If someone clapped out the rhythm of a song you knew, would you recognize it? It’s pretty unlikely, given what’s called the curse of knowledge. To the person with the song in their head, it’s obvious, but you can’t expect anyone else to hear it. It’s an important concept for anyone who wants to be a better writer. This is among many fascinating concepts discussed in Steven Pinker’s new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, which some are calling the new Strunk and White. This is part of a complete episode.
- Take Tea for the Fever (episode #1508) 10/22/2018: Silence comes in many forms. Writer Paul Goodman says there is, for example, the noisy silence of "resentment and self-recrimination," and the helpful, participatory silence... [more]
- Sundog (episode #1507) 10/15/2018: A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase "the last straw" refers to an old fable... [more]
- Oh, For Cute! (episode #1506) 10/08/2018: A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots... [more]
- Coinkydink (episode #1505) 10/01/2018: Sometimes it's a challenge to give a book a chance: How many pages should you read before deciding it's not worth your time? There's a... [more]
- Sweet Dreams (episode #1450) 09/22/2018: In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the... [more]