Papal Pap

The recent ridiculous papal condemnation of adjectives and adverbs is the target of Theodore Dalrymple’s Takimag column.

The need to say something is often far greater than the need, or the capacity, of the speaker to say something important or worthwhile listening to. Many a person wants to communicate without having anything specific to communicate. Some of my young patients said they wanted to be writers, but when I asked them what they wanted to write about, they had no answer. It was not a question that had occurred to them.

2 thoughts on “Papal Pap

  1. Colin Green

    I’ve not read what the Pope had to say but I suspect he didn’t advocate a complete ban on adjectives and adverbs, just a more measured use. In that he would be in agreement with Mark Twain (as I imagine would TD):

    “ I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English—it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them—then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”


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