George H. Smith

Making Man in Reason's Image

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> "You'd need to provide us with a few examples," is not a polite request for further information. It is an instruction from a teacher.

Way too thin-skinned on an informal word choice. It means you'd need to in order to be persuasive.

Yes. Just what a teacher would say to a student who was learning how to write.

Plus I already said I'd change those first three words to "could you". And I did so, so why are you trying to beat me about the head and shoulders about this minor, trivial issue of word choice????

Because you continue to refer to your original wording (apparently with a straight face) as a polite and civil request for further information.

JR

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Sometimes someone with fewer years or new or fresh can have insights that were missed.

Yes, like the fresh insights to be found in Strunk & White. Professional writers with 40 years experience at their craft are typically surprised to learn of those, having "missed" them in previous years.

Good point.

JR

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It is a bit startling, by the way, to be accused by Phil of dwelling pointlessly on a "minor, trivial issue of word choice." Is this not the same Phil Coates who harps endlessly on the need to offer "precisely written" posts? Isn't one's "word choice" the way in which one says what one has to say? Isn't it one's "word choice" that determines one's meaning? What sort of answer is it (particularly coming from someone who apparently regards himself as some sort of authority on effective writing) that, in effect, "My critics shouldn't focus on my word choice in responding to what I said. They should focus on what I meant." How does one determine what a writer meant, other than by examining his word choice?

Perplexedly,

JR

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It is a bit startling, by the way, to be accused by Phil of dwelling pointlessly on a "minor, trivial issue of word choice." Is this not the same Phil Coates who harps endlessly on the need to offer "precisely written" posts? Isn't one's "word choice" the way in which one says what one has to say? Isn't it one's "word choice" that determines one's meaning? What sort of answer is it (particularly coming from someone who apparently regards himself as some sort of authority on effective writing) that, in effect, "My critics shouldn't focus on my word choice in responding to what I said. They should focus on what I meant." How does one determine what a writer meant, other than by examining his word choice?

Perplexedly,

JR

Psychologizing...?

I missed the meeting also.

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