3 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2018
    1. Henry Fowler coined the term "abstractitis" for this multiplication of abstractions, about which he said:A writer uses abstract words because his thoughts are cloudy; the habit of using them clouds his thoughts still further; he may end by concealing his meaning not only from his readers but also from himself.

      I have suffered from the literary disease many times when I get stuck in my writing and have to reach a word count. My writing starts off to be originally clear but the meaning gets blurred over time due to the fact that I have run out of things to say because I am not being concrete or descriptive in my writing. In rading the Haltman text and seeing all the many ways to combat this disease I will have to continuously re-read it to improve my writing when I get stuck,

    2. "Yes indeed -- you are going to write about things you can drop on your foot, and people, too. Green peppers, ears of corn, windshield wipers, or a grimy mechanic changing your car's oil. No matter how abstract your topic, how intangible, your first step is to find things you can drop on your foot."

      This is a really good example of what "physical" writing is. It can be overlooked or presupposed that students already know certain information. As the teaching grammar, writing conventions and sentence structure are replaced by close readings and abstract ideas, the physicalities of the writing can become lost. It is important to teach both how to write and what to write about.

    3. "abstractitis"

      I see this a lot in papers I read from other students: reading far into a concept or topic, without giving an explanation of what the topic is. The "abstractitis" seeps in early on because students think because the professor or teacher set out a vague or broad topic, the response must be too.