For the past two years or so, I've been telling my students that if they learn nothing else before they walk  out the door of my classroom in June, that they should remember that two of the most important elements of good writing are precision and clarity. 

Precision refers to the idea of saying exactly what you mean.  This is largely due to vocabulary. But it's not so important to use the biggest word, I tell them, but to use the right word that communicates the specific message you are trying to send.  In fact, large or hard to understand words often interfere with our message and confuse or frustrate our readers.  Often in our attempts to sound "smart," we alienate our audience.  Consequently, I tell my students that each word they learn is a tool in your writer's toolbox, and that the more words they know (and can use accurately), the more successful they will be as writers. 

Clarity, on the other hand, refers to making your message as clear as it can possibly be.  This is achieved largely through having a logical structure for your piece and organizing your thoughts in a way that is clear to the reader.  It also is a function of sentence structure, clear and accurate punctuation, and often a well-written and specific thesis.  Once again, trying to impress the reader with overly-written or excessively flowery prose will just serve to annoy them (and, in this case, I say, the audience is your teacher and an annoyed teacher is less likely to give you the grade you'd prefer on that particular piece of writing.)

Whether you're writing your doctoral dissertation or a note to hang on the fridge telling mom you went to the 7-11 for a Cherry Slurpee, employing both precision and clarity will increase your chances of communicating your message effectively and, as a result, getting what you want. 

And isn't that what communicating is really all about?
 
    12/30/2011

    will come back soon

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    1/27/2012

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    1/28/2012

    Nice article bro

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    3/26/2012

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    7/16/2012

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    9/24/2012

    Fine article bro

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