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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS
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The Act of Communication in Plain English Writing
Act of Communication: When you communicate, you take an idea that's in your head and you put it into another's head through words. This "act" might seem like a trivial thing, simply because it's so ordinary and so routine, but it happens to be the noblest thing that man does that animals can'tthe very thing that makes man uniquemakes him king in the animal world.
Animals communicate, that's true. But not like you and I do; not anything like we do.
Your dog may be able to tell you when he's hungry, but not when he isn't. Nor can he tell you he isn't hungry if he is; or is hungry if he's not. Nor can he tell you to take back the canned dog food with the fish meal in it and bring him instead some ground round with kidney roll on the side.
Nor can animals leave their talk and experiences recorded in histories and literature for their children and their children's children to read and study, to find out what mistakes older generations made and to set about building a better world. Animals live only on their individual experiences of today; they do not live on the recorded cumulative experiences of animals throughout history as men do.
As Einstein said, the uniqueness of manthe superiority of man in the world of animalslies not only in his ability to perceive ideas but to perceive that he perceives; and to transfer his ideas and perceptions to other men's minds through words.
E. A. Stauffen pointed out the beauty and power in an Act of Communication between one person and another. He said:
"When we exchange ideas through words, we are in the realm of the immateriala realm where no other material thing may follow. We can see this easily enough.
The more we share material things by dividing them, the smaller and smaller these things become, until they are too small to be divided any more. The opposite happens when we share our immaterial ideas through words."
See how these differ:
Therefore, when you use words to put an idea that's in your mind into another person's mindwhen you perform this Act of Communication you are doing the noblest work of a writer. And such a noble work should never be carelessly nor slovenly done. For your ideas and your words are as much a part of your human nature as your breath, your blood, or your brain.
And that, we think, is what Huxley had in mind when he said that words are never mere matters, or what the poets had in mind when they said that words are the measure of man.