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Chapter 1. Why Writing Matters > Break the Code - Pg. 10

Why Writing Matters 10 However, the way we speak may be different because we grew up in a different part of the country, or we may be from another country and grew up speaking a different language. Further, we may have picked up words from television or radio, as well as from books. Regardless of the way you acquired English, everyone who speaks and writes the same language learns to recognize certain patterns: what specific words mean when they're used a certain way, how words should be arranged to make a sentence meaningful, how sentences are linked to create paragraphs, and so on. This pattern of language makes communication possible and meaningful. Write Angles There may be times when you deliberately wish to be ambiguous in writing. In those instances, you will select words that mask your meaning or leave it open to many different interpretations. More on this topic is covered in Chapter 4, "Words, Words, Words." The connection between words and their meaning is always a symbolic one. And because symbols are always open to interpretation, words signify different meanings to different people. Your task as a writer is to find the words that convey your exact shade of meaning to best transmit your message. As you write, consider all elements of communication: writer, reader, text, and the world around you. Author! Author! Graphite, the material used in today's pencils, was used by the Aztecs for marking purposes centuries before Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519. It wasn't used in pencils until 1564, with the discovery of a commercial graphite mine in Cumberland, England. The mine was worked for over 250 years and contained the purest form of graphite ever found. The process used to make pencils today is essentially the same as the process developed by Nicholas-Jacques Conté in 1795. The Least You Need to Know · Writing has significant advantages over speech. Writing helps you to communicate with others efficiently, advance in your career, and earn a good salary. · Writing is a political instrument, too, and can help you express your feelings, create good-will, protect your reputation, connect with others, and maximize your potential. · The ancient Greeks adapted the Phoenician writing system as the basis of the alphabet we use today. The alphabet revolutionized writing. · Writing is a kind of code, a system agreed upon by the writer and reader. The writer sends a message in a series of agreed-upon symbols. The reader interprets the signals to decode the message.