7 writing style lessons we learned from linguist Steven Pinker (2023)

As a radio operator, we are taught to write in clear and active declarative phrases.This means that we try to avoid things like: "After the governor has promised to issue laws that would enamell a large number of funds, including criminal punishments, a law to improve the writing composition for the further development of understanding."

Instead, we would say: "Today the governor has fulfilled his promise and signed a law that makes him write a crime."

Better.Mor, of course.

(Video) Linguistics, Style and Writing in the 21st Century - with Steven Pinker

But why is there so much bad out there and how do you learn to write well?Steven Pinker uses some ideas of linguistics and linguistics and neurosciences to answer these questions in your new book "The sense of style: The Pessoa guidelines for writing in the 21st century" to answer these questions.

Steven Pinker will explain science behind the good prose in the Brattle Theater on Tuesday at 6 p.m.


Steven Pinker, Cognitive and linguist in Harvard."The sense of style: the guide of the person who thinks in the 21st century."Contain your other books"The instinct of language: how the spirit creates language"e"The best angels of our nature: Why did violence reduce."He tweeted@Sapinker.

(Video) Q&A - Linguistics, Style and Writing - with Steven Pinker

7 lessons on writing style, which we learned from the linguist Steven Pinker

1. Think of the basic tolerance of your reader compared to the rhythm of the information:
Steven Pinker:
"A possibility that is reflected in practical advice is that if you have a large, hairy and complicated sentence, change at the end of the sentence so that the reader does not have to take into account while you discover the structure of the sentence.So: "He sent the poison sweetness that he received to the police in office.

2. Start hart:
"That means, do not start as many students, how", since humanity, since humanity has the problem of ... ", and they have no content and they have news according to the word of the word. Or '' 'In recent years a growing number of researchers have turned to the problem of ... 'and all of this is completely unnecessary, but it is very tempting to start. If [Richard] Dawkins begins, let us die and die and thatMakes us happy. "He will burn him with the most unpleasant fact that it exists, followed by a paradox.How could we be lucky to die?And that leads him to the following explanation. "

3. Use some poetry elements:
"Trust the acid tongue dozens of millions", that is alliteration.It is a poetic device, but many of the poetry techniques can cheer prose like alliteration like the careful use of the measuring device - ie the rhythm.As a parallel structure, two sentences if it compares something that has the same grammatical structure so that readers can concentrate on what differs from one instance to the other.There is no clear line between poetry and prose and much of the part donates prose that tickles the ear, small poems."

(Video) Steven Pinker on Writing Styles

4. Use "classic style":
"Many [good prose] only depends on the right attitude, the right mental model of what you do when writing, because if you write, you are in an artificial situation. Your reader is not, you have no idea whoThe reader is perhaps dead when you read your prose. You cannot get into the conversation, you cannot irritate your forehead. What do you do when writing? And every prose style has a certain forehead and whatI don't notice it to the prose Clara, which she describes as a "classic style". I work as a writer on something in the world that the reader can see with his own eyes when they give them a deleted view. And the readerAnd the writer Sãoguais and the style is a conversation. The ingredients of the classic style and lots of advice on how to professionally avoided and bureaucrats and fitness studio can really be summarized - in this SZenario.Really, that's what you do as a writer

5. Do not write too academic, even if your audience is academic:
"It is a lame excuse ... We have to get better, because the excuse that we have many technical concepts, we have to use our hands briefly. This is certainly true, but many things that say academics do not make them easier or easierMore precisely and you have only done the task of making it as clear as possible, and even the roles in my area for people like me I usually find impenetrable. So the ideas we write for our own club do not wash it."

6. You can use prepositions at the end of the sentences:
"This is a rule that I would like to get rid of. It is not a rule here either. The idea that it is a rule is just a fallacy. Historians draw in a sarcastic sample. That Ben Johnson was an inferior poetbecause he set prepositions at the end of the sentence. This is all that is equivalent. There is no reason not to end a sentence with a preposition. "It would not work so well if it is' you thought."You can decide not to end a sentence with a preposition. You can express the preposition when you try a formal style. If you are deliberately poetic or oratory - demanding Schmancy - and a precise writer, such as formal or formalShe wants to be. And many experts confuse the informal style with false grammar. "

(Video) Steven Pinker on Good Writing, with Ian McEwan

7. Do not throw the door and say "something" when it comes to writing:
"When [James Joyce] wrote long passages without evaluation and very loose grammar, he really tried to achieve an effect. Knowing that the conscience of someone spied on. So he knew what he was doing. He respected these rules for an argument ifHe did not if he did not respect if he did not respect if he did not respect, if he did not respect if he did not respect if he did not respect if he did not respect if they were not tryingTo make the flow of consciousness if you do a little more like "classic style", especially the conversation to direct the reader's gaze, readers have certain expectations about it. You can search for what you are and if you ignore youThey often make their prose more ambiguous, they often admit their readers: “I do not pay the page printed in the past:“ I don't think what my words mean: "I don't really care what my words bEdit "and their readers trust them less likely. I think there are reasons to take care of their choice of words. This is not necessary that every rule that they remember their second class is a legitimate rule. Many ofYou are wrong .🇧🇷


Scientific American:Counting in Steven Pinker style

  • "Writing guidelines is usually quite unsatisfactory. They offer many concrete rules, but why can a reader ask, should the rules be followed?"

Slate:What can linguistics tell us about writing a better letter?An interview with Steven Pinker.

(Video) The Sense of Style | Steven Pinker | Talks at Google

  • "For me it is the perfect interface of one of my professional interests that tries to convey complex phenomena in clear prose, and the area I study, namely language and perception."


1. Stylish Academic Writing |Steven Pinker | Office of Faculty Development & Diversity
(Harvard University)
2. Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker
3. Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain | Big Think
(Big Think)
4. The ALL Model - Chapter 7: How do we learn written language?
(Caitlin Dillon)
5. Understanding Style
6. Pinker: How To Deal With World (and Business) Dictators.


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