We’re so fearful of being accused of being simplistic that we shy away from being simple.
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Language maven and Pulitzer Prize-winning political pundit William Safire (1929-2009) sets forth the Ten Commandments of Language. Using examples from his journalism experience and his time as a campaign worker and speechwriter for President Nixon to explain methods of ideal communication, Safire explains it all. Work on that simple declarative sentence—it probably could stand some clarification. But don’t worry too much, Safire comforts his audience. Idiosyncratic usage is, occasionally, acceptable. Get out your tablets and chisels. It’s going to be one witty ride.
Above: William Safire received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on December 15, 2006. Photograph by Shealah Craighead.