Very Good Advice

Words and phrases to avoid, courtesy of Andrew Gelman:

  • Note that
  • Interestingly
  • Obviously
  • It is clear that
  • It is interesting to note that
  • very
  • quite
  • of course
  • Notice that

Let me add “We see that.”

8 Responses to Very Good Advice

  1. Joel May 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    “Indeed,” and “indubitably” are still OK, then?

    Phew. Clearly.

  2. Shag from Brookline May 29, 2008 at 7:47 am #

    And when a person being interviewed says:

    “That’s a very good question”

    is it because s/he furnished it to the interviewer in advance of the interview? Or just sucking up to the latter?

  3. Robert S. Porter May 29, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Anyone who puts limitations on the use of the English language for the sake of some constructed rules should be ignored. Terrible advice.

  4. PLW May 30, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    Stupid if blindly applied, but a search of your document for these words/phrases at the editing stage is time well spent.

  5. Dan May 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm #

    Read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”. Page for page, it’s easily the best writing instruction out there. It’s on topic, I swear.

  6. Jason MacDonald May 30, 2008 at 11:46 pm #

    William Zinsser: “On Writing Well.” Among other pearls: (paraphrasing) “with” is a perfectly good thing to word a sentence with.

  7. Christian June 2, 2008 at 10:39 pm #

    Note that Lee S. used ‘note that’ in the post below on ‘Early Admissions.’

  8. Lee Sigelman June 3, 2008 at 6:54 am #

    Busted! And I’d do it again. Note that some of Andrew’s recommendations are better than others.