Order Over Chaos

While heroically meeting the deadlines and demands of our fast-paced world, Wojnarowski earns GRINS for his choice of diction (with “evolving” and “eligible”)  and for his sophisticated use of the noun phrase, “one of the most accomplished”. Wojnarowki gets more GRINS and avoids wordiness by choosing “NBA history” over “the history of the NBA”.

Underneath Wojnarowski’s wonderful words is a presentation of content that appears a little chaotic. Yes, a messy mind is a creative one. Yes, random thoughts in writing can reflect the honest process of thought development. Writing should not be so regulated that it loses the purity of expression. 

However, order in language helps create connections between writers and readers. With respect to Wojnarowski’s work, I noticed a pattern developing behind the seemingly random list of events. For the sake of discussion, I’d like to see if slight changes to the order of information generate more clarity.

  • Wojnarowsky writes:  “Doncic, one of the most accomplished players in NBA history at 22 years old and rapidly evolving into the future face of the league, becomes the first player eligible for the designated rookie max extension upon signing because he has twice been voted first-team All-NBA.”

The sentence is long; the order of information appears to have no particular structure.  To clarify the content, I labeled the ideas in the copy below according to the past, future, and present. In the edit, I divided the four thoughts into two sentences, placed the noun phrase first, and rearranged the time sequence at the end. Instead of present-future-future-past structure, the edit displays: present-future-past-future.

  • Wojnarowsky writes:  “Doncic, one of the most accomplished players in NBA history at 22 years old (Present) and rapidly evolving into the future face of the league, (Future) becomes the first player eligible for the designated rookie max extension upon signing (Future) because he has twice been voted first-team All-NBA. (Past)” 
  • The Edit: “One of the most accomplished players in NBA history at 22 years old, (Present) Doncic is rapidly evolving into the future face of the league (Future). Twice voted first-team All-NBA (Past), he will become the first player eligible for the designated rookie-max-extension upon signing. (Future)”
  1. The original sentence is just too long, and I cannot really entertain another view on that point.
  2. Does – keeping the subject and predicate together (Doncic / is rapidly evolving) – read more smoothly?  I think it does.
  3. Does the change in time sequence at the end provide more clarity? (Each sentence in the revision now begins with a noun phrase, which seems unavoidable.) I think this does also.

I believe that readers sense the organizational pattern in a grammatical structure, which allows them to have a smoother reading experience.  More generally, the world favors order over chaos.  The 2021 Nobel Prize was awarded to scientists that brought “order to chaos”. This week  WP’s Editorial Board expressed concern about “Haiti’s Descent into Chaos”. Bilello’s article warns against “Project Chaos”. Read my next blog about sentence structure by checking in or by subscribing via email below.  Cheers to learning!

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