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Comedy Network

Style, Language, Self-Improvement

HOW TO WRITE "OFFlCIAL"
by Gerald Grow
Florida State University

(Editor's note: Dr. Grow wrote these rules to teach his students how not to write that way.)

  1. Start with a simple statement: We quit. Why? Nobody knew how to program the computer.
  2. Put it in the passive voice, and dilute the responsibility: It was decided to quit.
  3. Expand with the terminology that does not add meaning: It was decided to terminate.
  4. Build in noun strings: It was decided to terminate project processes.
  5. Add a qualifier of uncertain relation to the original statement: On account of the status of the computer, it was decided to terminate project processes.
  6. Add noun strings and terminology to the qualifier: On account of the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was decided to terminate project processes.
  7. Separate related words: On account of the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was decided to terminate until a later date project processes.
  8. Equivocate: On account of the uncertain status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, it was proposed and tentatively accepted to terminate until a later date project processes.
  9. Obfuscate: Due to uncertainties in the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, proposals were carefully considered and tentatively accepted to suspend temporarily until a later date project processes.
  10. Cover your tracks, make yourself look good: Due to unavoidable uncertainties in the status of the computer program assessment planning development effort, a number of contingency proposals were carefully considered and one was tentatively adopted to suspend on a temporary basis until a later date those project processes deemed unessential to the expeditious fulfillment of contract requirements.

Submitted by David Schwartz June 11, 1986

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