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  1. #1
    Doug B
    Guest

    Glue words and working words

    From Richard Wydick's "Plain English for Lawyers":

    "In every English sentence are two kinds of words: working words and glue words. The working words carry the meaning of the sentence. In the preceding sentence, the working words are these: working, words, carry, meaning, and sentence. The others are glue words: the, the, of, and the. The glue words do perform a vital service. They hold the working words together to form a proper, grammatical sentence. Without them, the sentence would read like a telegram. But if the proportion of glue words is too high, that is a symptom of a badly constructed sentence.
    A well-constructed sentence is like fine cabinetwork. The pieces are cut and shaped to fit together with scarecely any glue. When you find too many glue words in a sentence, take it apart and reshape the pieces to fit together tighter."


    The image works for me. Notice also how short his sentences are.



  2. #2
    L Bea
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    Interesting. This post will "stick" with me. It's important to adhere to these types of guidelines. You know, Doug, I'm really getting attached to you. Does this color make me look pasty?

    Affix signature

  3. #3
    Eva
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words



    scarecely?

  4. #4
    A.L. Sirois
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    Tell Shakespeare that. And remember what he said about lawyers... :-)

  5. #5
    P. Ryder
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    How's this for a tight fit?:

    Working words carry sentence meaning.

    *lmao @ bea* Yup. LookN a bit pasty there, gal.

    *hand ya his hanky* Don't worry. I washed it a couple of weeks ago.

  6. #6
    Chuck Shaw
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    DB
    If you want to create a law such that there can be no ambiguity or question of responsibility I agree. Few people buy lawbooks, or any reference type book to read. They are a source of information, not entertainment.


    If you want to write something entertaining I do not think Mr. Wydick's standard is appropriate.
    CS

  7. #7
    Doug B
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    I must respectfully disagree. Anyone who has read a statute knows how god-awful the writing is, with good reason; there should be no room for ambiguity if possible. The phone book is no doubt more interesting reading than statutes; at least it has characters, however poorly developed.

    Wydick's book is directed at lawyers in writing non-statutory things, because they/we have a tendency to use two words when one would do for the "normal" person, and to grab for the big and duplicative words.

    BUT the idea of "glue words" and "work words" applies to any sentence in any context, so far as I can see. One of the biggest problems with new writers is the tendency to have long and wordy sentences. I submit that you could apply this rule to any sentence and improve the sentence (especially if you evalute adjectives and adverbs as glue or work words, and try to minimize the glue).

  8. #8
    Xavier Onassis
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    BUT the idea of "glue words" and "work words" applies to any sentence in any context, so far as I can see. One of the biggest problems with new writers is the tendency to have long and wordy sentences. I submit that you could apply this rule to any sentence and improve the sentence (especially if you evalute adjectives and adverbs as glue or work words, and try to minimize the glue).

    Agreed. Nice concept, thanks.

    XO

  9. #9
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    Lawyers are not the worst. Legal secretaries are. They write business letters that not only have long sentences, they have too many.

    I remember, once, receiving one that had six sentences, each between fifteen and thirty words to say what needed three sentences, none of more than ten words.

  10. #10
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Glue words and working words

    Lawyers are not the worst. Legal secretaries are.

    You never transcribed a legal brief for my old boss, Joe.

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