catch the missing verb mistake I made just above!
posted by micropublishery at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2002


« Older E-Government Act   |   LAPL's Menu Collection Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments