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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Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

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.

Scott Kearby

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.”

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

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

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

“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.

Scott Kearby

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

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

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.”?

Jeffrey Levy

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

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

Three word Roman adage/question: Que ipsos custodes? This is sometimes rendered as “Who controls the guardians?”