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Fun With Plain Language: Decipher These Bloated Sayings

I taught a session on writing for the Web today and mentioned that it can be fun to turn common sayings into governmentese and then challenging others to decode them.

Here are three examples I came up with.  Try your hand at deciphering them.

  1. Approximately spherical seed-bearing produce, examples of which can be many colors ranging from red to yellow to gold to green, often, or perhaps or more accurately, generally or frequently, does not precipitate at great horizontal distances from its progenitor.
  2. Manually manipulating a specific representative specimen of flying vertebrates is preferable (due its being more advantageous to the manipulator) to the detection of a representative pair of said specimens contained within leafy vegetative undergrowth.
  3. When one desires to perambulate in the transverse sense relative to a thoroughfare, it is advisable to take careful observations in each direction transverse to your preferred direction of travel in advance of such perambulation.

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Tags: communications, fun, plain language, web, writing

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Comment by Jeffrey Levy on May 8, 2013 at 5:36pm

Ramona, you got all three of mine, but I'm stumped on yours.  Hmm.  Maybe "A child shall lead them"?

Comment by Dannielle Blumenthal on May 8, 2013 at 9:11am

These are great.

Comment by Ramona Winkelbauer on May 7, 2013 at 2:14pm

Perhaps "Implementation of the complex secretomotor response of the lacrimal apparatus should not be invoked as the cost-benefit is neutral, despite the loss of control of the lacteal fluid of the bovine species."?

Comment by Scott Kearby on May 7, 2013 at 2:05pm

I was trying for "No use crying over spilt milk", but I may need more training in technical writing.

Comment by Ramona Winkelbauer on May 7, 2013 at 2:04pm

"The management of the individuals charged with oversight is proactively left as an exercise for others whose lines of authority are unclear and undifferentiated."

This one derives from a three word Roman question/adage.

Comment by Ramona Winkelbauer on May 7, 2013 at 1:59pm

Scott: Are you sure your bureaucratic definition really fits: "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free"?

Comment by Jay Johnson on May 7, 2013 at 1:34pm

That made my day!

Comment by Scott Kearby on May 7, 2013 at 9:52am

3.  Look both ways before crossing the street.

Here's another one to decipher ...

"The cost-benefit is neutral as it relates implementation of the complex secretomotor response of the lacrimal apparatus resulting from the loss of control of the lacteal fluid of the bovine species."

Comment by Ramona Winkelbauer on May 7, 2013 at 9:50am

1. The apple doesn't fall that far from the tree.

2: Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

3. Look both ways before crossing.

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