On the recommendation of George Gopen, coauthor of “The Science of Writing Science” (American Scientist, 1990), my favorite article on technical writing, I picked up a short text called STYLE—Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams. What a find! In his preface Williams writes, “Do not take what we offer here as draconian rules of composition, but rather as diagnostic principles of interpretation. We offer these principles as the basis for questions that allow a writer or editor to anticipate how readers are likely to respond to a piece of prose, a species of knowledge usually unavailable...

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