Pithy Paragraphs

Over fifteen years ago all us kids had to first copy out the sentence from the grammar book and only then label the parts of speech. Even though my handwriting was growing into the flowing river of molten gold it is today, I disliked that busywork of writing. Later, in high school,  when there was a minimum amount of words we had to have in an essay mine were about a lot of nothing loosely threaded together. This was only magnified in college once things had to be typed. But all along and in between poorly composed longer assignments were pithy paragraphs and witty Facebook statuses and nicely done test answers. This crutch is my stilts since not liking to write anything lengthy spurs me to take fewer but longer steps. The more meaning in one word, the less my hand has to move.

This does not mean that I have a short attention span. Even though I dare not demand others waste more than a moment on my own words, I have always enjoyed a long book. We owe great books our attention. But most of what we think has been said before, and the only thing left might be to summarize and organize and humorize all the knowledge for our own heads.

4 thoughts on “Pithy Paragraphs

  1. Nathaniel says:

    Good thoughts! I think it’s good to write consisely in order to convey our thoughts and opinions. We learn in school how to write and construct sentences and wording from “the masters”, who we look as an model.

    I agree. In school it doesn’t make sense to have a minimum word number. Or shall I say, the thinking can be improved. I think that having a minimum word count just leads to “run-on essays”, which don’t make sense or are not smoothly flowing. It’s better to emphasize a well written essay – fluid sentences and paragraphs that show your readers your thoughts – rather than achieving a word number goal. One can read a two paragraph article and the reader is interested, informed, and entertained. On the other hand, one can read a 7 paragraph article which contains no cohesive thought and feels like to the reader that they’re reading a 12-volume textbook on the mathematics of financial derivatives (without a doubt a good cure for chronic insomnia). Quality always trumps quantity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • brygydmyry says:

      Thank for taking the time to write all that, Nate! I understand why teachers assign a minimum word barrier but it certainly leads to poorly written essays like you say. At least in my case.


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