- an aesthetic, subjective judgment made by a reader, audience, or user about whether a writer’s, speaker’s, knowledge worker’s . . . text is comprehensible.
- A knowledge worker, writer, speaker is said to practice clarity when readers, audiences, find their texts easy to understand or use.
Clarity is the end goal of professional-style, reader-based discourse. After all, if your audience cannot understand your message, all is lost. Without clarity, your wasting your time and the time of your audience. After clarity, simplicity and brevity are the most highly prized element of written and spoken language as well as visual design in the 21st century.
Having knowledge but lacking the power to express it clearly is no better than never having any ideas at all.Pericles
Clarity @ the Global Level
- maintaining a focus. Reference your thesis, research question, or hypothesis throughout your document
- using transitional language, metalanguage, seques
- employing an organizational schema & logical reasoning appropriate to the rhetorical situation
- Has the writer…knowledge worker… correctly assessed the audience’s understanding of pertinent scholarly conversations surrounding the topic?
- Has the writer…knowledge worker… stripped away superfluous information and remained focused on a thesis, research question, hypothesis?
- Has the writer…knowledge worker… organized the information logically? Is the rhetor’s purpose, thesis, and organization explicitly stated or obvious?
- Does the page design, overall design, visual rhetoric, medium, and genre empower a rhetor to keep the audience’s focus on the purpose and thesis?
Clarity @ the Local Level
Clarity at the sentence and paragraph level (aka the the Local Level) is often associated with Diction; Brevity, and Flow, Coherence, Unity. Additionally, a rhetor’s use of language at the local level affects readability:
- The use of active voice rather than passive voice tends to aid reading comprehension.
- The use of an effective subject rather than a vague one aids readability.
- Diction, grammar, mechanics, punctuation—breakdowns in these conventions are likely to lead to murky writing.
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