Follow these 17 guidelines to kill the logic of any sentence. Start with this familiar example:

Jack and Jill climbed up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

  1. Use weak verbs:
    Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail of water.

  2. Use unfamiliar words:
    Jack and Jill climbed up the hill to fetch a ewer of water.

  3. Put introductory phrases at the beginning to push the subject back:
    To fetch a pail of water, Jack and Jill climbed up the hill.

  4. Keep the subject and the verb as far apart as possible:
    Jack and Jill, to fetch a pail of water, climbed up the hill.

  5. Put the action at the end of the sentence:
    Jack and Jill, to fetch a pail of water, climbed up the hill.

  6. Keep modifiers as far as possible from the words they modify:
    Jack and Jill climbed to fetch a pail of water up the hill.

  7. Use passive voice:
    The hill was climbed by Jack and Jill so that a pail of water could be fetched.

  8. Put the doer at the end of the sentence:
    To fetch a pail of water, the hill was climbed by Jack and Jill.

  9. Introduce false subjects:
    It was Jack and Jill that climbed up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

  10. Pile on the gobbledygook:
    Jack and Jill ascended the acclivity to retrieve a vessel of Adam's ale.

  11. Turn verbs into nouns:
    Jack and Jill did the hill climb for the purpose of water retrieval.

  12. Use unnecessary technical jargon:
    Jack and Jill traversed the gradient to fetch an alembic of H2O.

  13. Feature inappropriate precision:
    John Q. Wembley and Jillian Fitzgerald climbed 1.6093 kilometers to fetch 3.785 liters of water.

  14. Add wordy phrases:
    Jack in the company of Jill climbed their way up the hill for the purpose of fetching water in the approximate amount of a pail's full.

  15. Multiply redundant words:
    Both Jack and Jill climbed all the way up to the top of the hill's summit to fetch a pail filled to its capacity with water.

  16. Throw in clichés indiscriminately:
    Jack and Jill, who need no introduction, climbed up the hill by leaps and bounds to fetch through their good offices a pail of water by hook or by crook

  17. String lots of nouns together to form the subject:
    The Jack and Jill water retrieval hill climb was achieved.

Put all 17 together:
It was the Jack and Jill H2O retrieval in an alembic vessel that was achieved via the ascent of the acclivity up to its summit in leaps and bounds through the good offices of John Q. Wembley and Jillian Fitzgerald who need no introduction.


Email from Crassius of the Great Jazz Hall

Also known as the James Fenimore Cooper guide to writing.

Consider The Last of the Mohicans:

"Happily, the aim was bad, and the bullets cut the air in a direction a little different from that taken by the fugitives; though still so nigh them, that to the unpractised ears of David and the two females, it appeared as if they whistled within a few inches of the organs."

"Chingachgook very quietly resumed his seat; nor did he make any reply, until after he had examined the firebrand which had been struck by the bullet that had nearly proved fatal to himself."

and people wonder why Cliffs Notes are so popular....

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