4 proven ways to make yourself less clear

When we talk about language and grammar, there’s an unspoken yet universal agenda: clarity.

The whole point of written communication is to get information to your reader as effectively as possible, meaning with as little confusion as possible. Grammar, punctuation and proper usage are tools to get you there.

But what if you don’t want to be clear? What if your No. 1 writing goal is to weasel your way around a point or a piece of information you’d rather not highlight, for whatever shady reason you may have?

Well, grammar is your friend too. After all, if you understand how to write clear, vivid prose, the secret to underhanded obfuscation is at your fingertips. Just do the opposite of that clarifying stuff. Helpful grammar concepts for all you devious purveyors of murky message include
upside-down subordination, nonspecific nouns and verbs, nominalizations and passive voice. Here’s my recent column on how to abuse them.

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