Posts Tagged ‘assessment’

When famous authors write flabby prose

By Helen Sword | Published: May 6th, 2015 | FAQs

From time to time I get emails like this one from an outraged visitor to the Writer’s Diet website:

As a test of the ‘Academic validity’ of this tool, I decided to test the following: 800 words of Nietzsche’s first chapter of Beyond Good and Evil, came back as: Overall: Flabby, Verbs and Adjectives: Need toning, prepositions and is, there, that: Heart attack. Do you see the problem here? You’re advertising this as an editing tool for academic work, my concern is that people may write and then delete excellent work because of this thing.

I developed the WritersDiet Test as a formative feedback tool for people who want to learn some simple, easy-to-remember techniques for writing more clearly and energetically. ┬áRunning the work of a famous author through the test is rather like sticking a thermometer into a volcano and then complaining about instrument failure. (more…)