Do I Make Myself Clear?: Why Writing Well Matters

Harold Evans
A wise and entertaining guide to writing English the proper way by one of the greatest newspaper editors of our time. Harry Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger. He's even been knighted for his services to journalism. In DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?, he brings his indispensable insight to us all in his definite guide to writing well.The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK, and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of every kind we see a trend towards more--more speed and more information but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR? is an essential text, and one that will provide every writer an editor at his shoulder.


Reviewed: 2017-11-08

Early on, the author is very focused on rules and concepts to help readers write and communicate well. There’s plenty to benefit from. The latter half of the book, however, spends too much time on examples of bad writing by lawyers and government officials. Not only does it seem these sections are designed to add heft to the book, but most of the examples used are conspicuously ones written by "diabolical" Conservatives or corporations. The shortcomings of Liberals and others are mentioned a few times, but quickly glossed over in favor of dissecting the unforgivable crimes of Conservatives and corporate executives. By the end, it’s clear the book’s purpose is as much to drag Conservatives and their supporters through the mud as it is to teach readers how to write more clearly.

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