FRIDAY FUN: PC Police Hit Blogosphere


Skimming my handy-dandy blog administrator page the other day, I came across a list of Personal Options on the Users page. Supplied by the good folks at WordPress, the list includes a section titled Proofreading. This includes “grammar and style rules” for posts and pages. It goes like this

Proofreading English Options

Enable proofreading for the following grammar and style rules when writing posts and pages:

Bias Language
Complex Phrases
Diacritical Marks
Double Negatives
Hidden Verbs
Passive Voice
Phrases to Avoid
Redundant Phrases

Learn more about these options.

I get double negatives, hidden verbs, jargon, redundant phrases and the like. I even get split infinitives and dangling participles. But just what, exactly, constitutes “bias language”? Ditto “phrases to avoid”?

So I clicked on “Learn more.” You know. Just for fun. Here’s what came up:

English Grammar and Style Options
The proofreader applies many of its grammar rules by default. These extra options find patterns of poor writing style:

  • Bias language may offend or alienate different groups of readers.
  • Clichés are overused phrases with little reader impact.
  • Complex phrases are words or phrases with simpler every-day alternatives.
  • Diacritical marks are accents and marks attached to letters in some nouns and words borrowed from other languages. This option helps restore these marks in your writing.
  • A double negative is one negative phrase followed by another. The negatives cancel each other out, making the meaning hard to understand.
  • A hidden verb is a verb made into a noun. These often need extra verbs to make sense.
  • Jargon phrases are foreign words and phrases that only make sense to certain people.
  • Passive voice obscures or omits the sentence subject. Frequent use of passive voice makes your writing hard to understand.
  • Phrases to avoid are wishy-washy or indecisive phrases.
  • Redundant phrases can be shortened by removing an unneeded word.

It seems the PC Police are everywhere these days. Even on my blog hosting platform. Which is why I plan on ignoring pretty much the whole kit and caboodle above. Just for fun again. Again. That pesky First Amendment and all. (With any luck, I just ran afoul of the WordPress PC Police on at least three counts with this paragraph).

How ‘bout you?