Re: Wordsmithing

Subject: Re: Wordsmithing
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 09:26:15 -0700

I agree with Beverly Parks, who wrote:

> I hear "wordsmith" a lot around where I work. I don't think the
> general meaning as used here would be synonomous with "weasel
> wording." To me, "weasel wording" has a definite negative
> connotation. "Wordsmithing," however, appears to be the
> non-editors', non-writers' way to say "Now make it right and
> proper."

In my experience, "weasel wording" generally refers to manipulating the
text to allow the writer (or the company represented) to put something
over on the reader in some way. For example, the text may be worded in
such a way as to allow the seller to avoid taking responsibility for the
quality or performance of the product--a kind of "let the buyer beware"
type of thing.

"Wordsmithing," however, is usually understood to refer to polishing the
text to eliminate mechanical problems as well as to precise vocabulary
choices. The biggest problem here is concern for detail at the expense of

RoMay Sitze A musician must make music, an artist must
rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu paint, a poet must write, if he is to be
ultimately at peace with himself.
-Abraham Maslow-

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