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July 12, 1965


JAMA. 1965;193(2):152-153. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090020066019

Articulacy has obvious advantages to the physician. The practitioner must communicate with his patients, the researcher with his colleagues. Ability to write clearly often means an ability to think clearly, since both capabilities reflect the mind's discipline. Certainly the faculty of writing well suggests the presence of a mind trained to select pertinent knowledge from a mass of data, and able to organize this material into a coherent statement.

Educators recognize that a student's capacity for synthesis has a definite relationship to his progress. The nonselecting student mires down in a plethora of fact. When he writes, the effect is predictable: distracting, even sense-destroying indirection. And, as medical journal editors are acutely aware, lack of fluency is seldom realized by the possessor.

What can be done to promote clarity in writing? One adjunct to competence and style is acquaintance—no, more than acquaintance—easy familiarity with excellent writing. This fact is an

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