I admit it. I'm not always the poster-child for clarity in writing, but it still hangs me up when I read something that's so unclear I have to read it several times to get the actual meaning. I see this a lot in the books I read, but beyond that even, in the correspondence I receive, on the news tickers at the major news channels and sites, and on signs everywhere.
Ever see the marquee on the front of a fast food chain that says: Now Hiring Hamburgers 99. I don't know if they're hiring 99 hamburgers, or if they want to pay people 99 cents to be a hamburger.
Yesterday on one of the channels following the horrific fires in CA, the headline read: 209 vehicles in Iraq instead of CA. Well, if the state is burning down, I would think the vehicles would be safer elsewhere, wouldn't you? I commented on this to my husband, and as if the gods of clarity heard me, the headline changed to 209 National Guard vehicles in Iraq instead of CA. Well, that's a little more pertinent to the situation.
These are just the incidents I can think of off the top of my head, but it's going on all the time. We've all been reading along in a novel and said "whoa, what did that just say?". Sometimes they're little things, but they should've been caught during an edit somewhere along the way.
I guess my point is that with so many confusing things in the world today, sometimes we need a little clarity in our writing, as well as in our speaking. Since the common joe doesn't seem to be willing or able to clarify their thoughts, it's up to the writers to pick up the slack. Ya know what I mean?
Share an instance in the comments of some unclear writing you've seen - a funny sign, a strange turn of phrase, a mixed-up news story. I think we all could use a laugh.
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