Joy of Unclear Writing

 Posted by at 7:16 pm  Misc
Feb 262009
 

I’ve been chipping away at processing and archiving family papers lately.  Tonight I came across a folder of papers from when my mother was a full time instructor in the LSU English Department, circa 1979. Among the exams and worksheets she used in class was this little gem:

THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES OF UNCLEAR WRITING.  SENTENCES ARE ACTUAL LETTERS RECEIVED BY THE WELFARE DEPARTMENT IN APPLICATION FOR SUPPORT.

  1. I am forwarding my marriage certificate and six children. I have seven, but one died which was baptized on a half sheet of paper.
  2. I am writing the Welfare Department to say that my baby was born two years old.  When do I get my money?
  3. Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy.
  4. I cannot get sick pay. I have six children. Can you tell me why?
  5. I am glad to report that my husband who is missing is dead.
  6. This is my eighth child. What are you going to do about it?
  7. Please find for certain if my husband is dead.  The man I am living with can’t eat or do anything until he knows.
  8. I am very much annoyed to find you have branded my son illiterate.  This is a dirty lie as I was married a week before he was born.
  9. In answer to your letter, I have given birth to a boy weighing ten pounds. I hope this is satisfactory.
  10. I am forwarding my marriage certificate and my three children, one of which is a mistake as you can see.
  11. My husband got his project cut off two weeks ago and I haven’t had any relief since.
  12. Unless I get my husband’s money pretty soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.
  13. You have changed my little boy to a girl.  Will this make a difference?
  14. I have no children as yet as my husband is a truck driver and works day and night.
  15. In accordance with your instructions, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.
  16. I want money as quick as I can get it.  I have been in bed with the doctor for two weeks and he doesn’t do me any good. If things don’t improve, I will have to send for another doctor.

  One Response to “Joy of Unclear Writing”

  1. [...] Joy of Unclear Writing Jump to Comments Here are some good examples of how unclear writing leaves readers confused – and laughing (at you, not [...]

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