Cómo no escribir

La prensa digital vive con la presión de contar lo inmediato. De ahí que sea fácil que la premura lleve a una escritura descuidada. Intenta encontrar en este ejemplo los errores de estilo que habría que mejorar:

Captura de pantalla 2015-05-27 a las 18.38.25


(Puedes ver esta noticia en su contexto en sitios como este: Pilar Álvarez/Elisa Silió. El País. Puedes comparar la noticia de Europa Press con esta versión de El Mundo).

En inglés se llama wordiness al defecto de estilo que en español podemos llamar palabrería o verbosidad. Esta es una buena explicación extraída del curso Principles of written English de la profesora de la universidad de Berkeley Maggie Sokolik:

“Wordiness is using more words than you need to in order to write what you mean.  Everyone has a tendency to be too wordy at times. Some of the causes of this wordiness are:
Trying to sound too formal or academic. […]
Not knowing more precise vocabulary.  For example, saying, She ran quickly to the store can be made somewhat less wordy, and more precise, by saying: She raced to the store (race=run quickly). […].
Using too many unnecessary and vague modifiers.  Typically, modifiers like really, very, quite, and similar words add no meaning to your writing. If you need to modify a word, find precise modifiers. For example, instead of There’s a really tall building near my house, write: There’s a 50-story building near my house. 
Using too many prepositional phrases or possessives. These types of phrases can add length to your sentences, often unnecessarily. So, instead of The car belonging to Mr. Wang is in the garage [10 words], write: Mr. Wang’s car is in the garage [7 words].

Ya sabes que sobre cómo escribir bien en castellano circulan una serie de listas como estas.

En inglés se llama “misplaced modifiers” a la incorrecta colocación de expresiones. Los efectos son a veces humorísticos, como este conocido ejemplo de Groucho Marx:

The Center of Writing Studies de la universidad de Illinois propone estas recomendaciones para mejorar la escritura en estos casos:

Misplaced modifiers are single words, phrases, or clauses that do not point clearly to the word or words they modify. As a rule, related words usually should be kept together.

Six Helpful Tips for Placing Modifiers Correctly
1. Limiting modifiers (only, even, almost, nearly, just) should be placed in front of the words they modify.
Unclear: You will only need to plant one package of seeds.
Revised: You will need to plant only one package of seeds. (“Only” modifies “one,” not “need.”)

2. Place modifying phrases and clauses so that readers can see at a glance what they modify.
Unclear: The robber was described as a tall man with a black moustache weighing 150 pounds.
Revised: The robber was described as a six-foot-tall man weighing 150 pounds with a black moustache. (“150 pounds” describes the man, not the moustache.)

3. Sentences should flow from subject to verb to object without lengthy detours along the way. When adverbs separate subject from verb, verb from object, or helping-verb from main-verb, the result can be awkward.
Unclear: John, after trying to reach the ball, decided to get a ladder.
Revised: After trying to reach the ball, John decided to get a ladder. (Subject and verb are no longer separated.)

4. Infinitives (“to” + verb, such as “to go,” “to catch,” “to shout”) usually should not be split unless necessary, especially in formal writing.
Unclear: The patient should try to, if possible, avoid going up and down stairs.
Revised: If possible, the patient should try to avoid going up and down stairs.

5. Dangling modifiers are word groups (usually introductory) that may seem confusing to some people if they fail to refer logically to any word in a sentence. Rewording a sentence may help to clarify the meaning.
Unclear: Deciding to join the navy, the recruiter happily pumped Joe’s hand. (The recruiter is not deciding to join the navy; Joe is.)
Revised: The recruiter happily pumped Joe’s hand after learning that Joe had decided to join the navy.
Unclear: Though only sixteen, UCLA accepted Martha’s application. (UCLA is not sixteen; Martha is.)
Revised: Though Martha was only sixteen, UCLA accepted her application.

6. Dangling modifiers can be repaired by restructuring the sentence, but this restructuring may vary according to the writer’s stylistic preferences.
When watching films, commercials are especially irritating.
One option would be to change the subject so that it names the actor that the modifier implies:
When watching films, I find commercials especially irritating.

Another option would be to turn the modifier into a word group that includes the actor:
When I am watching films, commercials are especially irritating.


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