I am currently taking a class called “The Wired Society” and our textbook is Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat.” It is a great read! He writes with a lot of style. Unfortunately, he is forced to quote people whose speech patterns do not match his style. Friedman’s prose is lively; it moves along at a good clip. When a quote comes along and breaks it up, it’s noticeable. For example:
“This platform (what he calls ‘The Machine’) for multiple forms of collaboration was indeed the start of something very, very new and very, very big.”
Very is not a descriptive word. It falls into the category of intensifiers, along with words such as “really, extremely, and severely.” In short, they fluff up our writing. They fill up the page so we reach that dreaded word requirement.
The rest of his book is riveting. He introduces new concepts with anecdotes and uses a lot of repetition to illustrate his point. He also varies sentence length. And sometimes he breaks some rules and throws a few sentence fragments in there. They emphasize his point and add a conversational feel to the text. The truth is, he writes with a unique style that has made an otherwise unbearable class worthwhile.