Great prose is no guarantor of great ideas, much less of great social action, grantmaking, or public policy. This is a painful thing for a public affairs writer to admit. Yet the opposite may well be true: A certain kind of awful writing really can be a hallmark, even an underlying cause, of sloppy thinking. There are a handful of toxic words and phrases that have a way of polluting any stream of consciousness, muddying the concepts and making it impossible to see what facts and arguments (if an…

To read this article and start a full year of unlimited online access, subscribe now!

Already a subscriber?

Need to register for your premium online access,
which is included with your paid subscription?