Nearly a month ago John Tudor Jones complained that no one in his organization, investments for the rich, could write. Their memos were horrible. He wanted his employees to take journalism classes. Journalism can teach someone to write, but it is a laborious slow process.
John Tudor Jones has been around investments since the early Eighties. He was linked with various and sundry supermodels and society beautifies. Did he marry one of them, or the girl next door? Hiding in Connecticut he hasn’t been in the press much recently until this complaint.
I wrote Mr. Jones a letter giving seven rules and a brief way of improving writing:
- The American language is one of verbs. Center each sentence around the verb.
- Eliminate all adjectives and adverbs. Writers spend more time how to modify a noun (using adjectives) or a verb ( using adverbs) than is needed. The modifications are unnecessary.
- Logic dictates the word order in all American sentences. [This is unlike languages which have a system of declensions and complicated conjugations, and word order is haphazard.]
- The verb “to be” in all its forms and tenses means “equals.” If employing the verb to be does not produce an equation, the math is wrong.
- PUNCTUATION: a. Do not use commas to distinguish prepositional phrases. b. Do not use commas followed by a participle or a preposition to add 25-50 words to the end of a sentence. c. Use periods not semi-colons, commas or colons (otherwise known as up-yours – not in the letter).
- Know the difference between “they are going” (present perfect) and “they go” (present continuous) [according to new nomenclature]. Know when to use each. The present continuous is found in written language because it is direct. If the present perfect prevails, it is because the writing is an unedited first draft.
- User the Germanic/Ango-Saxon vocabulary of English as much as possible. I paraphrase Mark Twain, At a dime a word I always use city rather than metropolis.