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Hillary Clinton – The Wrong Woman, At the Wrong Place, At the Wrong Time

To borrow the refrain from an old Vaughn Monroe song, “…there I go, there I’ve said it again.” But it bears repeating: Hillary Clinton should not be the next president.

I’m sorry to be so dogmatic about it (well, not really), but I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear (with apologies to President Nixon): it’s fine to elect a woman president. The time is right for it. But it should be the right woman, who is not Hillary Clinton. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever. She simply does not have the credentials including, but not limited to, integrity, experience, and ability.

With the 2016 presidential elections still in the distance, this article may seem a little premature. But I don’t think so. The liberal media is obsessed with trying to emboss Hillary, apparently the odds-on favorite to win the democratic nomination for president, with a tinge of gold – but it’s fools gold at best. I think this blog is therefore timely.

The reason I am so adamant on this issue is because Hillary is simply unqualified, inexperienced, and incompetent to be president. Lets not make the same mistake with her that we made with President Obama. The problem with Hillary is that she has not demonstrated any leadership qualities, no strength of character, no ability to make the tough decisions that are required of a president. She boasted of her “White House experience,” during her last presidential bid. But the truth of the matter is that she had no experience that qualified her to be president.

She has served as a U.S. senator from New York, parachuting in on the coattails of her husband Bill, an impeached president who disgraced himself, his family, his country, and the White House while president. But as a senator she created no record of accomplishment that she can point to, none.

She served as Secretary of State under President Obama, an unqualified and inexperienced appointee who had no previous experience in affairs of state, no record of any kind, no teaching, no lecturing, no writing, nothing that could be used to show experience or knowledge in that area. The main result of that four year tenure: four Americans are dead from the Benghazi attack, including our ambassador. And there has yet to be any determination as to who in the administration is responsible for that tragedy. As the top dog in the state department during that attack, she must be held accountable.

There is also the matter of her credibility. The well respected, syndicated columnist, the late William Safire, labeled her a “congenital liar.” Not without reason. Safire’s article, published in the New York Times on January 8, 1996 entitled “Essay; Blizzard of Lies,” is compelling reading, starting with the opening lines that draw attention to her propensity to “mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.”

She also lied, together with President Obama, about the Benghazi attack, falsely claiming that it was due to a spontaneous reaction to a You Tube posting. At the time the statements were made, the White House and the state department had facts indicating the attack was made by terrorists.

And then there’s the blatant lie made during her presidential bid that she landed on the tarmac in Bosnia under sniper fire. She later recanted, admitting it was a “mistake.” This woman has no credibility and is a far, far cry from having the integrity to be president. We’ve seen enough of presidential lies from the present administration. To elect Hillary, who has a proven history of
lying, is simply unacceptable.

One last point concerning the issue of Hillary’s credibility or lack thereof: credibility is a most important trait in everyday life, but especially politics. As a retired trial lawyer, I can point to a California jury instruction which can be requested if the evidence justifies it, i.e., if a party or a witness is caught in a lie. The jury instruction, “falso in uno, falso in omnibus,” simply means that if the party or witness has lied about one thing, he/she arguably can be found to have lied about everything. This jury instruction, if given by the trial judge, can be a devastating weapon in final argument. It can destroy an entire case. Thus the issue presents itself, in view of Hillary’s track record of lying when the occasion suits her, how can anything she says now be believed?

We need to restore the American spirit, which seems to be lagging these days, quite a bit. Hillary is not the answer. She is undoubtedly the golden girl of the liberal media and the darling of the democratic party. But make no mistake – to put her in position as president of the United States would be an unmitigated disaster for this country. The country needs to elect a proven leader as the next president. Let the Obama calamity be a lesson to the American electorate: stay away from unqualified, inexperienced presidential candidates.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Good Letter Writing Skill Is An Essential Addition To Your Writing Repetoire

Expertise in letter writing should be an indispensable part of your writing arsenal.

It goes without saying that there are manifold uses for letters. All job seekers should use a cover letter to accompany any resume which is sent out. The cover letter should introduce you personally to the prospective interviewer. The letter should specify the position you are seeking and state how you learned about it. It should explain why you are qualified for the position and how your qualifications will benefit the company. Close the letter by requesting an interview, and state when you will be available.

A properly worded letter of inquiry about a job prospect may open a door of opportunity for you. Also, sending a thank you letter to acknowledge an interview may make a difference to the interviewer.

Business letters should be clear, to the point, and correctly punctuated and formatted. Properly written, attractive letters will reflect favorably on you individually as well as any company that employs you.

It is important to confirm all important meetings, events, telephone conversations, and decisions by letter. It’s a good idea to leave a paper trail for future reference; it will go a long way to avoid misunderstandings and is always a good business practice.

There are several guidelines to keep in mind when writing a letter.

1. The heading of the letter should be centered and provide the writer’s full name, address, and telephone number. Adding an email address and cell/mobile phone number is discretionary. But you want to make sure the addressee knows how to contact you easily.

2. The date of the letter should appear directly under the heading.

3. The addressee’s address inside the letter should be the same as the address which appears on the mailing envelope. Do not omit street or avenue.

4. Use a reference line following the address to reference an order number, invoice number, a previous letter, or any other convenient point of reference. The reference should be preceded by “RE:”

5. The greeting (or salutation, as it is sometimes called), should be separated by two spaces from the inside address or the reference line, if one is used. The inside address and the greeting should begin at the left margin. The greeting should be followed by a colon for business letters and a comma for personal letters.

Typical greetings include the following:

Dear Sir (or Madam):

Dear Mr. Jones:

Dear Mrs. Smith:

Dear Ms. Brown:

Dear IRS: (or other agency if known)

Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern, “if at all possible.

6. Begin the body of the letter one line below the greeting. Don’t use shorthand or abbreviated writing. Always write with direct, full sentences. Avoid flowery or hackneyed language such as “I beg to advise,” and all slang expressions.

Wrong: Your kind favor of (date) has been received and we hasten to inform you the order has been shipped immediately following.

Better: We have received your order dated (date). The order was filled on (date) and shipped on (date).

7. Get right to the point. If you are applying for a job, begin by stating “I am applying for,” and not “I would apply for” or “I wish to apply for.”

8. As pointed out in previous blogs, as well as in my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” (available at amazon.com/kindle books and in print), organization is essential to clear writing. This is true in letter writing as well. Group your thoughts logically. If you are applying for a job, an appropriate grouping might consist of personal qualifications, followed by experience and then references.

9. Finish the letter with a simple sentence such as:

I hope to hear from you soon, I trust this answers your letter, or

Please advise me if further information is required.

Avoid any closing that begins with a participle such as “Thanking you for your consideration of this request.” It is better to say simply, “Thank you for your consideration of this request.”

10. The closing should begin at the left margin, followed by a comma. Appropriate closings include the following:

Sincerely yours,

Sincerely,

Yours truly,

Respectfully,

Cordially,

11. Sign your name clearly and type it out four spaces directly underneath the signature using all capital letters or initial capitals. It is discretionary whether to provide a title or degree before or after the signature. A married woman may add her married name in parenthesis following her typed name. Do not follow the signature with any punctuation.

12. If you are sending a copy of the letter to someone else, add “cc [name of additional addressee]” two spaces below your typed name. Place a check mark by the “cc” on the copy being sent to designate that the addressee is getting that copy. Sending a cover letter with the copy is discretionary, depending on the circumstances.

13. If you are enclosing any document with the letter add “Encl.” following your typed name or any “cc.”

14. Miscellaneous matters. For business correspondence, only use one side of the paper; fold the letter twice horizontally in equal sections. Don’t staple or clip pages together.

Use these letter writing skills to enhance your writing credentials. Good letter writing goes hand in glove with clear writing.

Copyright © Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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A Weekend Call For Effective Communication

Last weekend I attended a business convention sponsored by ACN, a well established and successful network marketing powerhouse. I received notice of the convention by virtue of the fact that I am an ACN independent business owner. The convention took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was well worth the effort, despite residual interference by the massive snowstorm that earlier had swept through the region. The storm kept many from attending and caused great hardship on others to get there despite travel difficulties. I was impressed with Charlotte however, my first trip there, as a clean, upscale city, with quite a bit to offer its residents. ACN’s corporate headquarters is in nearby Concord and convention attendees were provided with the opportunity to tour the premises. I took the tour and found it to be most interesting.

One of the many fine speakers we heard was Larry Raskind, a special guest speaker with a well known, well respected reputation as a motivational speaker and network marketing guru who deservedly enjoys his excellent reputation. Raskind urged that the quality of your life would be determined by your ability to effectively communicate. You must work at your communication skills persistently to make them effective. Persistence defeats resistance. While formal education can make a living for you, self education can make you a fortune. This is a theme that I’ve used as the basis of this entire blog not to mention my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle books as well as in print.

One major step towards effective communication is to improve your vocabulary. This is another topic covered in depth on this blog on more than one occasion. Words are like the colors on a painters palette, argued Raskind, giving you the option to paint effective word pictures as you speak and write. I couldn’t agree more. I have often said that you must find and use the right word to be able to write clearly.

The ability to effectively communicate should be part of your personal development continued Raskind. Building mental toughness should also be part of your regimen, which includes setting a goal of seeing your communication project through to the end. Your personal development journey will not be complete otherwise. Make this part of a three to five year plan in your long term vision towards improving your personal effectiveness.

Raskind also urged listeners to follow the philosophy of Jim Rohn, another well known, widely recognized and respected motivational speaker, and the author of many books, tapes, and video programs. He has helped to train both personal development trainers as well as executives from the country’s top corporations. One of Rohn’s keys to personal development is your attitude towards your business. As applied to clear writing, this means to have confidence in your writing, a subject on which I’ve also expounded. An upbeat attitude towards writing flows from having confidence in it. This in turn means practice, practice, and practice your writing. The more you write, the better and clearer your writing will become. Becoming an accomplished writer should be your goal. Once achieved, you will see huge dividends in terms of your personal development and success.

To tie all this together, effective communication is an integral part of your personal development. This in turn entails development of clear writing techniques. Clear writing is thus the means to an end, a very desirable end, i.e., your success.

Incidentally, for those of you interested in learning more about network marketing, I recommend “Your First Year In Network Marketing,” by Mark and Rene Yarnell, for follow up reading. They acclaim
network marketing as “the greatest opportunity in the history of capitalism.”

Copyright©2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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The Importance of Clear Writing

My book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle books and in print, contains many guidelines and techniques on clear writing. Here is an excerpt:

In today’s world, language is predominant. It is vital to all communications, and is the key to your personal and business success. The power of the written word is far reaching and depends in turn on the quality of your writing. Writing is therefore of utmost importance.

The ability to write clearly is a requirement for anyone trying to get ahead. Without it, you have little chance to inform or persuade others. Unclear writing wastes both time and money. Your success will largely depend on how well you express yourself.

Whether you are writing for a personal or business purpose, it is the writer’s job to be clear, not the reader’s job to figure out what you’re trying to say. The March Hare’s admonition to Alice, “…you should say what you mean,” also applies perforce to writing. (See: “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland,” 97, Lewis Carroll, New Ed., MacMillan & Co., 1885). Remember, you are promoting yourself when you write. Poor writing will not only lead to loss of credibility but will stamp you as an amateur and may well cause your reader to stop reading. Good writing sells itself.

Even lawyers, with all their education, are not always good writers. In a profession which devotes extensive time and effort to the written word, it may be surprising to learn that lawyers and judges still strive to improve their writing skills. Bryan Garner, a well known attorney and respected authority in the field of legal writing, has devoted extensive time to lecturing and writing on the subject of legal writing for judges and lawyers. His excellent writing lectures, several of which I attended, have been given across the country. One of his publications, “The Winning Brief,” which I used extensively as a practicing lawyer, contains a wealth of writing tips which should be useful to non-lawyers as well as lawyers. (See: “The Winning Brief,” Bryan A. Garner, Oxford University Press, 1999). This is another lead to pursue for those of you really serious about improving your writing.

Clear writing is easy to say, but what exactly does it mean? The term defies definition, but you know it when you see it. Clear writing means using words effectively. It is evidenced by the orderly and logical presentation of information using everyday language that readers can easily understand. It is well organized, concise and follows other good writing practices as discussed in this book.

A clearly written document should be easy to read and visually attractive so it looks like it’s meant to be read. One practical way of attaining clearness is by fully thinking out what you want to say. Sloppy thinking produces sloppy writing. So, cultivate a habit of accuracy in thinking. Select your words carefully, avoid excess language, and use words economically. This will go a long way toward achieving clarity.

Write as you talk in a natural, conversational tone, one on one, in a way that is not stilted or artificial. More than one writing authority has suggested that it makes good sense to write with a specific person in mind, giving that person the information you would want to receive in return.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to ask the following question at each stage of the writing process: can my thoughts be presented any more clearly?

This book breaks with the traditional approach to teaching English grammar in that it eschews memorization of rules. Memorization of grammar rules is of little use except to pass examinations. It has been my personal experience that as you train yourself to observe and appreciate good writing, you can likewise train yourself to develop and employ good writing habits in constructing sentences. This result cannot be accomplished by memorization of rules, which will have little effect on learning and understanding the context with which words are
used. But, when in doubt, look up the rule.

The best expression of thoughts through good grammar can be learned by observing the association of the right word with the appropriate context in a sentence. The emphasis should be on training your eye to carefully observe how grammar is used in putting sentences together and to constantly practice what you have learned in your writing. The point was well made many years ago by the late Sherwin Cody, who authored several books and self study courses on writing and learning good English. Learn grammar by “original processes”, he wrote, “not by authorities and rules.” (See: “New Art of Writing and Speaking The English Language,” 59, Sherwin Cody, 1933, 1938).

Increase your own value to others by learning to write clearly. It will pay huge dividends for you.

Copyright©2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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President Obama’s State 0f the Union Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

Tuesday’s anemic State of the Union address by President Obama covered a wide array of topics but was notable for lack of substance. Probably the most glaring omission was his failure to explain how he plans to put the millions of unemployed Americans back to work, an issue that has plagued the administration from the beginning. There was also no mention of the Keystone pipeline, a project that will help America achieve energy independence and create thousands of jobs. His signature healthcare plan has been a fiasco from the beginning and is arguably the biggest job killer of all. He declared 2014 to be a “year of action,” but there was no plan announced for economic growth, no new ideas. Moreover, the American public is increasingly doubtful of his ability to work with Congress to get anything done. His threat to rely on executive orders if Congress does not cooperate, not only smacks of dictatorship, but is symptomatic of a dysfunctional president.

Compounding the presidential failures at governance is the fact he has lost credibility. The problem is that the president lied about his signature healthcare law. His promises, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period,” and “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, period,” have been proven false. So, where’s the credibility? How can anything uttered by him be believed? The country is now paying the price for electing an inexperienced, unqualified, and incompetent, but smooth talking politician as president. The country deserves better. There is no doubt about President Obama’s likeability, his eloquent speech making ability. But more is needed. His leadership qualities are clearly lacking, and his lack of experience is painfully clear.

With apologies to Shakespeare, the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves. Our political system allows anyone to run for president. Maybe that’s the way it should be in a free country. On the other hand, it can be argued with a fair degree of conviction that only someone with demonstrated experience at governance, in making decisions, in leadership, should be qualified to run. I think this was the intent of the founding fathers. As stated by Alexander Hamilton in “The Federalist” (No. 68), “…the office of president will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents of low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity [will not suffice]…It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue.”

At a business convention I recently attended, one of the featured speakers was billionaire Donald J. Trump. Trump, always an interesting speaker, was clear: He wants to see America great again. Amen to that. Greatness includes leadership, a quality that has been lacking in the present administration. It also includes the ability to take responsibility for its failures. But to date no one has been held accountable for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, no one has been held responsible for the IRS scandalous targeting of conservative groups for inquiry. It seems to be a trademark of this administration to duck responsibility whenever possible.

President Obama had no proven record of accomplishments he could point to when he was elected. Nor did he have any record of working with diverse groups of people to reach a compromise on given issues. He never showed himself to be a leader in any respect. I hope the country doesn’t repeat these mistakes again but I have my doubts.

Copyright©2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Summary of Clear Writing Guidelines and Techniques

My book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle books and in print, introduces fundamental guidelines and techniques necessary to develop clear writing skills. The guidelines and techniques discussed in this book may seem obvious to some readers and appear to be mere common sense to others, but they are important, time-tested approaches to developing a writing style that will lead to the creation of a final, clearly written document.

Writing is no different from any other undertaking in life: you have to start at the beginning to master it. All art is created through the exercise of a craft such as painting, sculpting,etc. Every craft must be taught and learned, including writing. Clear writing is an art form because it can be learned through the craft of writing. Almost everyone can write to some degree, but to write clearly is a goal worthy of achievement. The long hours and hard work it may take to get there are tasks eminently worth the effort. Remember that a clearly written document will speak well of the author and the purpose it seeks to advance.

Develop and maintain a strong belief in your ability to write clearly. You can do it if you train yourself to do it, but it takes dedicated effort and continued practice.

The five fundamental guidelines discussed in my book should apply to any writing project, no
matter whether you are writing in English or any other language. Here is a summary:

First, develop confidence in your ability to write clearly by writing every day. Read extensively and study the writing style of experienced writers.

Second, learn to recognize clear writing. You will know it when you see it. A clearly written document should flow smoothly, be easy to read, and be visually attractive.

Third, get organized. Thoroughly plan your writing by organizing your thinking. Prepare a mental blueprint of what you’re going to write, then, prepare an outline that closely reflects your
blueprint. This is, perhaps, the most important step of all to improve the clarity of your writing.

Fourth, know your reading audience. If you don’t know who you are writing for, you may as well not write at all.

Fifth, know your subject matter. Become a maven on the content of your writing. You need expert knowledge to write with authority on any subject. If you try to fake it, your reader will see right through you. Take the time to research your subject matter thoroughly. The result will be high quality content, a vital ingredient for any successful writer.

Be concise in your writing, use shorter sentences, carefully edit all writing before using it, and, most importantly, eliminate all spelling errors.

Also, read good books, magazines, and newspapers. Expose yourself to experienced writers whenever and wherever you can. Learn from their style. Make a list of all new words, learn them, and learn how to use them. Become familiar with all punctuation marks and their application. Train your eye to learn grammar by word association rather than by definition. This is your homework, so to speak. The more thoroughly you apply yourself, the clearer your writing will be.

As a final thought, the creation of a paper trail, as discussed in the introduction to section two, will go a long way towards helping you achieve clear writing success. It’s good practice to memorialize all deadlines in writing as well as confirm all past and future events to prevent misunderstandings. Follow up important letters and emails with a letter and/ or memorandum to the file.
Keep your writing objectives in full view at all times.

Clear writing is not easy to achieve. It’s hard work, very hard work. But when you’re finished writing, dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, rewritten and revised the document for the umpteenth time until you can’t look at it anymore, then, like an artist, you can sit back and admire your work with the knowledge you’ve given it your best shot.

At this point, assuming you have been diligent in applying the guidelines and techniques discussed in this book, you should begin to notice a definite improvement in your writing. This improvement may not be noticeable overnight but will be over a period of time. Keep working on it!

Copyright © 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Income Inequality Is For The Marketplace To Cure

Last Sunday night, January 12, on John Stoessel’s program (Fox News), income inequality was discussed. Bob Beckel, a liberal, was one of the panelists. He wants the minimum wage raised to $15 per hour. Here is my take on the topic.

First, I believe in a free marketplace. Free enterprise is now, always has been, and will remain the growth engine for the American economy. It’s the ticket; the less government intervention the better. There are too many people who look for government to help them get along in life instead of trying to do it themselves.

Income inequality is a byproduct of the free marketplace. The market places a value on your services. It rewards those whose services are deemed to be more valuable, who persevere and have a commitment to improve themselves. There are CEOs of companies who command large salaries in comparison with company workers who command much less. Many people complain that this is not fair. But the shareholders of the companies, who own them, elect the directors who set the salaries of the officers who run the company, and if the company is going in the right direction and is profitable, the directors have the right to compensate those who are responsible. Conversely, if the company is not profitable, the directors have the right to make changes in the company officers. Decisions by the directors are approved or disapproved as the case may be by the shareholders. This is the way it works in a capitalistic, free enterprise economy.

I have attended many business opportunity meetings where people from all backgrounds have provided information as to their successes. People from all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and both sexes have testified as to their commitment to success. These folks make huge amounts of income but they got there by perseverance and dogged determination.

Bob Beckel argued that raising the minimum wage is the answer to income inequality. But I suspect that he has never run a business. It has been reported that 92 million people are out of work today, an historic high. How many more people would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was raised? How many employers would decide that cutting payroll is the only answer to rising labor costs, or that part time workers would be less expensive than full time? How many businesses would fail because costs of operation are too high? How many prospective new businesses would be thwarted because of increased labor costs? Increasing the minimum wage when so many people are out of work is not going to put them back to work. Increasing healthcare costs for businesses is not the answer either; this will only add to the current economic woes.

This is not to say that some government intervention in the economy is not necessary. Business can grow too big making some government regulation appropriate. Monopolies in restraint of trade are not in the best interest of economic growth. Neither is abuse of workers. Moderation is the key.

The current economic malaise is the result of an incompetent and inexperienced administration in Washington. A strong and growing economy with a vibrant work force would put more people to work and result of a better living standard for everyone. I think that’s the best answer. There may not be complete elimination of income inequality but I don’t think that’s possible under any system except communism. And if you think those folks living under communism are happy, take a look at conditions in North Korea and Cuba. Ask those folks what they think of their standard of living.

As I have emphasized before, work to improve your writing skills. Clear writing skills will go a long way to increase your earning ability, lessen income inequality, and improve the skill set of the work force. More skilled workers in the workforce will help improve the economy, so improvement of your writing skills will benefit yourself as well as the country. As President Kennedy said at his inauguration in 1961, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

All of the clear writing techniques and guidelines discussed on this blog are available in one place in my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle and in print.

Copyright © 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Well Constructed Paragraphs Are The Foundation For Clear Writing – Continued

The benefits of strong paragraphing have been previously pointed out in this blog. But the subject is important and deserves repeating.

Paragraphs allow the reader to take a breath while continuing to read. Without them, a reader would face the daunting task of having to read and decide simultaneously when there is a change of thought or subject.

Clear writing flows directly from well composed paragraphing. The effectiveness of any writing will depend directly on how well you have constructed the paragraphs. As further explained below, all paragraphs should be unified in thought, well organized, and coherent.

Paragraphs may be long or short. Moderation and common sense are keys to good paragraphing. If a paragraph is too short, the reader may conclude the writer has given little thought to the writing. If it’s too long, the reader may simply get discouraged.

There are distinct types of writing available for specific purposes, including persuasive, expository, narrative, creative, descriptive, research, and (book) reporting. Paragraphing does not of necessity completely follow the type of writing you are using, but may vary within the main body of the document being written, depending on the context.

Two main groups of paragraphs exist, narrative and descriptive. Other forms of paragraphing may have different identifying labels placed on them, such as chronological, compare and contrast, definition, and others, but it is simpler to place them in one of the two main categories.

For example, a chronological or progressive paragraph is so-called because of its orderly progression from one point to another, often following a time sequence. But it’s still descriptive or narrative in nature. Describing a fishing technique or a golf swing are good examples of the use of such a paragraph. A recipe, which is by nature descriptive, is another example.

As another example, persuasive paragraphing should be used to advocate a position, as follows:

One new law I would like to see enacted this year is one granting equal time for “celebrity puffing,” i.e., an anti- puffing law.

What is “puffing?” It’s a lot of hot air. Like when movie actors such as Robert Redford or Matt Damon try to take advantage of their celebrity status to present their liberal views to the public. A Wall Street Journal article recently reported that Damon and another actor, Ben Affleck, as well as other notables, including Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson, have in effect endorsed the philosophy of Howard Zinn, a pro-Leninist historian and one time member of the Communist Party, who died in 2010, by publicly praising him. By law, the public should be allowed to reply to any such public pronouncements by any celebrity. For example, I would say to any celebrity who engages in puffing, “It’s hypocritical of you to use American capitalism to make all your money and acquire celebrity status and then take advantage of that status to foist your liberal (or more radical) views on the public.” An opportunity to speak out in reply should be provided by law. It’s only fair. I for one am not interested in hearing the political views of any celebrity unless there is an opportunity for rebuttal where appropriate. Many media outlets that invite such puffing as news are liberal in their political views and are not interested in allowing any reply. So a one-sided view is presented to the public and it’s often a distortion of the facts.

The foregoing paragraphing guidelines, and more, (with a different example of paragraph advocacy) are contained in my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle books and in print. My book, by the way, contains an excellent recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini from the classic Mary and Vincent Price cookbook, “A Treasury of Great Recipes,” now believed to be out of print.

To all of my readers and followers, let me say best wishes for a happy and successful new year!

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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My San Jose Adventure

Do you know the way to San Jose? With apologies to singer Dionne Warwick, actually you don’t need to know the way if you took the bus like I did a few days ago to attend the three day ACN international convention there. Traveling basically all day with my oldest son Kevin, and meeting my younger son Brian there, this was the second ACN convention I attended. But it was well worth the time, effort, and expense. ACN by the way, is a well established, eminently successful company, celebrating 20 years in business, and operating in 23 countries around the world. It is the largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services in the world. It offers independent business owners the opportunity to be in business “for yourself but not by yourself.”

Forget the fact that the convention was in San Jose, California, a sprawling city of almost 1 million people in the heart of the Silicon Valley but with few points of interest. It was attended by some 15,000 people, not as many as the approximately 25,000 who had attended a previous ACN convention in Los Angeles last June but was still quite a crowd. It was crammed full of important information of great value to all independent ACN business owners, a group to which my sons and I belong.

The overriding attraction though was the chance to see and hear Donald Trump, a long time ACN supporter, who was interviewed in person by Darren Hardy, Publisher and Founding Editor of Success magazine. Mr Trump graciously answered questions posed about his own personal success. He came across as a devoted family man and a successful real estate entrepreneur who had weathered some difficult financial times in the early 1990s to create his own personal real estate fortune. His bottom line message was clear: he wants to see America great again. Amen to that.

Donald Trump is ever the believer in the power of private enterprise over government intervention. One of the achievements he appeared proudest of was his taking over a municipal skating rink in New York
City (name unrecalled) which had been losing money for years. After putting much less money into the rink than the city had been spending on it, he had it up and running at a profit in about three months.

A second compelling speaker was Darren Hardy, who, as noted above, conducted the interview with Donald Trump, and is the best selling author of “The Compound Effect,” a book whose announced theme deals with jump starting your income, your life, and your success. Hardy, another ACN booster, had an important message for all those ACN business owners seeking success – you, the owner, reflect the product/service you’re selling. You are the billboard, the main attraction. You are answerable to no one but yourself, you’re the boss. So, conquer your fears and climb your mountain. Create your own story of success.

By the way, feel free to visit my ACN storefront to see what products and services are offered. It’s at arnoldregardie.acndirect.com.

Copyright 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

The Eyes Have It

A recent email I read from well known copywriter Bob Bly stressed having a second pair of eyes check over your writing before it is finally submitted to your reader(s). This of course should be a part of any writing regimen you may adopt. It is covered at several points in my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindle books and in print. It should be a part of any final review of your writing.

Of course, it is not always possible to have another person review your work. When you have completed a preliminary draft, you should not submit it to your reader before you have thoroughly reviewed it. You must act as the second pair of eyes if no one else is available. Achieving an effective level of writing requires that you thoroughly polish it so that it becomes the final draft – rewrite, revise, and edit it before considering it complete. Insist on absolute perfection in this regard, even for a simple letter. No writing should be seen by any reader until you are completely satisfied with it, no matter how many revisions it takes.

Pay attention constantly to completeness of information presented. Have another person review your writing or have it read aloud to someone else. Get as much feedback as possible. The object is to achieve a smooth flow of words.

Here’s a checklist for final review:
1. Review sentence structure for completeness of thought, unity, and
clearness.
2. Grammar.
3. Diction.
4. Spelling.
5. Punctuation.
6. Document appearance. Review the physical appearance of the document
for any obvious deficiencies.

Use of precise words should also be part of your writing and is to be included in any final review. Describing exactly what you see in a certain locale is one example of where specificity is greatly needed. Generalization here will fall flat. For example, if you were to write that Murphys, California is a “cool” place to visit, the reader would have little understanding of what you mean and would have no incentive to go there. But if you wrote that it’s nestled in the farmland of the upper San Joaquin Valley, that you must drive through rolling pastoral countryside to get there, that it’s a living remnant of the Old West, and that it’s a shopper’s delight complete with casual dining and a nearby winery, the added specificity will make a visit sound much more inviting.

An overly general choice of words is frequently the mark of a lazy mind. Sharpen your word selection by resorting to an unabridged dictionary. A general word will usually have many definitions to choose from to make your meaning definite. When a shorter synonym for a word is available, use it. Often you will find that the use of a shorter synonym for the word you are using is the best option. Use common words such as “end” instead of “terminate”, “explain” rather than “elucidate,” and “use” instead of “utilize.”

Concrete words that can be seen or felt have a stronger appeal than vague words because the reader can readily come to grips with them. A good writer uses detail to encourage visualization and the formation of word pictures in the reader’s mind. Stronger writing will always use definite, specific language because it will be far easier for the reader to understand a concept when the reader’s mind can form images.

Also, be careful not to repeat redundant information unless it is for emphasis. Needless repetition will lengthen your writing unnecessarily and mark you as being a careless and inattentive writer. Reading the same material over again can be boring and even cause the reader to disregard information they have previously read. Cutting down on repetitious paragraphs and sentences will not only earn the gratitude of your reader and enhance your writer’s credentials but will reduce any printing and mailing costs involved in your writing project. Organize your preliminary outline (also covered in my book) to group related information together. This approach will help to identify and eliminate repetitious information.

Tautology, excess language or wordiness, i.e., saying the same thing twice in different words, also fits into this general area. This is an easily overlooked trap for the unwary. Redundant or tautological expressions are a form of “gilding the lily,” to use the vernacular. They are the mark of a careless writer, or one whose thinking is not focused. Either way, the reader may simply conclude that the writer is not entirely credible.

Copyright 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement