Amateurs don’t know everyone reads like they do

Amateurs rarely appreciate the (lack of) commitment of workplace readers. It’s another one of the consequences of the fact that, as students, they have prepared documents only for teachers, who are required to read thoughtfully whatever their students write and who have no real use for the content in those documents. Amateurs don’t often recognize that everyone else reads just like they do (instead of like teachers do). With specific needs and questions. With multiple demands on their time. In other words, skimming and scanning are the norm.

Pros create documents specifically for readers who are not going to read every word thoughtfully. I admit creating parallel structure is not a sexy topic. But its use speeds reading time by allowing readers to be a little less “thoughtful” while getting a writer’s message. And it conveys a “tidy” attitude. It’s also pretty easy to create. That’s enough to convince me an amateur ought to attend to it.

I’ll be posting a video tutorial about avoiding faulty parallelism tomorrow. Here is a page from the Report on Economic Recovery from Disasters mentioned in that tutorial. It was adapted by me based on a document prepared by Entergy, America’s Wetland Foundation, and American’s Energy Coast (

  • Writer: Entergy employees with input from individuals at America’s Energy Coast, America’s Wetlands Foundation. and Swiss Re
  • Readers:  a diverse group of stakeholders along the energy Gulf Coast in the US
  • Bottom Line Message:  quantitative measures of economic risks associated with climate hazards

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