Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/207

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THE QUESTION OF CLEARNESS

Clearness I may best define as the distinguishing quality of a style that cannot be misunderstood. To be thoroughly clear, it is not enough that style express the writer's meaning; style must so express this meaning that no rational reader can have any doubt as to what the meaning is. To come as near clearness as I could, for example, I deliberately avoided pronouns in that last sentence, repeating style and meaning with a clumsiness defensible only on the score of lucidity.

And Macaulay, discussing the use of the French word, abbé, in place of the English, abbot, expresses the same rule even more forcibly:

We do not like to see French words introduced into English composition: but, after all, the first law of writing, that law to which all other laws are subordinate, is this, that the words employed shall be such as convey to the reader the meaning of the writer. Now an abbot is the head of a religious house; an abbé is quite a different sort of person. It is better undoubtedly to use an English word than a French word; but it is bet-

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