A writer-editor-teacher’s quote of the week #163

From the perspective of classic style, plain style is deficient because the theology behind plain style ignores the fact that, left to themselves, people are vulnerable to special interests and special pleading. People are weak, and common wisdom is thus often self-serving. It is perfectly possible for common wisdom to be an anthology of a community’s complacent errors, because common wisdom does not include any principal of critical validation. Without critical testing, common wisdom becomes received opinion.

— from the chapter, “Principles of Classic Style,” in Clear and simple as the truth: Writing classic prose by Francis-Noel Thomas and Mark Turner

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