There are thousands of pieces of advice about writing out there. Every English text book discusses it. Every person knows the rules to good writing by heart. In fact it is next to impossible to separate what we have been told from our own beliefs.
Beliefs themselves are formed by what you are taught, yet they still allow you the freedom to do as you choose. This just does not seem to hold true. When good writing is taught to be the rule not something to be interpreted by the student.
Enough about beliefs and teachings. Define good usage, if that's what good writing requires. Is it using the largest, most difficult, word you can in your writing? Is it diction, connotation, denotation, sentence structure, or just simple tone? The fact is any one or all of these may be true. When you are writing a research paper for instance , you would use larger words than you would, say, in a letter to a friend. In business letters you would use more technical language, than either of these other two. Yet, the rules get mixed around in all these cases too.
If good usage is set mostly by what type of writing you're doing then perhaps the it can only be defined through these. However in order to do this you have to be able to define which types of writing fall into which category or are they all different not to mention that every thing you could study at a University falls into a different pattern of writing, and even this does not really make it any easier to define.
All right, in order to understand this maybe what you shouldn't do has to be defined first. That should be easy. When you write well you use the most appropriate words possible in a given situation and to express just the right feeling. But, does ...
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...oblems what I mean when I call this person "Babe" I may be telling my friend and him that he is really good looking, or reminds me of the little talking pig. I also could mean, as has happened in letters I've received, that I don't know him very well and therefore I can't remember his name so I took to calling him "Babe", anything is possible.
Now the "Babe" example is very basic but it proves that not only can the author have many meanings for what they are writing but so too can the reader. This does not have to happen with just one or two words it could happen with whole paragraphs or entire papers. Even this one. I have told you what good use is, but, can you tell me without a doubt that you have gotten exactly what I wanted out of this? Makes you wonder, huh? What is the real meaning here and can you really get it? If you could then would my usage be good?
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