PARAMEDIC METHOD FOR SICK SENTENCES
Now that you understand what is at stake, the real question becomes how to monitor and remove gobbledygook. For this activity you must read:
, a method of analysis blocks of text for wordiness and clarity, invented by Richard Lannon, who provided us with the Warren Buffett example in The Ethics of Word Choice reading.
If you are unsure of what a preposition is, my 3rd grade teacher told us it was “anywhere a mouse can go”: over, under, through around, to, from, etc…Her method doesn’t really cover some of them, like of, about, and that, but it helps. Here’s some more preposition clarification, should you need it, from our friends at Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (The OWL). (Links to an external site.)
After reading these selections, practice the Paramedic Method in the FIU setting
and submit the assignment here.
Please use the Paramedic Method to resuscitate this boring paragraph of “officialese.” I’ve modified this task so you can highlight the components in Word format
1. Circle (highlight in yellow) as many prepositions (remember: anywhere a mouse can go) you find.
2. Underline (highlight in red) the “is”-verb forms you find.
Hit return after each prepositional phrase you find so you have a broken list of sentence parts. For example,
This speaks as well to the fact that ads that interfere with the consumers’ purpose are so intrusive that the consumer must divert their attention from obtaining their goal to rid themselves of the ad, are too intrusive and should be redesigned.
To the fact
with the consumers must
Divert their attention
From obtaining their goal
To rid themselves
Of the ad,
too intrusive and
should be redesigned
New Sentence: Ads that interfere with the consumers’ purpose are intrusive and should be redesigned.
Better: Attention-diverting ads need redesigning.
3. For each sentence, ask, “Where is the action?” “Who is kicking who?”
4. Once you have this subject and action clarified, revise the communication, sentence by sentence, if need be.
5. Read aloud with emphasis, trying to sound like a real person, not a boss or a robot (A robot has the same length to every sentence—too short.)
“As a directly related but unforeseen consequence of the recent loss of interest by significant portions of the market, we have come to conclude that the Stalking Panther logo line of clothing would be best discontinued pending further research pertaining to and subsequent analysis of potential target consumers not previously considered.
One hypothesis that might be explored is that clothing of the kind with a “less tough” panther mascot would be better suited and appealing to consumers of a younger age, possibly the children or younger siblings of students currently attending the university, of former students, and of fans in general.
It is reasonable to expect that children, who are apt to find enjoyment from creatures depicted as friendly rather than aggressive, as witnessed in the popularity of innumerable characters from television and movies that are of a cheerful disposition, will respond more positively to an fluffy animal of yellow color which is bright in nature. However, even with the above being stated, we must keep ourselves open to the fact that it may be necessary to eliminate the logo altogether in light of research findings that suggest we should do so.”
Break the paragraph down like I did in the example, then revise and create a new paragraph.